GZA - Performing "Liquid Swords"
Killer Mike, Bear Hands, Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore
1003 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is 18 and over
When it comes to thought provoking, street-bred raw lyricism, the Wu-Tang Clan's fountain of wisdom, GZA takes his job very seriously. The way he crafts his double-edged rhyme flow mirrors the skill and precise technique of one who works with fine ceramics. GZA's metaphoric and multi-layered lyrics are often touted by critics as his rap name implies; genius.
Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in every borough of New York City, The GZA's workmanship can be found three albums deep with classics dating back to 1991 including the albums Words From The Genius, the gold-selling Liquid Swords and Beneath The Surface. Before his days of microphone notoriety, GZA found himself, during the early ages of rap music, travelling throughout New York City sharpening his rap skills in scattered rhyme battles. "I've studied rap in every borough," the GZA says proudly. "I've been rhyming before a lot of these cats out here were born. We've [Wu Tang Clan] always drank, ate and slept hip-hop. I love it." On his latest blockbuster album Legend Of The Liquid Sword, The GZA makes reference to his hip- hop foundation on the reflective Fam (Members Only) "I grew up around B-Boys, DJs, MCs, through rap, never thinking in ways of TV," the Genius raps. "It was strictly all about magnificent rhyme clout."
During GZA's travels, he encountered other rap veterans that recognized his promise and helped to nurture his talent. "I watched a lot of people come up that are big now," Genius says earnestly. "I used to make demo tapes with cats that rocked with Russell Simmons and people like that. The history goes so far back; I've always been really focused on writing dope rhymes."
The GZA's dream of perfection has been realized once again on his fourth album to date. Legend Of The Liquid Sword not only regains the powerful momentum started by the last three releases, it adds to the Genius' verbal legacy with uncompromising integrity. Heat-seeking darts like the introspective, Auto Bio where GZA breaks down the elements of his life that created the man he is and the crime thriller Luminal.
What has always set The GZA apart from the ordinary is his ability to create complex images with simple context. In the same way it's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, Genius assembles his words to create thousands of vivid pictures. "I don't like to just be simple," he explains. "Even though some of my stuff can seem simple at times, I like to write in a way that when you listen to it over and over again, you hear something new and it requires you to think." Legend Of The Liquid Sword does just that. Whether the listener gets captured by the vocal acrobatics of Santi White (who has written songs for Res) on GZA's Stay In Line or the authentic old school soul production on the masterpiece Animal Planet, Genius weaves satisfying brain food through his lyrics. In his phenomenally cerebral use of metaphors, The Genius flawlessly equates human city dwellers to animals in the jungle on Animal Planet, which was produced by rhythm doctor Bink (who has produced heavyweight joints for Fat Joe, Nate Dogg, Mr. Cheeks and Faith Evans). With beats by fellow Wu Tang brother RZA, Jaz-O (Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt album), DJ Muggs (who has produced for Cypress Hill, Mobb Deep), Wu producer Mathematics (Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Sunz of Man), Arabian Knight and other sonic masterminds, GZA's talents come across even heavier. On the adrenaline raising Hip Hop call to arms, Knock, Knock (the album's shining debut single), The GZA asks on the chorus, "knock, knock, who the f*** is banging at my door, is it abstract, commercial or hardcore?" In his signature way of ill rhyme construction, GZA further defines the parameters of what rap music should be.
Don't call GZA's comeback just a comeback, it's a return of an entirely revolutionary thought process. "When we did Back In The Game on the Wu-Tang Iron Flag album, I did a verse about gambling," he explains solidly. "I didn't want to be 'back in the game' or 'back on the block,' that's typical. I made it all metaphorical." It's those same metaphors that makes the Genius' liquid sword a living legend in it's own time.
Killer Mike got his formal introduction to the industry when he first appeared on the Outkast single "The Whole World" for which he won a Grammy. Mike then signed to Outkast's Aquemini label, which was distributed by Columbia Records, and in 2003 released his debut album, "Monster" which went Gold. After a short stay at Big Boi's label, Purple Ribbon/Virgin, Mike decided it was time for him to make moves on his own and in 2004 he established his own label, Grind Time Official. With no distribution, Grind Time still made an impact with Killer Mike releases including, "Dec Crack" in 2004, "The Killer" which won the SEA Mixtape of the Year Award in 2005, and "I Pledge Allegiance to The Grind I", which won Best Street Album at the 2007 Ozone Awards.
In 2007, the Atlanta native signed with SMC, in hopes of doing with the label what Dipset did with Koch. "I've done as much as I could do individually, slinging records and selling distribution," says Mike. "I got a goal, man. I literally have a goal of earning a raw, uncut, after taxes a million dollars with SMC and I know it's possible, ultimately I went with SMC because they believed in me."
Mike has established a crew, the Grind Time Rap Gang, who he plans to release through his label, Grind Time Official. With similar views on music as Mike, the crew is made up of like-minded artists from different backgrounds, who share the same passion and vigor for making dope music the hood can relate to.
Many artists have waxed poetic about telling the streets story but few have succeeded with the effectiveness that Mike displayed on his first album release with SMC, "I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II." Mike's next release with SMC will be "Underground Atlanta," which will feature some of Atlanta's most notable hip hop artists including Gucci Mane, OJ da Juice Man, Pastor Troy, Princess of Crime Mob, Yung Ralph, Big Kuntry King, Young Dro, T.I., Stat Quo, Bobby Creekwater, Da Bill Collector, and Dem Getaway Boyz.
Underground Atlanta precedes Killer Mike's as-yet-untitled Grand Hustle debut, which he is currently recording. Mike sees this album as a way to give back to the Atlanta hip hop scene that gave birth to him and made him the artist he is today. Be on the lookout.
"For the past month, we've been telling everyone within earshot about Bear Hands, an unsigned up-and-comer out of Brooklyn that should be on the radar of every indie label." -Entertainment Weekly
"..While hints of lo-fi indie and post-punk v2.o float about on their debut, the songs catch fire from their own spark. No grungy depression or post-millennial anxiety, just solid tunes.." -Alternative Press (top 100 bands of 2008)
Press has been off the hook in the US and the UK for their debut 4 song ep "Golden" which was produced by Andrew Schneider (Cave In, Pelican) and for their live shows. Bear Hands have been fortunate enough to share the stage with bands such as MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Ra Ra Riot, Ambulance Ltd, Cursive, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Le Savy Fav etc. They take to the road again in January 09 for a headlining East Coast/Mid West run in the US and then return to the UK in February for a two week tour to support their Singles Club release on Too Pure/Beggars.
In August 2006, Dylan Rau (vocals/guitar) brought together Ted Feldman (guitar), Val Loper (bass) and TJ Orscher (drums) in a small NYC practice space. The original plan was to flesh out some demos Rau had been working on but each quickly saw and heard the potential for a band; a band that would be unique sounding yet widely accessible.
Focusing on the rhythm and percussion that Orscher and Loper bring, they strive to bring the driving beat to the foreground and to marry it with the contemplative lyrics of Rau and inventive guitar lines of Feldman. This musical creativity combines and combats ideas set forth by pioneers of the rock genre.
Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore
The Rockers Galore is a band from Philadelphia, PA. Seasoned multi-instrumentalist Blayer Point-du-jour fronts the band, which he started in 2008. After initially starting the band as a solo project, Blayer brought together the rest of the band to bring his early ideas to life. The Rockers Galore has just concluded work on their debut EP entitled "Port Au Prince" at Milkboy Studios in Ardmore, PA. "Port Au Prince" was released by Philebrity Records late summer of 2011.