We are thrilled that CROS1 will be judging the b-boy/b-girl battle on Friday April 9th!
CROS1, by all rights is a legend and an icon when it comes to Hip Hop event production and promotions producing world famous events such as Freestyle Session, an event that has traveled the world and back as well as developing the first National B-boy Championships which has toured the USA on several different occasions. You can always count on CROS1 as an event promoter to wow you and bring the Legendary talent as well as many future stars in his always sold out local shows in San Diego and beyond, but his reputation on a set of turntables has definitely been something thats been shocking crowds worldwide.
Collecting vinyl for over 20 years and has been on tour with the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris, LMFAO and more he has been rocking his versatile sets in some of the largest arenas in the Nation as well as some of the best of the underground bars and clubs. Cros1 is a formidable and versatile DJ, from rocking beats for dancers and club goers to rocking out crowds that most would find hard to please. He’s continually making his mark on the scene in a way that is hard to ignore, opening for acclaimed and established acts like Common, De la Soul, Talib Kweli Pharcyde and internationally recognized dj’s such as Dj’s Kool Herc(Father of Hip Hop), Pete Rock, The World Famous Beat Junkies, Neil Armstrong (Jay Z’s DJ) and others. Cros1 is also the owner of the Armory, a brand out of San Diego as well as a conglomerative of Artists worldwide also Vice President of the non profit UDEF which sponsors over 50 events across the nation progressing the bboy movement.
In a historically male dominated industry, female MC’s have had a tough go trying to find their place in the spotlight. Keysha, born and raised in Toronto, Canada, has been able to make not only a name for herself, but a statement as well.
Also known as Keysha Freshh, the talented hiphop artist and songwriter has been honing her mic skills in an attempt to make her mark in the music industry.Since age five when she penned her first song which was published in a local newspaper, Keysha has been singing at events across the Greater TorontoArea.She has performed the Canadian anthem at several community events and was a member of the popular Toronto Children’s choir (TC3).With the encouragement of Canadian hip-hop and R & B producer T-Minus, Keysha’s first full-length rap song, Pardon my Swag, was released on August 8, 2008 (ironically, 8 is Keysha’s favorite number).The following year, Keysha – who enjoys writing – penned several songs and in 2010, released her first single, Hollywood Fresh, which received significant airplay on commercial radio stations. A few months later, the video and remix for Hollywood Fresh was released, both of which featured a cameo & verse from popular American hip-hop artist MIMS. Another single, Make it Look Easy, featuring Bassline & JB (a project put together by P-Reign) was instantly picked up by commercial radio stations, making Keysha the youngest Canadian female artists to have three songs in 12 months on the airwaves.Inthe past two years, Keysha has collaborated with several top artists, including Doug E Fresh who is considered the pioneer of 20th century American beatboxing, Mims, P-Reign, Darryl Riley, The Rezza Brothers and Ray Robinson.
With two mix tapes, one Demo an EP and 2 front-page magazine covers, accumulated in just four years, Keysha is well on her way to stardom. She recently started an awareness outreach initiative – KeysFORAutism — which uses social media to raise awareness about kids living with autism and an online blog – SpottedFreshh — which is an urban site that showcases events, videos, music, albums and youth talent.
Chicago-born poet and emcee Michael (Mic) Crenshaw fell in love with music at a young age while living in Minneapolis. His teenage years were challenging as he actively confronted white supremacist gangs that were a growing part of the hard-core music scene. He eventually chose to escape the violence and moved to Portland, where he quickly became one of the most respected artists in the Northwest, and his community efforts have had both local and international impact.
In addition to his highly-acclaimed work in spoken work and Hip Hop, Mic co-founded GlobalFam, a non-profit (EducationWithOut Borders 501c3) project to create and maintain a computer center for disadvantaged youth in Burundi, Central Africa. Over 400 people have received free training, and it is now expanding, generating revenue and creating jobs. Mic also partnered with Education WithOut Borders (EWOB), which supports education, music and art initiatives in Portland and beyond and serves as an umbrella for the local Books For Prisoners chapter and GlobalFam itself. GlobalFam has blossomed into a music label, production, promotion, artist management, and education company providing mainstream entertainment that supports Social Justice Activism.
Mic has released numerous solo albums and been part of various Hip Hop projects. To his credit he has opened for Public Enemy, Immortal Technique, KRS-1, Mos Def and The Roots to name a few. Mic played the Bibo Festival in Halle Germany and the SWAG Jam in Berlin in 2015 and recently toured multiple cities including LA, (http://www.laweekly.com/slideshow/dead-prez-mic-crenshaw-echoplex-6476682) Oakland and Seattle 2016 with Dead Prez.
