#GetOutToVoteMN Hosted by Keith Ellison for Congress
With special performances by: Brother Ali, Slug Of Atmosphere, Dessa, I Self Devine, Sims, Los Nativos, Mally, Face The Vote, Green Team, Plain Ole Bill and Kevin Beacham.
Hosted by Keith Ellison for Congress
Starting on Monday, October 15, 2012, tickets will be available exclusively at Fifth Element (2411 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405) from 5:00 - 7:00PM CST. Come down to register to vote, pledge to vote and pick up your tickets! Tickets for the event are only $5, limit 2 tickets per person. This is an 18+ event. Click for more info.
Additional tickets will be available at The Depot Tavern, Electric Fetus and etix.com beginning at 11:00am CST on Tuesday, October 16, 2012.
One concert. Eleven performances. One goal. #GetOutToVoteMN
Paid for and Authorized by Keith Ellison for Congress
Fully recharged and inspired by his eye-opening first trip to Mecca, the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East, and the world wide Occupy movements, Brother Ali is prepared to unveil his fourth full-length offering Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. Created during a self-imposed two-month exile in Seattle and helmed by platinum-selling producer Jake One (50 Cent, T.I., Wiz Khalifa), the album presents a scathing yet honest critique of America and its many flaws while simultaneously presenting a hopeful outlook of its possibilities.
In an age of hip-hop where the paradigm of swag over substance reigns supreme, few emcees are willing to use their platform to tackle the hot-button topics and pressing social maladies of our time - but it’s apparent that Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist Brother Ali is one of those few. Over the course of 14 tracks with assists from esteemed author/ professor Dr. Cornel West, revered Southern hip-hop icon Bun B, and Def Poetry Jam poet Amir Sulaiman, the album brazenly holds a mirror to the idiosyncrasies of American life while simultaneously painting a vibrant portrait of its wondrous potential. Actualizing hip-hop’s full range of motion as a gage for the times, Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color asserts itself as the definitive soundtrack of a disenchanted, disenfranchised, and wildly optimistic citizenry during a landmark period in American history. In a moment of artistic preemptive strike, Brother Ali recognized this prime opportunity to examine and address the underpinnings of the burgeoning stance of mass opposition:
“This is not just a new album, but a new chapter. There’s a kind of democratic reawakening in people at this point in time. I was really looking to take these topics and really hit them hard. To try to open ears and hearts and invite people to take some action and feel empowered. To be engaged and take some agency and responsibility for what’s going on in the world.” Melding the zeitgeist of classic works such as Ice Cube’s critical 1991 album Death Certificate and Marvin Gaye’s 1971 sociopolitical opus What’s Goin’ On with his keen observations on topics such as race, the Occupy movement, and the hypocrisy of war, Brother Ali has crafted a fresh lyrical approach and dynamic new sound - the result is a stunning collection of hard-hitting lyrics and beats. Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, in all its sonic and lyrical glory, promises to be both the voice of a burgeoning new critical American consciousness and the beacon of hope for those that hold fast to its ideals and potential.
Sean Michael Daley, (born September 7, 1972) better known by his stage name Slug, is an American rapper. He is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Slug is best known as one half of the hip hop group Atmosphere, which he founded with Derek Turner (Spawn). He is also one of the founders of the Minnesota Hip Hop record label Rhymesayers Entertainment. [Wikipedia]
From its first track, Dessa’s new full-length Parts of Speech (out June 25, 2013) announces itself as something different. The Doomtree veteran and inveterate wordsmith — having proved her mettle in the fields of creative non-fiction, spoken-word and hip-hop — jettisons all genre expectations on “The Man I Knew” and croons a heartbreaking lament to a disintegrating relationship at an explosively-building clip. From this moment on Dessa — oft–described as “Mos Def plus Dorothy Parker” for the wit and flow shown off on previous solo albums A Badly Broken Code and Castor, The Twin — proves she has truly coalesced as an artist, transcending the restrictions of genre to reveal an astonishing multi-platform voice.
Parts of Speech owes much of its impact to its diverse production. Dessa got her start as a member of Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree — eventually going on to help manage the group’s business affairs as they launched their own label — and members Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger lend their production to several tracks. The players in Dessa’s live ensemble all contributed to the record, as did several top-flight Minneapolis musicians working in rock, folk, and opera.
Dessa, born and raised in Minneapolis after her parents met at a Duluth music store, was valedictorian of her high school, eventually skipping a year of college and graduating with honors before she could legally drink. Armed with a philosophy degree, the intrepid Midwesterner spent her nights as a waitress and days writing reference manuals used by doctors in the implantation of pacemakers. “Language and verbal communication were important in my family. If I could argue my way into a later curfew, that argument was entertained. My parents may have regretted that policy later but it was a great motivator to help me develop a facility with words.”
