So-Gnar and Cervantes' Masterpiece Present
FALL SHREDDED BEATS ft NAS w/ Special Guest JUSTIN BUA (Lecturing and Live Painting) and Performances by Dillon Cooper, Sol, The ReMINDers, Abstract Collective, Black Pistol Fire (Austin, Texas), Reason The Citizen and Typhy
2637 Welton Street
Denver, CO, 80203
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM (event ends at 2:00 AM)
This event is 16 and over
Ever since a 17-year-old Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones appeared on Main Source's 1991 classic "Live at the Barbeque," hip-hop would be irrevocably changed. Nas. Gifted poet. Confessor. Agitator. Metaphor master. Street's disciple. Political firebrand. Tongue-twisting genius. With music in his blood courtesy of famed blues musician father Olu Dara, the self-taught trumpeter attracted crowds with his playing at age 4, wrote his first verse at age 7 and, with 1994's Illmatic, created one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time before he could legally drink. Two decades on, Nas remains an incendiary, outspoken and brutally candid rapper on the recently released Life is Good, his tenth album and sixth to debut at the top of the Billboard 200.
Critics and fans immediately flocked to Life is Good, with everyone from Rolling Stone ("He cuts his rhymes with midlife realism and daring empathy") and MTV ("The most emotionally raw record he's made since his first") to HipHopDX ("An obvious maturation from the veteran") and Pitchfork ("Best New Music") praising the album. Far from divorcing personal problems from a hyperbolic, caricatured alter ego, Life is Good finds Nas confronting the myriad issues he's faced head-on since 2008's Untitled ("Daughters, "Bye Baby"), mixed with a wayward wisdom that allows him to channel the past without attempting to ape it ("Loco-Motive," "Nasty").
"I used to listen to that Red Alert and Rap Attack/I fell in love with all that poetry/Mastered that" – Nas, "The Don"
Before the 11 Grammy nominations, seven platinum albums and Top 5 rankings on MTV's 10 Greatest MCs of All Time and The Source's Top 50 Lyricists of All Time, 17-year-old Nas would take daily trips to Manhattan hoping to secure a major label deal, only to be shot down by nearly every label. When 3rd Bass co-founder MC Serch brought his demo tape to the attention of Faith Newman, then-Director of A&R for Columbia Records, she made a deal with Serch that day, offering Nas a $17,000 advance and the lifeline to begin his career.
With hundreds of thousands of words alongside entire books written on the album, it seems almost trite today to discuss the universal impact and acclaim that Illmatic had on rap. Put simply: the album has long been considered a masterpiece not just in hip hop, but music as a whole, inspiring countless subsequent rappers and establishing Nas as the most vivid storyteller of urban life since Rakim and Chuck D.
1996's It Was Written built upon Illmatic's foundation, with "Street Dreams" and "If I Ruled the World" (the latter with Lauryn Hill) becoming radio staples and vaulting Nas into mainstream success. For his two 1999 albums, I Am… and Nastradamus, the rapper balanced commercial aspirations with extended metaphors and rough street anthems, carving out multiple identities that better reflected the rapper's expanded worldview.
"My success symbolizes loyalty/Great friends/Dedication/Hard work/Routine builds character/In a world full of snakes, rats and scavengers" – Nas, "You Wouldn't Understand"
In 2001, the rapper released his fifth album Stillmatic at the height of his escalating battle with Jay-Z for King of New York. Tracks like "Ether" and "Got Ur Self A…."could be heard on radio stations and in cars across the country and would eventually sell more than 2 million copies, while songs like "Rewind," which told the story of a payback hit in reverse a la Memento, solidified Nas as an atypical rapper unafraid to play with convention. God's Son, with the booming anthem "Made You Look," would follow one year later and go gold.
As Nas entered his 30s, his scope and breadth became even more ambitious. While most rappers struggle to say anything on one album, Nas released the 2004 double album Street's Disciple, reuniting with his estranged father on the blues/hip-hop hybrid "Bridging the Gap." The album also featured the Iron Butterfly-sampling "Thief's Theme," which remains one of Nas' most anthemic songs.
In the past decade, Nas has only gotten more inflammatory and passionate, purposely titling albums to provoke weighty discussions on a global level. 2006's Hip Hop is Dead sparked widespread debate on the veracity of the title, while Nas changed 2008's Untitled from its original title Nigger, yet still incited intense polemics on race and politics in America.
"Reveal my life/You will forgive me/You will love me/Hate me/Judge me/Relate to me/Only a few will/This how it sounds when you too real/They think it's just music still" – Nas, "No Introduction"
In recent years, though, Nas has transcended mere rapper status and engaged in greater levels of philanthropy. The rapper is an avid UNICEF supporter, helping to raise funds for East African region Horn of Africa and teaming up with the family of George Harrison for the organization's Month of Giving. The rapper also donated all proceeds of Distant Relatives, his 2010 collaboration with longtime friend Damian Marley, to help end poverty in Africa.