Mic is Currently the Lead U.S. Organizer for the Afrikan Hiphop Caravan and tours annually throughout Africa with African Hip Hop collectives.
Claudio Taylor Mckenzie was born in Port Limon on April 30, 1963. He began his studies in dance, theatre and community engagement in 1979 in the youth recreational center in Limon. In 1985, he joined the first dance company led by dancer Xiomara Jackson which incorporates Afro-Caribbean rhythms into its repertoire. This experience inspired Claudio to open in the first dance and theatre company in Cariari, Limon, in 1988.
Since 1990, he has worked as a dance professor at the Taller Nacional de Danza (The National Dance Company) teaching Afro-Caribbean dance. He has continuously and arduously worked at different institutions and artistic organizations throughout the country promoting Afro-Caribbean culture and heritage through dance and performance. He is a poet, dancer, community leader, researcher and cultural promoter always taking the diversity of Afro-Caribbean art styles and experiences to prestigious national and international events. Claudio has taken his vast artistic experience back to his home town of Port Limon to work with youth and utilize the power of dance as an agent of positive social change.
Practically raised on the docks of Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle, and the daughter of a Polish immigrant Laura McHenry is a Senior at Carroll College in Montana; otherwise known as Big Sky Country (after many misadventures).A longtime cello player and a sometime tango dancer has been active in student leadership at Carroll and has been a longtime lover of education, art and activism. Active in campus ministry, a mentor in the Intercultural Students organization, the environmental studies division, Philosophy Circle among others. Additionally her interfaith and intercultural background within her large extended family has remained her rock for walking a path of tolerance and understanding. Additionally she will be published in Decolonization: Indigenity, Education and Society online journal regarding the politics of water this fall and is on the Advisory Board at Reel Grrls: a media making nonprofit that empowers young women and gender non conforming youth from diverse communities to realize their power, talent, and influence through media production and whose mission lies in supporting young people to explore, critique and author media through a feminist lens. Her priority is to get her feet wet and stay open and hopes to keep it that way.
In the history of the Hip-Hop, few artists have had as great an impact on the development and progression of the art forms lyrical style as Rakim Allah. Universally referenced as one of the Masters of the Microphone and an influence and inspiration to his peers and followers alike, Rakim first exploded onto the scene with the release of iconic Eric B. is President in 1986 with long time collaborator Eric B. The single marked a turning point in the Rap world – raising the bar for future emcees and revolutionizing the way rhymes are delivered to this day. No serious discussion of the music’s greatest performers is held without a deferential accounting of his achievements, and no serious rap artist grips a microphone without channeling some of his legend.
Rakim’s intricately intellectual lyrics draw their force from his worldly experience, inner faith and progressive contemplation; his liquid and seemingly effortless delivery – often imitated but still unrivaled – from a fire fueled by a deep understanding of not just Hip-Hop, but also the Jazz and R&B influences that have surrounded his family since his youth. His recordings – including the all-time classics Paid In Full, Follow the Leader and The 18th Letter – have sold in the multi-millions worldwide. Billboard, Rolling Stone, MTV and a host of others consistently refer to Paid in Full as “the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time” – a claim that often repeated in audience polls. These Platinum albums line the walls of the Broadway, MCA and Universal labels and, with a Rakim appearance near guaranteeing an explosion of sales, he has been recruited to add his star talents to projects for Alicia Keys, Jody Watley, Damian Marley, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Mobb Deep, Lloyd Banks, Limp Bizkit, Gang Starr and Truth Hurts among many others.
Rakim’s uncanny innovation was the focal point of the critically acclaimed recreation of Bob Marley’s Concrete Jungle and has helped propel movie soundtracks such as Juice, Brown Sugar, the Rugrats, American Psycho and 8 Mile to Best Seller status. His role model status has led world famous brands such as Reebok, The Coca Cola Company, LVMH, Ecko and Sean Jean to choose him as spokesperson.
Now with twenty-five years at the top of Hip-Hop’s Greatest list, the Long Island, NY native not only continues to record for himself, but also works with young artists signed to his own record imprint, Ra Records. With recent tributes in 2012 such as being named the #1 Lyricist of All Time by The Source magazine, receiving the coveted BET Lifetime Achievement Award and being nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, two original music projects, his first feature film role and sold-out international tours keeping the world’s eye on the one many call The GOD EmCee, Rakim Allah continues to lead where others just follow.
