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Photo by Jon Behm
GUANTE is a hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist, educator and writer. He and/or his work has appeared on Upworthy, MSNBC, Racialicious, Feministing, MPR, Everyday Feminism, Night Vale Radio, the Progressive, City Pages’ “Artists of the Year” list and URB Magazine’s “Next 1000” list, and he has performed everywhere from the United Nations to the Soundset hip hop festival to hundreds of colleges, clubs, and theaters across the country.

Whether deconstructing traditional notions of masculinity, challenging dominant narratives related to race and racism, or just telling stories about the different jobs he’s had, Guante strives to push boundaries in terms of both form and substance. Unapologetically social justice-minded, he’s shared stages with artists like Talib Kweli, Saul Williams, Brother Ali, Dead Prez, Sage Francis, Andrea Gibson, and many more. Guante also serves as a teaching artist on the rosters of COMPAS and TruArtSpeaks (where he also serves as Communication Director), engaging in writing and performance residencies with youth, as well as regularly facilitating workshops and classes on a range of social justice issues.

Booking inquiries: elguante@gmail.com

PRESS QUOTES:

"Giving you something to think about while nodding your head to his nimble, casual flow, Guante could very well follow Atmosphere and P.O.S. in the long line of outstanding rappers to break out from the Midwest." --CMJ Artist Spotlight

"Part Cormac McCarthy, part Woody Guthrie, and part Public Enemy." --Justin Schell, TC Daily Planet

"An all-around firebrand... the tracks are political but also personal, impassioned without becoming preachy, and always original." --Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine

"Guante and Big Cats create intelligent, political hip hop that mercifully doesn't come off as preachy or self-righteous. It's sobering, demanding your attention like a car crash, yet emotional and alarmingly intimate at times."  --Michael L. Walsh, City Pages

"Earnestness can go wrong in hip hop.  On this album, it goes very right." --Sage Francis, Strange Famous Records, on Guante & Big Cats' "An Unwelcome Guest"

"Whether writing of lost causes or zombie apocalypses, Guante demonstrates impeccable artistic control; in performance, he has the audience's undivided attention." --City Pages "Best of 2009" Feature

"Simply put, he is one of the finest writers in the Twin Cities, and in underground rap writ large."
--Paul Thompson, Impression of Sound

"...Guante has a deft sense of humor and style in his arsenal, along with a battle-hewn tongue that rattles off sharply-spit rhymes and high-concept narratives... Guante's lyrics go deeper than the familiar comic-book premise into an authority-questioning meditation on violence that'd do John Romero's most allegorical moments proud." --Nate Patrin, City Pages

"...one of the best rappers in the Twin Cities today, not to mention its best spoken-word poet."
--Jon Behm, Reviler

"Guante quietly rolled into the Twin Cities' hip hop and spoken-word scenes with a hand grenade, and pulled the pin.  If you look anywhere in those scenes now, you'll see his shrapnel buried deep in every wall." --City Pages "2008 Artists of the Year" Feature

"Shocking as it may be, somehow between writing plays, literature and poetry and organizing politics, this Minneapolis renaissance man still finds a way to hold down a rap career.  Chock-full of biting political commentary... this guy is attempting to carry the Twin Cities on his back." --URB Magazine "Next 1000"

"One of Minneapolis’s best and most important rappers." --Ezra Stead, Eat Sleep Drink Music

"While 'Weaponize' contains sexy beats, biting social critique, and a hard-to-ignore case against apathy, deep down what it really all boils down to seems to be one simple thing: love..." –Jon Behm, Reviler

“Since he emerged in the Twin Cities a half-decade ago, Guante has built an artistic empire of forward-thinking ideals. Assertions on gender issues, institutional racism, class warfare, identity politics, and homophobia, among other progressive causes, show up in his work paired with the haunting stomp of Big Cats bangers as the backdrop.” –Jack Spencer, City Pages

“Their new album captures Guante at his best as he delivers powerful cultural and sociopolitical theses with a blazing clarity, and it serves as excellent companion piece to P.O.S and Brother Ali's latest records.” –Andrea Swensson, The Current