Nas's desire for greater interaction with his fans has also led him to new business ventures. He serves on the board of social photo sharing site The Fancy alongside Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. The rapper also became a founding member and launched the lifestyle site 12 Society, which allows fans to receive a monthly shipment of clothes and gear hand-picked by the rapper.
Rapper J-Live once said satirically, "To be a great MC, you have to be a great liar." It's safer to not tell the truth; safer to sanitize your existence; safer to align yourself with the producer du jour; safer to rhyme about tropes over truths. Nas's catalog speaks for itself. Over 10 albums, the rapper has never been one to play it safe. Whether it's rhyming about politics, hip hop, race, religion, other artists or personal relationships, Nas has consistently brought unparalleled and unprecedented levels of honesty to hip hop, a trait often overlooked in the genre. On Life is Good's "Reach Out," Nas rhymes, "So call me a genius/If you didn't/Now that I said it/I force you to think it." For most artists, this would be arrogance bordering on hubris. For Nas, who's remained vital and relevant for nearly 20 years, it's just fact.
Groundbreaking artist Justin BUA is internationally known for his best-selling collection of fine art posters--The DJ being one of the most popular prints of all time. Born in 1968 in NYC's untamed Upper West Side and raised between Manhattan and East Flatbush, Brooklyn, BUA was fascinated by the raw, visceral street life of the city. He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts and complemented his education on the streets by writing graffiti and performing worldwide with breakdancing crews. BUA went on to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he earned a B.F.A. and taught figure drawing at the University of Southern California for ten years.
Starting in the world of commercial art, BUA designed and illustrated myriad projects, from skateboards and CD covers to advertising campaigns. He developed the look and feel of the opening sequence for MTV's Lyricist Lounge Show, EA Sports video games NBA Street and NFL Street, and the world of Slum Village's award winning music video “Tainted” among others. He designed the BUA line of apparel and a limited edition shoe line with PF Flyers that sold out completely. BUA went on to create his own animated series Urbania, which was picked up by Comedy Central and was the host of the Ovation TV series American Revolutionaries.
In his first book, The Beat of Urban Art, BUA lays out his unique vision, melding urban rhythms, graffiti, and classical art training. This visually arresting book is about his life, his work, and the birth of Hip-Hop. As we follow BUA through his turbulent youth, navigating the streets and underground worlds of the urban jungle, we recognize the powerful evolution of BUA's distinct style—“New Urban Realism.” Following in the footsteps of the great masters, BUA represents the lives of both the revered and the marginalized, the heroes and the underdogs of his time—New York City during the 1970s and '80s. In BUA's second book The Legends of Hip Hop, featuring a forward from Chuck D. of Public Enemy and due out November 8, 2011, BUA delves deeper into the history of hip hop and pays homage to 50 of hip hop's greatest names, using portraiture to celebrate each individual's revolutionary contribution.
Currently, BUA speaks on the topics of art and the Hip Hop movement at college campuses and events worldwide, while continuing to be a leading innovator in both the fine and commercial art worlds. He continues to exhibit throughout the United States and internationally; recent shows include BUA's Urban Art Studio at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and BUA NY SEE at Pop International Gallery, New York. BUA's energetic and vocal worldwide fan base ranges from former presidents, actors, musicians, professional athletes, and dancers, to street kids and art connoisseurs.
At just 21 years old, rapper Dillon Cooper is already taking the world by storm with his startling combination of fresh beats, lyrical prowess, dynamic, energetic flow and his own brand of cool style. Without a doubt, this New York native is set to become a permanent fixture on America’s musical landscape.
Born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to immigrant parents from the Caribbean, Cooper's passion for music began at an early age. “I love music. I’ve always loved music. I’ve listened to music my whole life,” he says with a knowing smile which tells you that making music is exactly what Dillon Cooper was born to do.
Cooper didn’t start off as a rapper though. In fact, he is a serious musician who played the piano as a child before picking up the guitar at the tender age of seven, continuing through childhood and then more seriously in his teens. “I just thought the guitar was a cool instrument that I wanted to play at that age,” he explains.
He was so good at the guitar that his talent led to a place at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston – home to such musical luminaries as super producer Quincy Jones.
However, it was just a few semesters after enrolling that Cooper knew he had to quit. “School really just wasn’t for me,” he admits. A chance conversation with musical star John Mayer, who'd gone to talk to the college’s freshmen students, solidified his decision. Cooper asked Mayer what he would do if he disliked college. Mayer's words of wisdom were: “I would just leave”. Cooper took Mayer’s word for it and he hasn’t looked back since.