Parts of Speech could be made by no one but Dessa, but in its evolution and awareness it is the perfect culmination of the journey started with 2010’s A Badly Broken Code. Middle album Castor, The Twin was in many ways a blueprint for Speech. The earlier albums were praised widely for their focus and depth, but Speech shows a fantastic breadth. By uniting a wealth of different tones and narratives under Dessa’s unmistakable poeticism, Parts of Speech greatly resembles Sherwood Anderson’s modernist fiction classic Winesburg, Ohio. Dessa creates a new world, populating it with complex characters, beautiful sonic landscapes and refreshing, assertive production. An album that can boom out of a car window after its summer release, or soundtrack a November night in, Parts of Speech marks a highpoint in Dessa’s career and demonstrates the crossover power of the rising star’s burgeoning arsenal.
I Self Devine returns with his highly anticipated sophomore album The Sound of Low Class Amerika. You can feel the passion I Self Devine delivers on topics of community, class and social injustice in America as he spits truths to inspire the masses. The album is both a narrative for the current state of the world and a telling history as to how we arrived here. I Self Devine's truly unique voice and style create a sense of urgency and call to action while leading and equipping the listener with the tools necessary to act and dissent. Production from Jake One, Vitamin D, Medium Zach, Benzilla, DJ Todda, King Karnov, and Proh Mic drives the entire album. It comes in strong and never slows or wavers as it takes to the listeners ear and marches them to the end. It's an album that ultimately solidifies I Self's position as a leader -- not only in his own social community but that of the music community.
Chaka Mkali, also known as I Self Devine is a musician, MC, community organizer, racial justice trainer, graffiti artist, muralist, program coordinator and director of organizing and community building at Hope Community Center in Minneapolis. As an MC, I Self is known as an integral part of the Atlanta and Twin Cities underground Hip Hop community as ½ of the duo Micranots, ½ of Semi Official, ¼ of the Dynospectrum, and as a soloist. Over the last decade I Self has released over 10 albums of political conscious socially aware music capable of moving the crowd as well as uplift the spirit and sustain the movement.
As a graffiti artist and muralist, Chaka Mkali is recognized as one of the crucial figures in the revitalization of graffiti art in the Twin Cities using the skills developed in the streets, alleyways, walls, and store fronts of Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Atlanta. As The Director of Organizing and Community Building Chaka has developed impressive work with very diverse largely low income teens and young adults that is impacting individual lives and collectively helping to bring change to a challenged community.
Restless and passionate but with an unflinching realism at his core, Sims has seen enough of life to know there are no easy answers. His second full-length release, Bad Time Zoo, released February 15, 2011 on Doomtree Records, reflects this rapper’s ongoing quest for solid understanding in a society on the brink of dystopia. For Sims, it’s been a long road. Andrew Sims grew up in the working-class Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins, Minnesota. His parents were both musicians with problems of their own, and Sims often had to look out for himself and his younger brother. “I was super short-fused,” he remembers. “I got in fights almost every day until I was about 13.”
He found solace in rap and R&B music, nurturing a love for mainstream hits as well as then-underground artists such as the Wu-Tang Clan. His parents didn’t approve of his new love, however, so he built a secret stash of cassette mixtapes that he traded to kids at school. He soon found a gift for rhyme and begin channeling his aggression into feisty, kinetic wordplay. His rap habit quickly grew from playground cyphers to recorded projects. In high school, he met a local producer and rapper named P.O.S. who would sell him beats for $30 a pop and let him record at his house for free. Eventually, their home-recording experiment blossomed into a full-on musical enterprise that would pull in other aspiring artists and help put Minneapolis hip-hop on the map. Enter Doomtree. Hailing from the same untamed Minneapolis indie music scene that spawned both punk legends the Replacements and, 20 years later, hip-hop powerhouse Rhymesayers, Doomtree has become one of the most trusted and influential names in grassroots hip-hop.
With a Mexican identity, and using music as the backdrop, Los Nativos brings a new element to Hip Hop. Los Nativos was established in 1996 in St. Paul, Minnesota and was also one of the original groups in the Head Shots crew (later to become Rhyme Sayers Entertainment). Since that time, they have been nominated by the Minnesota Music Awards for "Best New Band" in 1996, "Best Hip Hop Group" in 1999, and "Best Hip Hop Recording" in 2003.