“Guante establishes himself as the Twin Cities answer to East-Coast lyrical gods like Pharaohe Monch…” –Zach McCormick, The Wake

"Political rap. Conscious rap. Smart rap. Whatever you want to call it rap– You Better Weaponize is exactly what I love about all things hip hop..." --ChooseMyMusic.org

"(Guante) has worked hard to create a style and flow uniquely his own.  He has also made a habit of exploring issues at greater length and depth than most rappers ever do. On his newest record, Guante somehow manages to push the envelope even further." --Emily Mills, Dane101

YEARLY RECAPS:
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

VARIOUS ACCOLADES:
~2012 MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant recipient
~2010 National Poetry Slam champion (St. Paul team)
~2009 VERVE grant recipient for spoken-word poetry
~2009 National Poetry Slam champion (St. Paul team)
~Grand Poetry Slam Champion of St. Paul (2009), Minneapolis (2008, 2012) and Madison (2006)
~City Pages’ “Best Slam Poet” for 2009
~People’s Choice for “Best Slam Poet” and “Artist/Activist Award” at the 2009 Urban Griots Awards
~URB Magazine “Next 1000” for 2008
~2008 Independent Music Awards finalist for Best Hip Hop Album and Best Hip Hop Song
~One of City Pages’ “Artists of the Year” for 2008

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES:
~United Nations Barbershop Conference, 2015
~Department of Justice Conference on Gender Violence Prevention, 2014
~Safe Schools Youth Summit, 2014
~Hope Rocks 2012 gala w/ Eric Hutchinson
~Dawn of a Dream 2011 Children's Cancer Research Fund gala
~Vices to Verses Conference 2010 w/ Dead Prez, Toki Wright, etc.
~80/35 Festival 2010 w/ Modest Mouse, Spoon, Cool Kids, etc.
~Soundset 2009 w/ Atmosphere, the Pharcyde, Freeway, Brother Ali, MF DOOM, etc.
~Manifestation 2009 w/ Sage Francis, B.Dolan
~B-Side Jazz Festival 2009 w/ Mr. Lif, Dessa
~Hip Hop Against Homophobia concert series (primary organizer and performer, 2009-ongoing)
~Ripple Effect 2008 w/ Rage Against the Machine, Michael Franti, Dead Prez and Anti-Flag
~Iraq Veterans Against the War 2008 National Conference
~Forward Music Fest 2008 w/ Neko Case, Killdozer, etc.
~Homegrown Hip Hop Fest 2008 w/ Kid Sister and Doomtree
~Homegrown Hip Hop Fest 2007 w/ Brother Ali and Rhymefest
~Guante's Haunted Van Tour, Verbal Graffiti Tour, Bricks and Bones Tour, a billion other shows...

~KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS at the ACPA Social Justice Institute, Tomorrow's Leaders Today conference, the American Multicultural Student Leadership Conference, the CSJ/SBU Intercultural Center Conference, the BACCHUS Peer Mentor Conference, Macalester College Leadership Conference, and more.

~COLLEGE PERFORMANCES: Boston University, Portland State, Colorado State, Washington University, UC-San Diego, University of WI (Madison, La Crosse, River Falls, Stout, Eau Claire, Stevens Point), University of MN (Twin Cities, Morris, Duluth), Augsburg College, Carleton College, Hamline University, Macalester College, University of St. Thomas, Lawrence College, Marquette University, Northland College, St. Cloud State, El Centro College, Northwestern, Virginia Commonwealth University, East Stroudsburg University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Inver Hills College, Southwest MN State, St. Olaf College, CSB-SJU, Gustavus Adolphus, Lewis University, probably others I'm forgetting.

PUBLICATIONS:
~Essay in "Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence." Counterpunch. 2014.
~Essay in "Eminem and Rap, Poetry, Race." McFarland. 2014.
~Poem in the Asian-American Literary Review. Fall/Winter 2012.