Although Dillon Cooper's earliest forays into rap had been “just for fun” he knew he had to take his gift to the next level especially if he wanted to stand out from the other guitarists around him. He started recording demos with a host of local and international producers and eventually shot a video, set in Brooklyn, to Shadows, the track that established him as a force to be reckoned with and got the music industry to sit up and notice this fresh-faced wonder.
After posting the video to his Facebook and YouTube pages, Shadows went viral online. It was then brought to the attention of legendary rapper Jadakiss who loved the song and posted it on his blog SoRaspy.com as well as throwing in a retweet! Things took off from there. Cooper started racking up thousands of views online and has been developing a strong and loyal fan base from all over the world ever since.
Of course, this attention is no surprise to Cooper who prides himself on the time and effort he puts into his rhymes. “When I’m rapping I’ll think about the message I’m trying to put across and I’ll think about how to make it catchier or how to add that rhythm and swing,” he explains. “I just want to push the envelope… listeners shouldn’t have to just settle for mediocre content.”
Cooper thinks a lot about his audience and how his music will impact them. Despite his young age, Cooper’s music is timeless, inspired by the personal and the political: “Generally, I just try to talk about stuff that I’ve been through and that I’m going through which older people can relate to because they’ve been through it and people who are my age can relate to because they are going through the exact same thing or feel that same way because we’re in the same group. I try to put it in a way that anybody can latch onto and say ok, I get this”.
Sonically, mix a little Kendrick Lamar and Drake; add a sprinkle of Lupe Fiasco’s conscious lyrical clarity and the urban edginess of A.S.A.P. Rocky then you’ll begin to get some idea of what Dillon Cooper sounds like. He brings an old school hip-hop vibe, with a new school hip-hop attitude, which is radio-friendly enough for everyone to enjoy.
But while he counts a number of rappers as his influences and inspirations - “I love Jay-Z. I love Big L. J Cole is dope. Wale is dope. Eminem by far is one of my favorite rappers of all time….” - he is very much an individual. “I just want to bring me to the table.” And you can hear him, unmistakably, in everything he does.
The rapper has already predicted his own future: “When I pay them loans back, and when I’m in them magazines, that’s when Berklee gonna send me that honorary degree” he rhymes. Many already believe him.
Dillon Cooper may be only 21 years old, but his music stands with some of the best of what’s out there already. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Dillon Cooper is on his way to the top.
Sol is a hip hop artist from Seattle, Washington, whose thoughtful lyrics, exuberant performances, and diverse instrumentation have solidified him among the leaders of the northwest music scene. 2012 marked a transcendent year for Sol’s career, starting with the highly anticipated independent album Yours Truly, which quickly rose to #1 on iTunes US Hip-Hop Chart (#4 worldwide) and debuted on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart. Following a west coast tour, as well as performances before a ruckus crowd at Live Nation’s Sasquatch Music Festival and a sold out farewell show at Seattle’s Showbox at the Market, Sol left the United States on a ten month globe-trotting hiatus as part of the Bonderman Honors Travel Fellowship he was awarded at the University of Washington.
Ten months and ten countries later, Sol returned to the United States in 2013, evolved and inspired, heading straight to the studio to produce his EP, Eyes Open. Debuting in the top 10 of the iTunes Worldwide Hip Hop Chart, Eyes Open is a global effort, with songs written on four continents. Following the successful release of the EP, Sol headlined a west coast tour that included multiple sold out shows, capped off by a sold out return to Showbox at the Market. The Eyes Open EP has received critical acclaim from Complex, XXL, DJ Booth, and GoodMusicAllDay among others. Sol is now working on his next album which is slated for a 2015 release.
Ten months and ten countries later, Sol returned to the United States in 2013, evolved and inspired, heading straight to the studio to produce his brand new EP, Eyes Open. Debuting in the top 10 of the iTunes Worldwide Hip Hop Chart, Eyes Open is a global effort, with songs written on four continents. Following the successful release of the EP, Sol headlined a west coast tour that included multiple sold out shows, capped off by a sold out return to Showbox at the Market. The Eyes Open EP has received critical acclaim from Complex, XXL, DJ Booth, and GoodMusicAllDay among others.
The Reminders are a remarkable hip-hop duo that is steadily rising to the top of the independent music scene. The team, consisting of Brussels-born emcee Big Samir, and Queens-born emcee/vocalist Aja Black, are definitely a creative force to be reckoned with. Big Samir, weaves intricate rhythmic patterns with a bilingual French/English flow, displaying his street-smart credibility in both his lyrics and cool demeanor. This is beautifully complimented by Aja Black's confident delivery, diverse cadences, and unique vocal stylings. The two have undeniably magical chemistry, as well they should. Sharing more than lyrical ability and stages, the couple is partners in both music and life, and have been married for almost a decade.