The group consists of Felipe Cuauhtli, Xilam Balam Ybarra & DJ Tekpatl. Both Felipe and Xilam being the lyricists, Cuauhtli often lends live percussion talents, while Balam (the mastermind behind the production) conducts the keyboard. Needless to say, Los Nativos transports an aboriginal musical alliance while staying genuine to the Hip Hop culture. Throughout their 10+ years in existence, Los Nativos have polished their craft by taking all the music they have experienced to develop a Hip Hop structure accented by a broken Spanish and English flavor. With a conscious message, the lyrical style adds a political motivation, community awareness and current events of the world to give the listener a sense of what's going on in their world. By integrating Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk, Rhythm and Blues, Tejano, Mariachi, Salsa and Cumbia, the groups delivers an original musical collage of their own.
Being invited to play Soundset can act as a barometer of who in the local rap scene is really pushing themselves and their craft forward. Each year a few up-and-coming artists get the chance to rock the same stage as certified legends, and MaLLy not only got the opportunity to play the festival this year, he also witnessed Slug wearing one of his T-shirts during Atmosphere's closing performance. "There's only a few things I could see ever making me cry, but looking at it and just watching it happen, I almost cried," MaLLy recalls. "It was the highest level of respect I've ever seen from any artist, especially one that's from here of his accolades and his stature.... He didn't have to do that, you know what I mean?"
The co-sign led to a Slug cameo in MaLLy's video for "Heir Time" and a notably higher profile. He chalks it up to good timing and being well prepared for the opportunity. MaLLy has been steadily dropping albums since 2007's The Letter (when he went by MaLLy from the 612), but teaming up with like-minded producer the Sundance Kid in 2010 for the ongoing "Free on the 15th" series helped catapult the young MC both musically and business-wise. "A big piece of it, too, was presentation and ease of access," says MaLLy, citing his improved takes on self-promotion. He recalls being told he was looked at to perform at Soundset in 2010 but was ultimately passed over. "I'm glad they didn't pick me in 2010; I can't even lie. Who knows if I would've capitalized on the moment as much as I did in 2011? I don't think I would have felt as prepared. I didn't really feel like I had a huge amount of momentum."
After a number of high-profile shows this past year, including opening for Grieves and Budo and Guilty Simpson, it's evident his momentum has been steadily increasing. "I definitely have taken the mistakes I learned from my last record and decided to do what I have to do to make myself stand out, in addition to just having good music. I want all avenues, from a business standpoint, to be sharp and on-point." With a slick design sense (also provided by the Sundance Kid), he associated each month's new free download with imagery, such as depictions of Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee, that visually sum up the track's confident energy and powerful tone. Along with the new sounds came a new philosophy, which MaLLy calls "HEIRoggance"; the term speaks to his humble confidence and yearning for success, all while maintaining a level of genuine humanity. As he prepares for the release of his next album, The Last Great, MaLLy intends to continue to "ride the wave" and push himself even further. [City Pages, October 2011]
Known in the Twin Cities as co-founder of Get Cryphy, the city's top hip-hop night, Plain Ole Bill stands apart from others behind the booth when it comes to his skill, genial attitude, and résumé. He gained recognition outside Minneapolis as P.O.S.'s touring DJ throughout most of 2009, but this year has been especially busy for Bill. He opened for Atmosphere with his Cryphy crew on the Denver stop, remixed supergroup Gayngs, released his first production ("Let 'Em Through" featuring Tomorrow Genius and Brother Ali), and is set to join up with Ali on a European tour after this spring's Soundset festival.
His unmatched scratching abilities are featured on I Self Devine's latest mixtape and on Lazerbeak's debut album, where he's listed as executive producer. "I brought the idea to Beak that he should do an instrumental album of unreleased songs with myself doing the transitions," Bill explains, adding that he still can't wrap his head around many of his most recent successes. He's a fun DJ to watch perform because he isn't afraid to mix genres and lets the crowd know when he's really feeling it, which for Bill is usually when he's in the thick of a supremely grimy rap track. If you still need convincing, check out the dance floor at any Cryphy night — if you can find a spot — and you'll see that his style is anything but plain. [City Pages, Best Club DJ 2012]
Kevin Beacham is host of The Current's hip-hop show, Redefinition Radio, heard Saturday nights 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Beacham has been an MC, producer, artist manager, record promoter, journalist, DJ, radio show host, record label manager, and now back to radio show host. He first got his start in radio in April of 1995 on WNUR 89.3 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He moved to Minneapolis in 2002 to help manage the renowned indie hip-hop Rhymesayers label.