Khari Mateen will get up close and personal with fans, and Azealia Banks

Khari Mateen was recording with The Roots when he was just 18.
Khari Mateen was recording with The Roots when he was just 18. Credit: Lenyon Whitaker/Metro

Khari Mateen’s Twitter feed says it all. Much like his musical stylings, it encompasses a little bit of everything and it’s always entertaining.

Mateen recently posted a link to a clip called, “Scientifically Accurate Ducktales.” It replaces the classic cartoon TV ducks with the real ones flapping about the Schuylkill. They are an agitated breed, with a penchant for necrophilia and rape. Yes, it’s a children’s story.

“If I saw that as a kid, I’d be horrified,” Mateen tells Metro. “I sent it to a friend and she was horrified. I thought it was hilarious, but she’s not as f—ed up as I am. That’s my humor. That’s the s— I like.”

Maybe Mateen’s humor isn’t for everyone, but his music might be. He is a one-man band when he takes the stage. Mateen plays the cello. He slaps the bass. He sings. And he tickles the ivories.

It will all be on display tomorrow night at Voyeur Nightclub when he performs as part of Red Bull Sound Select, a 10-city music initiative that promotes local artists. Azealia Banks will headline the Philadelphia stop.

“That’s big,” says Mateen, who promised at least one special guest Friday. “When you get to work with companies like that [Red Bull] and they start to recognize you, that’s big.”

Despite being born in California, Mateen considers himself a Philadelphian. He moved here when he was about 18, got caught up in the underground music scene and never left. Mateen has worked with Jill Scott, Dice Raw, Jazzyfatnastees and Freeway and garnered a Grammy nomination on The Roots’ 2006 album, Game Theory.

“I was 18 in the studio with The Roots. Those cats are amazing musicians,” Mateen says. “There’s a crazy art scene here, too. When I travel, I like to take things and bring them back to Philly. This is my home now, because of that scene and that creativity.”

Last year, Mateen released his debut album, “Wait for Sunrise.” It was recognized in Soul Train’s Top 10 albums of 2012. He owns his own record label, The Lunchroom, which he runs out of a studio in his house in East Falls. He’s also been nominated for an Emmy for his work on the documentary “Brick City.”

“I’m trying to cram everything in before I kick the bucket,” the 27-year-old says.

Psychedelic cello
Mateen’s exact sound is indescribable. His father was a saxophone player, so his music has jazz influences. It also boasts neo-soul grooves, classical instrumentals, folk, some psychedelic funk and old-school hip-hop.

Mateen also dabbles in rock ‘n roll, most notably as a member of the band, “Elevator Fight.”

Try fitting all that on a CD jacket.

“I’m a blend of everything. It’s all about how open a person is,” Mateen says. “I’ve had violinists and cellists come up to me and tell me they’ve enjoyed my music.”

Red Bull Sound Select
feat. Azealia Banks, Mike Taylor, Khari Mateen
July 26, 10 p.m.
Voyeur Nightclub
1221 St. James St.
Free ticket promotion is closed; $3 at the door
www.redbullsoundselect.com


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