Releasing their debut album 'Recollect' in 2008, The Reminders have been launched into the spotlight. Recognized and applauded for their ability seamlessly blend magnetic rhymes and soaring vocals, the group pulls from a combination of musical genres, creating an array of sounds that resonate in the ears and hearts of many. Oft compared to the Fugees, Blackstar, and Digable Planets, The Reminders can definitely carry their own weight, and are more than able to standout amongst their contemporaries. Their stage presence wows crowds the world over, allowing the the duo to uplift and entertain all at once.
Their unique mashup of razor sharp rhymes, raw, soulful vocals, and reggae-infused hip hop beats form the perfect backdrop for their relevant and inspiring themes, leaving a lasting impression on listeners, with audiences always wanting more.
Having shared the stage with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Fishbone, Barrington Levy, Black Star, Big Boi, KRS-One, Rakim, K'Naan, and others, the Reminders have established a firm place in today's changing scene, garnering international acclaim while paving a path al their own.
More than a shade of the same color that we have seen time and time again, this group transcends the bounds of what is expected. More than a breath of fresh air, The Reminders deepen the roots of hip-hop's Golden Era, raising its soul up high, propelling it forward into the future. With the release of their new album, 'Born Champions' these two are truly headed for something incredibly special.
Abstract Collective is not your everyday Hip Hop group. Together these five Musicians manage to blend the styles off Jazz, Dance, R&B, and IDM into a fusion that sets them apart from all others. Hailing from Littleton CO, Abstract Collective began in early 2011 and quickly began gaining momentum playing various shows in the Denver area. Over the summer of 2011 the quartet picked up local Vibraphon
e player Cody Schlueter to finish up the lineup.
This unique instrumentation, as well as live show that is know to feature live painting and artwork by local artist Alana Wool as well as live video manipulations and projections by ArtFace Studios allows Abstract Collective to explore various textures, visuals and sounds not often associated with hip hop and put them in a niche all of their own. The past year they have been able to share the stage with artists such as Grouch and Eligh, the ReMINDers, Mane Rok, Binary Star, Charlie 2na and House of Vibe, Proximity, MTHDS, Cunninlynguists, BAMBU, Blackalicious, Sweatshop Union, Leisure Gang, and Wheelchair Sportscamp just to name a few...
Black Pistol Fire
Black Pistol Fire are a rock and roll duo originally from Toronto, Canada, but are now based out of Austin, Texas. Their wild and energetic rock-and-roll sound has been described as a mix of classic southern rock and garage punk, garnering comparisons to early Kings of Leon, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Black Keys, and Clutch. It's clear that the band's sound spans many different eras and subgenres, relying on a classic rock and roll sound that has been updated for our modern times.
Reason The Citizen
Richard John Martinelli, known musically by his stage name Reason the Citizen, is a southern California born and bred emcee known for his sharp double-time delivery and satyrical live performances. His non-traditional approach to performing stems from award winning experiences in high school speech tournaments as a youth, culminating in a stage show that combines his quick tongued rapping with witty comedic insight about modern life and music. His efforts to make his live appearances unique from the "standard rap show" has lead to a diverse and ever growing fan base.
Reason the Citizen is a student of hip-hop. After more than a decade of being an emcee, he has personally experienced almost every facet of rap culture, advancing from freestyle street cyphers and battles, to performing live for hundreds of fans throughout the country. He has also used this experience to connect with other notable artists, which has helped him establish notoriety among the independent hip-hop community.
In 2006, he released "Survival Plus", which would represent his first official solo efforts as a young emcee. This album would go on to help position Reason the Citizen as an official artist for Denver based indy collective Fameless Entertainment, who were largely responsible for his second album "Broke For Free" in 2009. This release, a fan favorite, would help him tour across the country and even earned him performance opportunities at the famed SXSW festival in Austin, TX. Shortly afterwards in 2010, he released World Hunger Volume One, a mixtape consisting of 19 free tracks.
Since his last release, Reason the Citizen has been quietly preparing for a series of new projects to be unleashed in 2013 to an eager and awaiting fan base. Although tentatively these releases remain untitled and information about them is closely guarded, they are certain to catapult his name into world wide recognition. With the recent success's of Fameless Entertainment label-mates Input, Broken and Caleb Slade, Reason the Citizen is sure to follow closely behind, adding a unique flavor to the collectives already diverse roster. Although the true potential of his music has yet to blossom, Reason the Citizen is guaranteed to to captivate audiences for years to come.
Hip Hop artist out of Denver, CO.
Tickets Available at the Door
Cervantes' and The Other Side - DUAL VENUE
Sat, February 11
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Fri, March 17
Sat, March 18