Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Get Familiar: "You Better Weaponize" Guest Artists Spotlight

(CD release show pic by Jon at Reviler; see the whole slideshow here)

I've talked a lot over the past month about our new album (which you can stream and/or purchase here),  but I also like to use my website to promote other acts you should know about if you like me. So I wanted to throw up a post featuring some of the artists we decided to collaborate with. The Twin Cities have one of the best music scenes in the country (especially hip hop), and we were privileged to work with some of our favorite artists on the new project. Here's more information on all of them, plus links to videos, free music and more:

The first voice you hear on the album that isn't mine belongs to Toki Wright. Toki is one of the best MCs on the planet and has a wealth of high-quality material (including his most recent, a free mixtape called FADERS). If I had to choose one song to share, however, it'd have to be the title track from his debut on Rhymesayers, "A Different Mirror." So much substance and so much spirit, while still telling a compelling story AND showcasing his technique; Toki is a special MC, and if you like hip hop, you really have to check him out:

Next up is Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures, Mixed Blood Majority, Numbers Not Names, and formerly of Oddjobs). I have no idea how well-known Alexei is outside of the Twin Cities, but he's really one of the pillars of the hip hop scene here, both in terms of what he's accomplished as an indie artist and how much his rhyme style has influenced everyone here. There's a bunch of great footage of KtV online, but this one is probably my favorite:

We worked with Chastity Brown on our last album too, and were thrilled that she agreed to lend her talents to the new project (on TWO songs, no less). And I mean, I probably don't have to say much; everyone who has ever seen Chastity play knows that she's a star. Go buy all her music. Here she is on the Current's Local Show:

Kristoff Krane and I have been wanting to work together for a while now; suddenly, in the span of a few months, we have three songs together (two from the album, plus this one). I think one of the reasons Kristoff hasn't taken off yet (at least in terms of the press and rap blogs, since his actual fanbase is pretty big) is that it's hard to pigeonhole him. He's the best freestyle MC I've ever seen. He sings and plays guitar, sometimes in the middle of his rap sets. His level of technical precision is breathtaking, but his songs still have a ton of heart. So it's hard to pick a single video to feature here. This one is cool, but there are a lot more:

See More Perspective is someone I've been working with for years. He's got a unique voice, in every sense of the word, especially in the Twin Cities scene, and continues to be slept-on. He's currently working on a very exciting project called "Jaws of Life," and you can hear his latest, the "Fall Forward" EP, here. Here's a video of him doing what he does best:

Chantz Erolin reps Audio Perm and is in a sub-group called Art School Girls. I've known Chantz and his music since he was 16, and he's always been talented, but the stuff he's doing right now is just bonkers. He combines the poetic sensibility of Crescent Moon with the down-to-earth humor of Slug with the politics of I Self Devine. I'm beyond excited for the ASG album to come out, and I think his verses on our album are some of the highlights of the whole project. Here he is backed by the full power of the Audio Perm crew at the Varsity Theater:

Chris Hooks is best known for his work with TTxBC. One of the top up-and-coming MCs in the TC scene, he has a unique flow and sense of fun, and definitely didn't hold anything back when he wrote the verse for our album. Their newest is a FREE album called "Space." TTxBC have a ton of good videos online; this one is a perfect intro to what they do:

One contribution that people who bought the album digitally might have missed is Simi Kang's, who sketched the design on the CD itself. All of her work is very cool; she has an Etsy shop here. Here's the design:

Finally, if you haven't seen it yet, Big Cats released a solo album back in October and you can watch the entire release show at the Cedar (including an intro from me) here:

So I hope you can explore all these artists and find something inspiring. If you can't tell, I'm really proud of our new album, and I'm especially proud that we were able to bring together such a diverse, talented group of people to make it happen. Big thanks to all of them. If you can judge someone by the company they keep, I'm the coolest person in the universe.

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