It has been suggested that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, but where you’re at. Hip-Hop has proven that both locations matter equally. However, every once in a while you get an artist like Joyner Lucas that is more concerned about where they are going.
Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Lucas grew up in a biracial household, but he found the true color of life watching his father make music. “I developed a sense of feeling and healing from watching him,” he says of his father, who was a local soul music producer. “Eventually, I started bobbing my head and freestyling and he told me to start writing that stuff down.”
His talent developed quickly as he wrote his first song at age 9 and completed his first album just one year later. By the time he entered high school, education had already taken a backseat to his musical aspirations. After spending most of his time writing lyrics instead of essays, Lucas graduated and wasted no time dropping his 2011 debut Listen To Me under his former moniker Future Joyner. The project garnered positive feedback which motivated Lucas to chase his dream and catch a Greyhound bus to the big stage. The state of Montana. “I felt like I didn’t want any distractions,” says Lucas of the unusual move. “If I moved to Boston or New York, I would’ve just went back home if things got rough. I wanted to go somewhere far with no choice but to survive.”
Living in “Big Sky Country” did wonders for Lucas mentally, but musically, he’d have to move again to get on the map. In the midst of a name change and dropping another mixtape, 2013’s LFO’s (Low Frequency Oscillators) to high acclaim, Lucas still found his life operating at a low frequency and opted to relocate to Washington, D.C. where he would unite with his business manager and best friend Drew Gordon of A3G Management. Soon after, Lucas returned to the New England area to perform in front of a captivated audience in Providence, RI. It was there that he was approached by a team of investors with an opportunity to co-own and record for his own record label. The agreement led to the founding of Dead Silence Records.
Since the label’s inception Lucas has turned heads with his unique blend of honest lyricism, wit and comedy over production flaunting his many influences ranging from R&B to rock. Songs like “Half N****r” showcase him rapping from the perspective of a mixed-race child living on both sides of the fence, while “Rock Bottom” has him offering real life accounts that are rarely heard in today’s rap landscape. His signature track “Back Words,” featured on 2DopeBoyz.com in December 2014, has him rhyming words in reverse, while his latest single “Riding Solo” featuring Busy Signal has him being straight-forward about his life’s journey so far. “My music is purity,” says Lucas. “I try to have a bit of everything. I can’t please everybody, but I try to with my music. I am a musical guy, so I couldn’t pigeon hole myself even if I tried.”
Lucas’ latest offering Along Came Joyner proves this. The conceptual album revolves around a story about a man from another planet who gets kicked out of home by his mother, lands on earth and begins a quest to find his human father. A story that isn’t too far off from Lucas’ real-life experiences.”
I never quite knew where I could fit in at, or my place in the world,” says the well-traveled MC with an obsession with extra-terrestrial phenomenon. “So I put that into who I am as an artist. I don’t feel like I’m really from here, so I wanted to express that.”
In late 2015, Lucas was handpicked to be featured in one of the BET Hip-Hop Awards’ coveted upcoming rap cyphers, positioning the emcee to receive national attention and millions of household viewers across the U.S. Having wowed audiences at SXSW, A3C and gracing stages everywhere from Memphis to New York City, Lucas is making his time on this planet count. It’s only a matter of time before the entire universe becomes his platform.
Poetic Pilgrimage is a female Hip Hop and Spoken Word duo who express the world as they see it through the art of rhyme. They are a rare act, being one of the few Muslim female outfits around and they bring a refreshing perspective to issues of identity, global politics and women’s issues inspired by their faith and legacy of their ancestors.
Born in Bristol to Jamaican parents they have been performing together as Poetic Pilgrimage for over 10 years creating music that fuses their love of Hip Hop with their Caribbean roots intertwined with their love of Jazz, World Music, Electro Soul and more, providing a colorful landscape to their words. They are also profound Spoken Word artists so at times they require no backdrop at all to share their powerful messages of peace, unity and freedom. The world has much to learn from the lyrics of these two women.
Poetic Pilgrimage have performed across the UK, US and Europe as well as South Africa and Morocco. They have shared stages with Talib Kweli, K’naan, Brother Ali, Bahamadia, Mutabaruka, and more. Poetic Pilgrimage are also workshop facilitators and value the ability to teach Poetry and Hip Hop to a younger generation with the aim of being able to enable them change their realities.
Prop Dylan has held the position as ambassador for Swedish Boom Bap since the solo debut in 2007. With over 600 live shows throughout Europe, Central America and the Middle East he has made his presence known in the world wide hip hop community.
