Performers 2015

DJ Kool Herc

Kool Herc (Clive Cambell, born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1955) emigrated to the Bronx in 1967 when he was 12 years old. While attending Alfred E. Smith High School he spent a lot of time in the weight room. That fact coupled with his height spurned the other kids to call him Hercules.

His first deejay gig was as his sister’s birthday party. It was the start of an industry.

1520 Sedgwick Avenue. The address of Herc’s family and the location of the recreation room where he would throw many of his first parties as the DJ.

Herc became aware that although he knew which records would keep the crowd moving, he was more interested in the break section of the song. At this point in a song, the vocals would stop and the beat would just ride for short period. His desire to capture this moment for a longer period of time would be a very important one for hip hop.

Herc would purchase two copies of the same record and play them on separate turntables next to each other. He would play the break beat on one record then throw it over to the other turntable and play the same part. Doing this over and over, he could rock any house in NY. (Not to mention it being an early form of looping that would be made easier through electronic sampling.)

He would dig in crates and look everywhere to find the perfect break beat for his parties. He didn’t care what type of music, because he only needed a small section of a song for his purposes.

His first professional DJ job was at the Twilight Zone in 1973. He wanted to get into another place called the Hevalo, but wasn’t allowed…yet.

His fame grew. In addition to his break beats, Herc also became known as the man with the loudest system around. When he decided to hold a party in one of the parks, it was a crazy event. And a loud one. At this time Afrika Bambaataa and other competing DJ’s began trying to take Herc’s crown. Jazzy Jay of the Zulu Nation recalls one momentous meeting between Herc and Bam.

Herc was late setting up and Bam continued to play longer than he should have. Once Herc was set up he got on the microphone and said “Bambaataa, could you please turn your system down?” Bam’s crew was pumped and told Bam not to do it. So Herc said louder, “Yo, Bambaataa, turn your system down-down-down.” Bam’s crew started cursing Herc until Herc put the full weight of his system up and said, “Bambaataa-baataa -baataa, TURN YOUR SYSTEM DOWN!” And you couldn’t even hear Bam’s set at all. The Zulu crew tried to turn up the juice but it was no use. Everybody just looked at them like, “You should’ve listened to Kool Herc.”

Finally his fame peaked and at last, in 1975, he began working at the Hevalo in the Bronx. He helped coin the phrase b-boy (break boy) and was recently quoted as saying he was “the oldest living b-boy.”
(from oldschoolhiphop.com)

 

www.djkoolherc.com

Oddisee (Sudan/USA)

The official ITUNES Music Award winner 2012 Oddisee, the son of Sudanese and American parents, Amir Mohamed, was born and raised in the United States capital city of Washington DC, spending hot summers in Khartoum learning Arabic and swimming in the Nile. Growing up amidst the sounds of New York hip hop, his father playing Oud, Go-Go, and gospel, Amir took his first steps as an MC producer in the analog basement studio of his legendary neighbor, Garry Shider (Parliament Funkadelic).

Though Oddisee has gone on to perform with The Roots, produce for Freeway, Jazzy Jeff, Little Brother, De La Soul & Nikki Jean, and has MC’d on production from Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke and Kev Brown, his proudest moment was the birth of his critically acclaimed group The Diamond District with fellow Washingtonians X.O. and yU.

Oddisee’s debut album “People Hear What They See” (released 12 June 2012) is a culmination of the duality of his life experiences, from DC internal politics to third world struggles, the line between love and selfishness, and the personal conflict between self-sabotage and progress, set to a backdrop of intricate drums, lush instrumentation, and soul-stirring harmonies.

‘The Good Fight’

Oddisee makes music that rattles in your bone marrow. It’s imbued with love, honesty, and selflessness. It’s virtuosic in its musicality, direct in its language, and infinitely relatable.

In a landscape overrun with abstract indulgence and shallow trend-chasers, the Prince George’s County, Maryland artist has created ‘The Good Fight’, a record that reminds you that it’s music before it’s hip-hop. Released on Mello Music Group, it’s for the fans and for himself. It finds the musical heavyweight balancing between craft, career, and successfully growing into the world around him.

For Oddisee, ‘The Good Fight’ is about living fully as a musician without succumbing to the traps of hedonism, avarice, and materialism. It’s about not selling out and shilling for a paycheck, while still being aware that this is a business requiring compromise and collaboration.

It’s music that yields an intangible feeling: the sacral sound of an organ whine, brass horns, or a cymbal crash. It’s not necessarily the syllables, but rather what they evoke. A song like “That’s Love” is more than a declaration; it’s a meditation on our capacity to love and the bonds binding us together. Ambition and greed war with our sense of propriety. “Contradiction’s Maze” offers a list of paradoxes we all face (“I want to tell the truth when it hurts/but when it comes to me, I want the blow softened.”)

Oddisee’s production simmers in its own orchestral gumbo. You sense he’s really a jazzman in different form, inhabiting the spirit of Roy Ayers and other past greats. The Fader’s compared him to a musical MC Escher, calling hailing his “grandiose and symphonic sound” and “relevant relatable messages.” Pitchfork praised his “eclectic soulful boom-bap.”

‘The Good Fight’ acknowledges the stacked odds, but refuses to submit.

