EL-P / KILLER MIKE
DESPOT, KOOL A.D., JABEE
308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003
Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 16 and over
El-P is a rapper and producer from Brooklyn, New York. He used to be in a group called Company Flow which put out some records that people liked. He started a record label called Definitive Jux which put out a bunch of other records people liked. He has released two solo rap albums, a jazz album, five instrumental albums, and more. He has produced records for many people. He has performed for many people all over the world. His new studio album “CANCER4CURE” drops May 22nd.
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.
Despot, also known as Alec Reinstein, is a hip-hop artist signed to NYC-based Def Jux Records. He made his home in Forest Hills (Queens), after dropping out of Purchase College.
Kool A.D. grew up in San Francisco-- while this is a well-known fact, it's not one that's acknowledged particularly often. It's understandable considering Das Racist have become entrenched in N.Y.'s cultural milieu in so many different ways that their music has been embraced as something like a metaphor for a certain kind of lifestyle in the city. You can ascertain Victor Vazquez's Cali roots as a matter of relativity, being that Queens native Heems is more assertive as both a rapper and as a media presence. But otherwise, outside of calling himself the "second-best rapper with glasses after E-40," it's tough to pinpoint much influence even when you know it's there. All of which makes Kool A.D.'s second mixtape of 2012, 51, a surprise and a long time coming: Recorded entirely in Oakland with a heavy presence of Bay Area producers and rappers, it's a testament to his heretofore untested malleability, a new way to hear the old Kool A.D.-- something which the admirable, if loopy outré R&B of The Palm Wine Drinkard got only half right.
He takes every opportunity to enthusiastically serve as a tour guide ("Couple blocks from the sun dial/ Candlestick Park, south one mile/ Alameda, Walnut, St. Anthony"), drop slang, and rhyme over out-the-trunk 808s ("Ticky Ticky") and near-hyphy rhythms ("Manny Pacquiao") to let you know he's making himself at home again. Overall, though, 51 feels more like a comprehensive California thing, specifically mid-2000s Stones Throw in both sound and structure with the "for the love" generosity of recent E-40 tossed in. There's an intelligent stream-of-consciousness here, something along the lines of Madlib's work as Quasimoto or Guilty Simpson's overlooked OJ Simpson. To isolate a particular five-minute run, the typically dense "Donda" ("I'm so emotional like Thursday/ Cherchez anything/ So Diddy with it/ Looking for a check with like 50 digits") abruptly cuts to a Dylan sample ("Biz vs. Nudge") and then 15 seconds later, a screwed Young L production named after British art maven and media provocateur Damien Hirst where Kool A.D., Dope G, and MondreM.A.N. are outfitted with aluminum voiceboxes.