In case you weren’t aware, the Mic Hand Crew out of Cedar Rapids, IA has had some special sh*t going on for a while, bringin’ some of the underground’s most prolific and solid acts out time and time again at Super Fresh Culture Fest. Adding to the likes of Ras Kass, C-Rayz Walz, this year’s lineup includes the Maxilla crew along with our true brethren, Qwel, R.A the Rugged Man, Ill Chemistry and many more fresh acts….hence the event name.
This is not an event to miss, if you’re anywhere around the state, come join us on April 26th.
Check the FB Event Page for more details.
Typically, when you hear someone say something about listening to a new album 12-15 times on the first day, it’s an exaggeration. This is not the case here. I was taking a break from my own writing session to work on organizing 100+ gigs of silent video clips when I received my copy of the new EP released by Galapagos4 cohorts, Qwazaar & Batsauce, entitled ‘Stress Chasers.’ I figured I’d check out a few tracks and get back to writing. Upon noticing the short length of the project, I figured I’d listen to the whole thing once all the way through and would then get back to writing. 3hrs and some change later, I looked up and I was still working on the video organization, all the while to an endless loop of Stress Chasers. I won’t dwell long on this point… After you cop the EP yourself, you can follow up with Qwa and Bat directly on how many consecutive times you, personally, were able to listen to the album before you realized you had other shit to take care of, and/or got tired of it.
Brother Qwel (Typical Cats) and I were lounging heavy in my vinyl room this past Superbowl Sunday discussing anything but football. As is often the case when he and I spend more then 2 hours in a confined space, the topic of ill and weak emcees came up, and Qwazaar’s name surfaced, resulting in us both expressing a similar sentiment:
Qwelly stated that while he considers himself a dope rapper, Qwazaar exhibits a certain “next level” wizard capability. I had to agree, recounting my time with Qwa on our 2012 Creative Haze Tour together with Batsauce and Lady Daisey (Creative Haze Tour). Some of the shows from that run are a bit of a blur at this point, but I do remember after either the Dallas Fort-Worth or Kansas City stop thinking to myself, (and posting) that just when you think, as an emcee, that you might be able to fuck with Qwazaar on the mic, you witness him in a live show setting on some zoned out shit that reminds you of why you’re not quite there yet. Qwelly and I were listening to track No. 4 on the EP, “Rough Out There,” when this shared sentiment was voiced. If you already know the science, then when you listen to this track, no further explanation will be needed. However, for those that don’t, suffice it to say that his ‘mic control,’ is unmatched, and the maintenance of tone, delivery and experimentation in word rhythm all while delivering meaningful content is a juggling act that most mc’s, even decent ones, are not able to maintain for any significant length of time. Most of us excel in a couple of areas, and others sound raw for a few lines (“bars” to the trendy), but then sound dumb cornballish, or as if they’re reading lines from a middle school play script on the remaining bits.. Fortunately for purchasers of Stress Chasers, Qwa has elected to skip that stage of development.
“But who could really blame ‘em? Who would want to be here face to face, with all this fuckin’ hate? Just got a bitter taste from living in a bitter place, From living next to killers I’m related to who beat the case, but now they need a place to stay….”
One of Batsauce’s greatest attributes as a producer is his ability to create dynamic tracks with funky soul, break elements that don’t over-showboat with the “largeness,” of their sound. His beats have a way of making you think that you too can be a dope mc, with the right track. For the majority of you, this assessment is inaccurate, however it shouldn’t detract from the raw essence that is a Batsauce track. Add to this, the fact that Bat reached out and connected with the cutsmith, Dj TouchNice, of the Maxilla crew to complete this project and you have a match made in Stress Chasin’. With an upcoming project with fellow G4 brethren, He.llsent on the horizon, the Stress Chasers EP will likely leave longtime Batsauce fans thirsting for more and new time fans wondering why they hadn’t heard of him before. They will likely also question who the hell told this duo that they could get away with doing a project formatted in this fashion. The beauty of this project is that the rhymes and beats answer that question for you, and in an unapologetic fashion at that.
