Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Guante & Big Cats: A Refresher

So as you may know: our new album, "YOU BETTER WEAPONIZE," will be released November 6. For those who are just now hearing about us, here's a look back.

I'm a hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist, educator and writer. Big Cats is an award-winning producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Sage Francis, P.O.S., TTxBC and more (he also has a solo album coming out 10/2). Together, we form the indie-rap duo GUANTE & BIG CATS. Our music is explicitly political, but it's also weird and fun. It's smart, but it also bangs. I guess that's the style-- lots of conceptual, storytelling tracks, gallows humor and substantive punchlines, all over some BIG beats.

We started working together in 2008 or so. Since then, we've played Soundset, performed on the Current's Local Show, played a bunch of gigs all over the Midwest, released an EP, mixtape and a full-length LP.

That LP, "AN UNWELCOME GUEST," was a concept album-- part love story, part zombie apocalypse, part exploration of superhero mythology, part political manifesto... not exactly an easy or straightforward listen. But it was beautifully produced and I'm still very proud of it. We got to work with some of my favorite local artists-- Haley Bonar, Big Quarters, Chastity Brown and Joe Horton from No Bird Sing, plus Prolyphic from Strange Famous Records (Sage Francis' label, who also helped us out with some digital distribution stuff; the album was officially released on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records). The most enduring track from the album is probably "No Capes," which I still perform regularly:

And here are videos of some of the other highlights from that album:

Performing "The Damp, Foggy Midnight" on the Current's Local Show, backed by a band featuring members of Dragons Power Up! and more:

Music video for "A Hug From a Stranger:"

Performing "Dragons" live at the 7th St. Entry:

The album got some stellar reviews, and while there are a couple of things I would do differently, it was a great launchpad for our future work and still holds up. Our semi-immediate follow-up was the free mixtape "Don't Be Nice," a less serious collection of punchline raps, remixes and live tracks. In that spirit, here's a FREE mix of some random songs of ours:


These songs are cool, but I can't wait for you to hear the new stuff. It's definitely exciting to reunite with a few more years of experience under our belts. More info (including the first single and video) to come. For now, check out this footage of me performing "To Young Leaders" (the first track on our new album) live at Occupy MN:

1 comment:

Juan said...

Good evening Guante. I want to say thank you for what you are doing for Hip-Hop and the world. I stumbled onto your blog this evening and I was impressed by your well-written commentaries regarding homosexuality in Hip-Hop and your progressive stance on relevant matters often ignored by "conscious" rappers. I also found "No capes" to be quite dope.