Archive for February 2013

Las Krudas (Cuba)

Odaymara Cuesta and Olivia Prendes are Cuban Hip Hop MCs, Independent Musicians, Poets, Theater Performers representing Womyn, Immigrants, Queer and People of Color Action as a Central Part of World Change. They choose the art as a weapon to fight for rights, for balance, for justice, against oppression. They were both born and raised in Cuba and began in the ”Artivism” early in their lives.

In 1996, they founded the first vegan and queer activist arts group in Havana, Cuba, called Cubensi. By 1999, they had chosen hip hop music as their preferred form of expression, recording their first album, Cubensi Hip Hop, in 2003.

In 2006, they relocated to Austin, Texas. They have performing, recording, giving workshops, educating and touring in The Caribbean, North, Central and South America. They bring Cubensi Hip Hop, Dance Hall, Cumbia, Old School, Mixtapes and New Strongly Beautiful Beats from all around the World with their Amazing Afro Caribbean Rebel Lyrics & Voices to empower the community.

Mandeep Sethi (India)

Mandeep Sethi is a California grown recording artist and filmmaker who uses media as a digital catalyst of spiritual change. With film and music as his primary mediums employed, Mandeep’s contributions to his local and global community are focused around working alongside youth to inspire and cultivate change.

His latest documentary is entitled “SIKLIGAR”, a 20 minute visual focusing on the weapons makers of the Sikhs and their current living conditions. His latest musical achievements include performing on MTV Coke Studios India with Producer Extraodainaire Karsh Kale, as well as being a special guest performer at the HBO South Asian International Film Festival in New York City.

Mandeep utilizes music and film as his tools of expression, enabling himself as a storyteller of the people. He is currently in pre-production for his next project, entitled “Folk Lok”, which is centered around the preservation of Traditional Punjabi Folk Music through the lens of 21st century producers and musicians, with a specific look at Punjabi language Hip-Hop.

The Welfare Poets (New York/Puerto Rico)

THE WELFARE POETS began their journey when two Cornell students came together to write poetry/rhymes of protest and upliftment, accompanied by congas (percussions). A band was created from this union with the purpose of using culture as a tool of resistance, and in the summer of 2000, the group released their first independent album “Project Blues.” Since then the group has released 2 other band albums as well as 2 compilations/fundraisers. Over their existence, the Welfare Poets have been cultural activists directly involved in social justice efforts addressing police brutality, political prisoners, the colonial status of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Naval occupation of the island, environmental justice, gentrification in New York City and the death penalty. Through teaching residencies and workshops, activism around community struggles, and sharp-edged performances that incorporate Hip Hop, Bomba y Plena, Latin Jazz and other rhythms, the Welfare Poets bring information and inspiration to those facing oppression and those fighting for liberation.

Lah Tere (Chicago/Puerto Rico)

Lah Tere is a humanitarian, organizer, activist, femcee, songstress, and a visionary speaker for the 21st Century. The Afro-Antillian/Puerto Rican/Boricua sister grew up in Chicago’s historic Puerto Rican community of Humboldt Park near the famed Paseo Boricua. She is first generation born on the mainland, and the daughter of revolutionary educators and survivors of Chicago’s notorious ghettos.

Lah was a member of Rebel Diaz, an internationally known rap group that took a critical and political stance on many social issues from police brutality on the streets of New York to violence against women globally. Her dedication and hard work granted her the opportunity to travel to Spain, Germany, Guatemala, Chile and Venezuela. She was also a founding member of the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC), a multimedia arts and music community center in the South Bronx.

Lah is a co-founder of Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen: The Soup Kitchen for the Hip Hop Soul (MHHK), a multifaceted hip hop event designed to showcase women artists, especially women of color. MHHK serves as a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women of color on issues that impact their lives, including Health, HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice.

Through her political and global activism, Lah Tere has worked to carve her own niche outside of the commercial hip-hop industry, and focused on building communities from within. As an emcee, she uses hip-hop as a didactic tool as well as an emotional release.

Lah Tere writes and performs about domestic violence issues and links popular media examples of violence against women to secrets and silences in communities of color around molestation, rape, and other forms of violence against women’s bodies that is too often normalized and naturalized in popular culture.

