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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Four Dudes on a 90-Degree Day

posted by on June 19 at 11:33 AM

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Wednesday, June 13--Los Angeles

The four of us--Jumbo, Vurs, Shines, and myself--were just stuck in a 28-square foot elevator for 20 minutes. Not a good look for four dudes on a 90-degree day. The show must go on and right now they're recording a segment for NPR at the host's apartment. Upon entering the kitchen I discovered an interesting concert poster of a Digable Planets show at DV8 way back in February 1995, less than six months after the release of the group's second album Blowout Comb. And here's a fact most people don't know: Frontman Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler hails from Seattle's Garfield High School.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

"Make the White Guy Do Most of the Driving"

posted by on June 8 at 3:40 PM

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Lifesavas Jumbo the Garbageman gets a written warning from Florida Highway Patrol.

Saturday, May 26 - Washington, DC

Another great perk of travelling across the country comes when you get to reunite with people who you came up with. Lifesavas and Black Anger both come from the same true school generation of Pacific Northwest hiphop artists. In fact, the groups played on the same bill, along with Source Of Labor and Silent Lambs Project, back in 2000 at the Paradox as a farewell to Black Anger members Kindu and Sayeed moving back to Virginia.

Du and Sayeed made the four-hour round-trip from Richmond to catch the show, which served as a reunion of sorts. The brothers who together as Bedroom Produksionz notched the classic singles "S.E.L.F" and "Non-Fiction" have taken a break from music and focused on their respective families and community-building.

Though Sayeed's kids stayed home, Du brought his son, who seemed to have fun. By the end of the night he slept in his dad's arms after a long night of hip-hop. We gave our farewells and headed out to the telly for a minimal four hours of sleep before a 10-hour drive to Atlanta.

Continue reading ""Make the White Guy Do Most of the Driving"" »


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Inspiration Sneakin' Through the Back Door

posted by on May 31 at 5:50 PM

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Friday, May 25 - NYC

Being involved so heavily in music, most DJs, MCs, and producers often get used to the presence of longtime idols and predecessors. On this night the Lifesavas definitely still had that enthusiastic awe for Don Blackman, a soul artist who would share the stage with them for "Long Letter." The song samples Blackman's "Since You've Been Away So Long" from his self-titled album that was never released by Arista/GRP. At the end of the song he gave pounds to Vurs, Jumbo, and Shines, showing his clear appreciation for their respect of his musical contributions.

Later that night I myself couldn't help but turn into a fan when Pete Rock hit the stage to DJ. He produced the unofficial hiphop anthem "T.R.O.Y." along with countless other classic albums and songs. Seeing such an inspiration sneak through the back door just feet away reminded me why I love music so much.

Judging from the amount of Japanese cats in the crowd taking pictures, I wasn't the only one in awe of the hiphop legend. Pete rocked it decently off strictly vinyl, added another dimension by getting on the mic like all NYC DJs do, and kept people movin'.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lifesavas Tour Diary: Evolution Happens

posted by on May 23 at 4:10 PM

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This is the first installment of a tour diary written by Seattle's DJ Marc Sense, who's on the road with Portland luminaries Lifesavas--MCs Vursatyl and Jumbo and DJ Rev. Shines--for five weeks.

Six days into the tour ya boy is tired, but with plenty of stories to tell. You'l get an inside look at life on the road with Quannum recording artists Lifesavas, plus everything else associated with the tour. At the very least it should entertain and provide some distinct insight into four hiphop heads and their experiences.

Monday, May 14 - Minneapolis

Unquestionably, Rhymesayers runs the independent hiphop game in this era. To figure out why, you have to visit the crew's headquarters, which includes the record store Fifth Element, a basement warehouse, and offices upstairs. Economic efficiency at its best. But the real engine lies in the personnel that operate the grassroots company.

During Lifesavas' in-store performance, the likes of Slug of Atmosphere, Siddiq (Rhymesayers co-founder), Kevin Beacham (Scribble Jam organizer), and J-Bird (Rhymesayers vice president) all came down to check things out. That core group has worked together as crew for over seven years and as peers for much longer. Their loyalty to one another and the label's artists has pushed them to the top spot in the independent hiphop game.

Wednesday, May 16 - Chicago

J-Dilla's impact on hiphop music runs so deep. Lifesavas' good friend Ben took us out for a late dinner of tapas, which hit the spot. But as good as the food tasted, the guys lit up when we got back to his spot and they discovered his 500+ songs produced by Dilla, including many unreleased beat tapes. And when I say tapes, I mean literally cassettes with reels.

Shines mentioned that he had quite a few of them that had somehow gotten lost. So when Ben had some of those same beats it took Shines back to his brief stay in Connecticut in the late 1990s. One of the tracks sounded quite familiar to my ear, since One Be Lo had recorded a song over it. Even Vursatyl, whose main duty is rocking the mic, collects Dilla-produced vinyl.

Continue reading "Lifesavas Tour Diary: Evolution Happens" »