My main complaint for this project is that for the first 2 hrs of headnodding and chanting along with what I thought were the words, I was certain that the outro track was saying “Your best friend’s Marijuanaaaaa,” only to later discover that I had heard the lyrics wrong. At this point, I’ve become accustomed to my version of the lyrics and would argue that the actual lyrics SHOULD match my suggestion instead. While we don’t really dabble into the whole ghost-writing thing at G4, I would urge hip hop heads to contact Qwa & Bat directly after listening to this album, to insist that my version either be implemented in a follow-up to this EP, and/or as a formal and publicly announced correction to the actual song.
Aside from that, and as always, think for yourself, and check for the Stress Chasers EP HERE
NM is one of my favorite spots to hit. Once again, I’m in for frybread, fresh writer company, ill event and cool people. Count me in. Catch me painting with the homie/crewmate LETER and LIVER as Scarce Elementz claims a wall for Illegal?!3 in Las Cruces, put on by my brother Saba, and the West End Art Depot. See you there.
Already…It’s time to bring in a classic & raw hip hop show to set the tone for the year. Artifacts alum, Brand Nubian alum and Galapagos4 all under one roof… Celebrating upcoming and recent releases, all crews are ready to ROCK! PLEASE research these acts if you are unfamiliar, as these are multiple legendary underground crews being represented by some of the finest MC’s, producers, Djs. HIP HOP SCHOLARS NIGHT. It’s worth skipping a football game or two. Trust. See you THERE.
Led by Urban Leadership leaders Kris and Emily Rollins, the youth activists and leaders of tomorrow will be conducting townhall meetings, facilitating open student discussions on a number of topics, with the goal of creating safe spaces for teens to discuss issues facing their communities, brainstorming possible solutions and becoming ambassadors for change. During the summit, 25 youth from each of the five comprehensive high schools will engage in town hall meetings, artistic workshops, and a youth + community large group discussion, closing the event with a mixed media performance showcasing their learning from the semester, and an appearance from Maxilla Blue.
The topics students will discuss are:
1) Modern-day Racism
2) Youth, Gang, and Street Violence
3) Rape Culture & Victim Blaming
4) Drugs, Sentencing Laws, and School to Prison Pipeline
Those who attend day one will catch ‘Phate acting as the adult co-facilitator, who will play a background role to the discussion being led by local bboys BLESS, an upperclassman, as well as Ms. Brionne of DMPS. That same day, ‘Phate will be conducting a basic writer’s workshop for high school heads interested in the culture.
Day 2 will involve more great discussion, along with a quick crash from Maxilla Blue and the DMI Breakers.
Hoodies for Humanity returns! For those who are unfamiliar, 5 years ago, Central Standard Records, anchored by Maxilla Blue & the BumRap collective kicked off the 1st in an ongoing series dedicated to bringing solid hip hop to the city in Iowa’s cold winter months, with an underlying purpose: gathering warm hoodies for Iowa’s homeless and/or less fortunate youth. Therefore, the $5 admission price can be circumvented by offering a clean, wearable hoodie at the door. All hoodies are then donated to a local youth/special needs organization. Each year, the cast has flipped up a bit, but the result remains the same: MAD HOODIES! WARM BODIES! Bangin’ beats and flows. Join us Saturday, December 21, 2013 for round 3 @ the usual spot. Join and keep up with the FB EVENT HERE.
This Saturday, we give back! Kevin Lonergan is a long time hip hop head, owner of War Paint Graff shop and one of the first skate shops in the Quad Cities area, an all out graff writer in his own right repping the Midwest heavyweights, NTC, and a skater since back before shit was trendy. Two months ago, Kevin had a stroke which impaired some of his motor skills. As an artist who supported his family solely on his ability to use his hands to create, this is devastating, but no where near the last word on the subject. This Saturday, Maxilla Blue, along with RIBCO and several other great bands come to wreck shop in Kevin’s honor, collecting all proceeds to go towards his extensive medical bills. The $10 cover charge is merely a suggested amount and can be augmented as needed to give what you can, and there will also be a silent auction. Come join us for a good cause at a great venue for a great man. Check the FB EVENT PAGE HERE, and peep a video of Kevin (DEMAND) getting loose below.