Lah is also the founder of InnerCityQueens, an organization who is set out to provide a mobile safe healing space for children, women and men in war torn/third world countries through events, workshops, and meditation using the arts. In recent years Lah Tere’s vision of teaching women and children about the healing power of Hip Hop truly manifested itself. She taught and performed in some of the poorest communities in Palestine (West Bank), Guatemala City ( Comunidad Incencio) and Ireland’s Ballymun. Having witnessed the pain of children who were sex trafficked, and severely poor made her life’s purpose clear to her.

Lah is globally sharing her message that “Self-Love dissolves Self-Hate” and is conjointly working on her own personal healing.

Be on the look out for her debut solo album titled “Made of Honor” which is armed with piercing lyrics and a message that could change the world for better. Lah Tere plans on bringing everything to the party, and leaving no life untouched.

Chromatics (Trinidad)

Known as the “voice and face of Hip-Hop in Trinidad & Tobago”, Chromatics was exposed to Calypso and Soca, Reggae, Dancehall and Hip Hop at an early age growing up in St. Joseph.  Of British and East Indian descent, ‘Matics’ first hit – “Start it!” – dropped in 2003 and was followed up by “Put It Up” and “The Ballad” in 2005.  Since 2007, he has recorded in the same studio Notorious BIG recorded Life After Death (Caribbean Sound Basin), opened shows for the likes of Dougie Fresh, Slick Rick, Cool Kids and RZA and performed in the USA, Europe and throughout the Caribbean.  As one journalist noted that “Chromatics is not just a rapper, but an entity, not just the CCO of Highway Records, but his own brand, with his music store, studio and most recently his all hip-hop radio program “The Grind” on Next 99.1 fm in T&T.” In 2012, he released the smash hit “Carnival Rap Up 2012” along with the innovative concept album, “The Business of Art”.  His highly anticipated album, “The Science of Colours Vol. III” dropped in February of this year.

Humanist (Burkina Faso/ France)

HUMANIST is a french artist from Burkina Faso who takes us on a trip from the West world to Africa by means of a sincere and thoughtful rap accompanied by a warm and melodious flow that becomes richer with digital (Dj’ing, MPC, electro…) as well as acoustic tones (Kora, Peul flute, balafon…) inviting us to dance and think, or simply arouse our senses.

HUMANIST tells us the story of his life with an African wizard’s sensitivity without choosing the casy way out of saintliness and victimization, always with a positive state of mind : the hip hop state of mind.

Baba Israel (New York/Australia)

Baba Israel was raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre. He developed as a young artist exploring spoken word, Hip Hop, and experimental performance. He lived and worked in Australia working on major community theatre projects and Hip Hop festivals. He has toured as an emcee, beatboxer, and theatre artist across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.

His solo show Boom Bap Meditations was supported by the Ford Foundation and The Hip Hop Theatre Festival. He has shared the stage with artists such as Outkast, The Roots, Rahzel, Lester Bowie, Afrika Bambaataa, Vernon Reid, and Bill Cosby. Previous directorial work includes the Project 2050 (New World Theatre), Countryboy Struggle (Maxwell Golden) and Sharpening SAWDS. He has worked on sound design for theatre and dance projects with Renita Martin’s It is the Seeing and Rha Goddess. He was co-founder and Artistic Director of Playback NYC Theatre Company which brought theatre to prisons, hospitals, shelters, and arts venues. As an educator he has worked internationally developing projects with a young people centered focus. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary arts from Goddard in the United States. He became Artistic Director/CEO of Contact in 2009, after several years of performing and leading workshops at the venue as a visiting artist. He has returned to New York to develop projects in theatre, music, and education.

Keur Gui (Senegal)

A first album censored in the time of the socialist regime in Senegal will not have had the upper hand over the kaolackois duo, appointed and recognized as being the most committed group of Senegal. Two albums and hundreds of concerts played to full houses, KEUR-GUI returns with “Our idiots Complaints”, a French pun of “Condolences” (Nos Connes Doléances). This was the outcome of 4 years of relentless and accurate work, a completed alchemy between an honorable and constructive contents and a colliding, educational and solid rap. The group seeks to deliver a brand of hip-hop that confronts elements of bad governance and corruption within Senegal. As a lot of artists, including those labelled under “hip-hop”, sell their services to the most generous politicians. KEUR-GUI pulverized sales in 2008 with a frank and outspoken album that spelt out the reasons responsible for the socio-political chaos which rages at the moment in Senegal, and that, without a fast awakening of the common people and the student youth, will end to finish the peace in West Africa.


