Monday, July 21, 2014

SIFU HOTMAN (Guante x deM atlaS x Rube): "Matches"



I know new songs have a certain shininess to them, but this is still maybe my favorite song I've ever made. Shout to Rube for providing this beat and deM atlaS for providing his spirit and energy.

And there's more where this came from. Be the first to hear everything at our release show, Friday, July 25 at Intermedia Arts in MPLS. 7pm. All ages. $5. House of Dance Twin Cities will also be performing.

If you're not in the Twin Cities, you can get the whole project, "Embrace the Sun," on July 29. We're all really proud of it. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

SIFU HOTMAN: Embrace the Sun (Release Party on 7/25)


As you may know, SIFU HOTMAN is me, Dem Atlas and Rube. Sharp, uptempo hip hop music. We released a self-titled preview vinyl last year, and now we're coming back with a proper debut.

It's some of the best, most soul-affirming music I've ever been a part of, and I can't wait for you to hear it. The new project features remastered versions of the last three songs we made, plus three brand new songs, plus a remix from Lewis Parker (who has worked with Ghostface, Sadat X and more), plus some instrumental tracks from Rube. I am immensely proud of it, and immensely grateful to Dem and Rube for helping to bring it to life.

The music will be available on 7/29, but you can hear it all first on 7/25 at our release party at Intermedia Arts in MPLS. The show will feature solo sets from us, plus a rare collaborative Sifu Hotman set, plus HOUSE OF DANCE Twin Cities. It's ALL AGES, it's only $5, and it's all about the spirit of community, collaboration, and hip hop.

It was really important to me to have this release be an all-ages show, an earlier show, and just avoid the whole late-night club scene. I hope you'll help me spread the word and continue to prove that you don't need a 21+ club to throw a big, beautiful hip hop show.

Also, because Dem just signed to Rhymesayers and is blowing up, and I'm going back to school this fall, this may very well be one of your last chances to see us live. Hope you can make it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bar Louie, Dress Codes, Aversive Racism, and Searching for the Forest Amidst All These Damn Trees

Some people will look at a Van Gogh and just see a bunch of stupid dots. And no matter how passionately or rationally you argue about the importance of stepping back to see the larger image that all those dots create, they will insist on pressing their faces as close to the painting as possible, inspecting each dot, one by one, convinced that all those stupid little dots aren't really "art."

Lots of people have already spoken out about Bar Louie's new dress code (here's Ryan Williams-Virden's take, and here's an overview from The Root). I won't re-state all of those arguments. The dress code is racist and classist. So why do these dress codes keep popping up, all over the country? Why do the same tired arguments get trotted out, again and again? Why do so many of us insist on pressing our faces right up against the specific elements of each example instead of stepping back and seeing the big picture?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Spoken-Word Tips Part 2: On Concrete Language, Specificity, and Turning Ideas into Poems



Here is the second video in this series sharing strategies for anyone interested in writing and performing spoken-word and slam poetry. Here is part one if you missed it; more coming!

This video also mentions a few poems that I think demonstrate the power of concrete language really well. Here are links:

Ed Bok Lee’s “If in America"
Lauren Zuniga’s “World’s Tallest Hill”
Homeless Ryan K.’s “For Joseph”
Andrea Gibson’s “Letter to a Playground Bully”
Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick Push”

Finally, here is a list of other resources for aspiring spoken-word artists.

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Song, Free Download: LETTER OF RESIGNATION (Produced by Katrah-Quey)



This is the second song I've made with Katrah-Quey, a producer whom I've been following for a long time. It was great to finally get to work with him. Here's the other one we made together, also a free download.

Thought about calling this "A Pragmatist's Guide to Nihilism," but this title was too perfect. Please share if you like it.

Lyrics after the jump:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The First Installment In My Video Series Sharing Tips, Tools and Tactics For Aspiring Spoken-Word Artists


I've been wanting to do this for a while-- this is part one of an ongoing series of videos where I talk about the different writing tricks and strategies that have helped me. It's NOT about saying "this is how you write a slam poem" (which I'm very-- probably overly-- careful about pointing out in the video); it's really just sharing some ideas that have made a difference for me along the way.

I get emails and messages every day asking about various aspects of the writing process, so this is also a way that I can answer those messages in a public way, to pass on a few tools that might be useful to any aspiring writers out there, especially those who don't have access to workshops, teaching artists, etc.

I considering going the ultra-fancy route and getting the video stuff done by professionals, but I really want to have the freedom to do these on the fly, to just share the information when and how I feel like sharing it. I hope you don't mind. If you know anyone who wants to get into spoken-word, or who already is, feel free to share this with them. More on the way.

Monday, May 26, 2014

New Song: KNOCK (Blamsiss Remix); Free Download + Some Thoughts on #YesAllWomen



Business first: here's a new song for you. Free download. Blamsiss reached out to me a few months ago about potentially doing a song, and this beat immediately grabbed my attention. Beautiful. Official blurb:

A brand new, original remix of the most cutting song from Guante's 2014 experimental mixtape "DUNGEONS," "Knock" can be summed up in one line: "there's a difference between tragedy and injustice." Over a haunting, hypnotic banger from up-and-coming Minneapolis producer Blamsiss, Guante challenges listeners to dig deeper, to explore how so much of the pain we experience in life has its roots not in "destiny" or "circumstance," but in how society is set up to benefit some at the expense of others.

Recorded/Mixed by Graham O'Brien at Bellows STP, 2014
Download the original version, plus the entire "DUNGEONS" project, HERE.

Normally, that's where this post would end. Download the new song, check out the DUNGEONS mixtape if you missed it, etc. But this is a song I've been writing for a long time. And with everything that's happened over the past week-- the UC-Santa Barbara shooting, the #YesAllWomen hashtag, and the ongoing conversation around how gender-based violence is rooted in specific social/cultural attitudes and practices, the song has taken on new meaning. Here's what I've been thinking lately, pulled from my Facebook page: