Noah Tabakin is the man behind Ssssnake, a hip hop-, funk- and gospel-inflected soul project with a wild, joyous vibe. Defying categorization, Ssssnake has been likened to the lovechild of Ray Charles and MF Doom or a hip hop Jeff Buckley.
Tabakin produces all the music for Ssssnake on Logic software, which he pipes on stage through his iPhone. Rhyming, freestyling and singing over the tracks, Tabakin’s vocal work lands somewhere between Lenny Kravitz, Cee Lo Green and Lyrics Born. He often closes out the show in his underwear. Add in the antics of backup dancers Lil Bite and Venom, and the effect is a high-octane dance party with a sexual edge and a lot of humor.
“It’s an outlet for me. I can process things. It’s therapeutic,” says Tabakin. “When I’m on stage, I get real high off it. I’ve played to one person and I’ve played to 15,000; I love it all the same. I’m confident it’s what I’m here to do.”
Ssssnake is the latest project from one of Chicago’s most original and hardest working soul performers.
In addition to fronting Ssssnake, Tabakin currently songwrites and plays saxophone for national touring act Mucca Pazza, a punk circus marching band, with whom he has performed on the Conan O’Brien Show and Lollapalooza, and opened for Primus. He sings backup and plays keyboard and saxophone for art-rock band D. Rider as well.
Tabakin has been singing and making music for over two decades. His considerable tour of duty includes fronting three bands: soul and R&B group All Fours; live hip-hop band Tabakin, with whom he produced an album and opened for The Roots; and the soul-funk group Little Blue Crunchy Things, with whom he performed for ten years, selling 14,000 records.
Additionally, Tabakin has participated in a kaleidoscope of music collaborations and behind-the-scenes roles. From singing in the choir at the University of Wisconsin- Madison to contributing to the successful hip-hop compilation series “The Chicago Drop” to serving as co-director of the Tour de Fat’s house band, Tabakin has earned his self-appointed handle “solider of music” many, many times over.