Eprhyme (pronounced E-prime) is a Renaissance Rapper, representing a profound resurgence of depth and dope within an all too often formulaic, uninspired and commercialized art form. Through his collage-like and kaleidoscopic approach to Culture and Consciousness, Eprhyme is constantly and creatively crossing boundaries of substance, sound and style.

Whether rhyming about Current Events, Altered States of Consciousness, or Cutting-edge Kabbalistic Commentary, Eprhyme’s “rapid-fire word salads are a humanist vision of spirituality fused with social engagement.” (The Forward).

After spending nearly a decade in the trenches of D.I.Y. Heartland and Underground Mecca, Olympia, WA, where he independently released 4 ground-breaking albums with the ‘Saints of Everyday Failures’ while working tirelessly as an Artist, Educator, Promoter and Community Organizer, Eprhyme made the move to Brooklyn, NY where he now works and plays with some of the most exciting contemporary Jewish, World, Hip Hop, Jazz and Indie musicians.

In 2009, Eprhyme released his debut solo album ‘Waywordwonderwill’ on Brooklyn based Jewish and World music label Shemspeed. The album itself is an around the world audio tour of the Jewish Diaspora, as well as an in-depth exploration of Contemprary Jewish American experience and identity. Both fans and critics the world over were impressed and inspired by “Eprhyme’s witty wordplay and barrier-breaking idealism” as well as the “top-notch production by Smoke of Oldominion whose beats blend rubbery basslines with traditional Yiddish klezmer riffs and Middle Eastern chants.” (Wire Tap)

Dopestylevsky, Eprhyme’s sophomore solo album, is being released on the legendary Indie label K Records in April 2011. This will be the first Hip Hop album to come out on K Records in over a decade! And it picks up right where ‘Waywordwonderwill’ left off. Eprhyme’s signature blend of story­telling, social commentary, literary references and intricate wordplay are again paired up with an epic electronic orchestra conducted by Smoke of Oldominion and a host of live musicians. The result is an uncanny mix of live/acoustic instrumentation, heavily processed digital madness, and earth-bound­ cosmic lyricism that once again sharpens the cutting edge. This is bold new music that is both thought provoking and body rocking.

Eprhyme has performed in major clubs, colleges and conferences worldwide with Hip Hop legends like KRS-ONE, Funkmaster Flex, Immortal Technique, Brother Ali and countless others- not too mention the myriad basements, protests, simchas and house parties that he’s rocked. Eprhyme has also shared the stage with many award-winning Jewish artists such as Matisyahu, Frank London and Pharoah’s Daughter- to name a few.

And aside from all of his work as a solo artist, Eprhyme is also one-half of the Musical Midrash Project Darshan, which combines Hip Hop with Hebrew Chant, Folk-Rock with Electro-Pop and Love Poetry with Kabbalistic Psychology in a unique and organic weave of world wisdom traditions and modern musical styles.

As an MC, Poet, Author and Cultural Critic Eprhyme is a well-versed tour guide who owes as much to Rebbe Nachman and Robert Anton Wilson as he does to John Coltrane and KRS-ONE.

The lines have been blurred, genres forgotten, stereotypes seen through. The music speaks for itself. All you gotta do is listen.

Bideew Bou Bess (Senegal)

Composed of three brothers: Moctar, Beydi and Ibrahim – Bou Bess Bideew was born in 1994 in the suburbs of Dakar.

In 1996, after winning a contest organized by the Ministry of Education, these young artists were identified by the label Youssou Ndour (Jololi) who decided to produce the band’s first album in Senegal in 1999 (with Wyclef Jean’s participation on the track “Ndékété yo”). It is therefore no surprise that the album was a total success and exploded on record sales this year. Bideew Boubess revealed themselves to the Senegalese public before the first part of the Youssou Ndour world tour (Jokko Tour) in 2000.

2001 was the meeting with Passi who fell under the spell of these young prodigies. He invited the group to participate on two tracks (“Ex nihilo”, “Family and Friends”) on his album (“Genesis”) to be awarded a double gold disc in France. The group then signed with his label (ISSAP Production) who produced their first international album (“Original”) in 2003.

With these experiences, Bideew Bou Bess decided to create their own production. With this new structure, this young group of talent continues to lead confirmed his boat to the way of success.

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