Born and raised in the small industrial town of Borlänge he applied the hard working mentality to the music instead of going to the local steel mill. Without knowing anything about the music industry he focused on his craft to be one of the best in his region but has reached the top shelf as one of Europe’s best rappers.
Prop focused on the European market instead of the Swedish after noticing how the geographic’s mattered more than the actual music. A wise move since the European scene is a meeting point for international acts. After touring in Europe for several years with the likes of Talib Kweli, J-Live, MOP to name a few Prop had built a reputation for himself. In 2010 Prop and DJ Premier collaborated on what would become the first single from Prop’s third album. Prop flew over to NYC in December 2010 and recorded the song Shock & Amaze in Headquarterz Studios.
In 2013 Prop released his third solo album titled ”The Cardinal Sin”. The album was produced by his long time partner Logophobia and DJ Premier. Side artists as Talib Kweli, Sabina Ddumba and Dilated Peoples very own Evidence and Rakaa added icing to the album.
Prop Dylan is often described as an artist with a natural flow and skill for meaningful lyrics over soulful boom bap productions often produced by Logophobia.
To this day, Prop has managed to release 3 full length albums as an independent artist. Prop and Logophobia is now working on his fourth album which is estimated to be released in May 2016.
Since receiving a Grammy nomination for her vocal contribution to The Roots hit “Don’t Feel Right” in 2007, the singer, emcee, and songwriter Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh has been making waves in the Indie music scene as a solo artist and is only just beginning. Maimouna has shared stages with music giants such as Nas, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Bobby Mcferrin, Sting, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, D’angelo, Maxwell, Aloe Blacc, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Dead Prez, Angelique Kidjo, Lalah Hathaway, Will Downing, Femi Kuti, Cody ChestnuTT, and more.
Mumu Fresh has traveled world wide as a supporting vocalist for legends such as Congolese Vocal Acapella group Zap Mama, Late night Jimmy Fallon’s band, The Roots and is currently on tour with Grammy & Oscar award winner, Common. Maimouna has rocked the stages of many renowned venues such as Denver Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, New York City’s Legendary Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, The Kennedy Center, & Carter Barron Amphitheater, in Washington DC as well as national and international festivals and venues such as Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, South Africa’s Cape Town Jazz Festival, the legendary New Africa Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, Art of Cool Festival in Durham NC, The Capital Jazz Cruise, The Grammys Festival At Sea, and Beverly Bond’s Black Girls Rock!
As a youth, the Baltimore native made a name for herself locally when her jazz/hip-hop/funk/ band known as Cirius B released their first album “Subversive Activity” in 2004. That album caught the attention of Grammy Award Winning producer, James Poyser, of The Soul Aquarians. Shortly after signing with with Sony Music, Maimouna earned her stripes as a world-class vocalist and emcee while touring with The Legendary Roots crew. Her musical endeavors were a springboard for her big screen debut in Dave Chapelle’s hip hop documentary “Block Party.”
She released her first Solo EP, ‘Black Magic Woman,’ independently in March of 2011, and her highly anticipated and widely praised first full length solo album, ‘The Blooming,’ in September of the same year. Maimouna’s 2014 project, “The Reintroduction of Mumu Fresh,” showcased her sharp rhyming skills as an emcee and her strong commitment to providing a balanced perspective on current social, racial, political, gender and class issues.
Youssef’s unparalleled songwriting skills make her a force to be reckoned with. She’s written songs for Walt Disney High School Musical’s own Vanessa Hudgins among others. Youssef’s 2011 original release, “I got a man” produced by Dj Jazzy Jeff, was selected by BET as the theme song for their original movie “Being Mary Jane” Starring Gabrielle Union.
Youssef is not just your typical stage performer. She facilitates workshops for youth on varying topics ranging from social justice through art, innovative education, vocal technique, ear training and songwriting to find one’s own unique sound. In November 2011, Maimouna was awarded the title of “Artist of The Year”, by the Washington DC based non-profit organization One Common Unity for her dedication and commitment to empowering underserved youth.
Maimouna’s live performance takes you on a thrill ride through her many musical influences, spanning the far reaches of rock, jazz, vintage soul, R&B, and rugged hip hop. Whether accompanied by acapella vocals only or her three-to-eleven-piece band, her magnetic charm, electrifying stage presence, and uniquely timeless vocal styling, proves that she has the staying power of a born-star and is guaranteed to convert any non-believer.