Dublin, Ireland duo Messiah J & the Expert have been producing intelligent but commercial hip-hop almost as long as they've been out of the school system. Influenced as much by alternative rock -- Radiohead and the Smiths being the most noticeable references -- as they are by the understated, melodic rap of Nas and Sage Francis, the pair has invited not unfounded comparisons with 2006's indie success story Gnarls Barkley. However, while there are obvious similarities between the melody oriented production styles of the Expert (aka Cian Galvin) and DJ Danger Mouse, Messiah J (real name John Fitzgerald) acts solely as an MC; his smooth and precise flow, elevated by a slight Irish lilt, can be favorably compared to Aesop Rock and Sage Francis, as can his confident, self-analyzing writing style.
Born three weeks apart in 1981, it took a chance meeting at a Scratch Perverts in-store to inextricably entwine the pair's lives. Teaming up with cohort and continuing collaborator DJ Flip as Creative Controle, they released a series of well-received singles before reducing their numbers to two and becoming Messiah J & the Expert in 2003. They released What's Confusing You? later that year on Volta Sounds, which quickly exhausted the limited pressing it received. 2006 saw the creation of Inaudible Records, a joint project with their manager General Knowledge. The single "When the Bull Gores the Matador," which featured a guest verse by U.S. freestyle virtuoso C-Rayz Walz, was released as a teaser for the group's second full-length album in October 2006. Now This I Have to Hear was a more band-oriented release than its predecessor, with a greater emphasis placed on melody and layered instrumentation than on beats. A nine-track EP titled And Another Thing was released in February of 2007, a compilation of old B-sides and new material, including the single "Superfamous Supertune." Now This I Have to Hear was issued independently in the U.K. in June of 2007. As of August 2007, Messiah J & the Expert are working on their third studio album, expected in early 2008 via Inaudible.