It’s both universal and personal. The child of a Sudanese immigrant highlights the rigors of his own upbringing: his pregnant mother working the register until she was about to burst, his pops’ shuttered diner that couldn’t survive Reaganomics—the one that Oddisee drives past every time he returns home, just to remind him how quickly the world can turn bad.

It’s these minor details that add into something major. It’s testament to the indelible nature of art: when you can turn what you love into something that lasts.

Oddisee’s new album, The Good Fight, will be available May 5th.

Oddisee The Good Fight Cover Art 600x

www.twitter.com/oddisee
www.facebook.com/oddiseemusic
www.sonicbids.com/oddiseemusic
www.oddiseemusic.com

 

Nomadic Massive (Canada / Algeria / Brazil / Haiti / France / Chile)

Montreal’s own Nomadic Massive has firmly established itself as a group of premier performers and skilled musicians in a genre that has evolved from its early days of two turntables and a microphone. These musical nomads represent an open-minded Hip-Hop which finds its inspiration in the traditions of the past; combining live instrumentation, samples, and a wide array of vocal styles.

This multilingual, multicultural, super-group has become synonymous with energetic and crowd-moving live shows. Sharing the stage with such notable acts as Ariane Moffatt (2010) « An chante pou Ayiti », Wyclef Jean (2008), K’naan (2005), and Guru’s Jazzmatazz (2008); Nomadic has also performed at world class festivals including the Montreal International Jazz Festival (2007), and in Toronto at Yonge-Dundas Square’s Global Rhythms Festival (2008), and the Harbourfront Global Hip-Hop Festival (2006, 2007).

The group has also left its mark internationally; initiating socio-cultural exchanges with like-minded artists from Sao Paolo, Brazil (2008) and in Havana, Cuba (2004, 2006). In both countries, these initiatives involved educational and musical workshops, concerts and studio collaborations. From these enriching exchanges, the grassroots “Get Down” mix-tape series came to life; showcasing the collaborations as well as solo contributions from Brazilian and Cuban artists. Functioning somewhat as ambassadors, Nomadic continues to redefine what Hip-Hop can achieve on a global level.

With the first critically acclaimed EP, Nomads Land (2004), more than 3000 copies were sold independently on the strength of the group’s performances before inking a distribution deal with Montreal-Toronto based Public Transit Recordings.

As the group’s ongoing explorations open up new ways to interpret a musical style that has traditionally been marginalized, the “more” that has always existed in the Hip-Hop movement is revealed in everything that is Nomadic Massive.

www.nomadicmassive.com

Omar Offendum (Syria/USA)

Omar Offendum is a Syrian-American Hip-Hop artist – born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC and living in Los Angeles. He has been featured on several major news outlets (Aljazeera/ PBS / LA Times / Rolling Stone / VICE / NY Times / The European), toured the world to promote his ground-breaking music, helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for various humanitarian relief organizations, lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions, and most recently been involved in creating several critically-acclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East & North Africa. He is currently hard at work on several new projects while touring to promote his solo release ‘SyrianamericanA‘.

www.offendum.com
www.twitter.com/offendum

 

Rebel Diaz (Chile/USA)

Fronted by MC’s Rodstarz, and MC/Producer G1, Rebel Diaz shows us the true global power of Hip-Hop. After first performing at an immigrant rights march in New York City in 2006 in front of a half million people, the bilingual crew has taken the international community by storm with their explosive live shows. With influences ranging from Chicago house to South American folk, Rebel Diaz combines classic boom bap tradition with Hip-Hop’s global impact. The group’s versatility has allowed for them to share the stage with the likes of Common, Mos Def, and Public Enemy, while feeling right at home with acts like Rage Against the Machine and Calle 13. Multiple tours throughout Europe and Latin America have only solidified their international appeal.

With roots in Chicago, and now based in the South Bronx, NY, Rebel Diaz has also piqued the interest of the academic community with their poignant social commentary and energetic performances. They have spent the last 8 years visiting dozens of colleges and universities, facilitating workshops, speaking on panels, and performing at national conferences.

Building on this growing network of positive young people in Hip-Hop, the group opened a community arts center in the South Bronx in 2008, the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX). On the heals of their critically acclaimed Otro Guerrillero mixtape series, and 2011′s #Occupy The Airwaves mixtape, Rebel Diaz released their debut album, The Radical Dilemma, on December 4, 2013.

http://rebeldiaz.blogspot.com

Zero Plastica (Italy)

Zero Plastica has a long history of rapping about political and social issues – they tackle the relationship between the mafia and the government, corruption and the Vatican, the thousands of African immigrants dying in the Mediterranean sea while trying to reach Italian coasts, and everyday struggles from workers rights to unemployment. The Genoese group has the courage to talk about all the subjects commonly ignored by Italian national media. In July 2011 they released “Ge8” a single commemorating the 10th anniversary of the bloody G8 summit that took place in Genoa, Italy. It got much critical claim, even though the group was rapping about the city’s wounds and the government’s inability to provide justice for those wrongfully arrested and tortured by the policy. Through their courage and conviction, Zero Plastica has been noticed by MTV, who interviewed members of the group in July of 2011 for a documentary that is to be aired on Italian television. They have also received attention from other news sources like the BBC, as well as Berklee University, who invited the group to guest speak about rap and freedom of speech in Italy. Zero Plastica is composed of Dj, Mc and Producer Nio, Funky Lure, and Tunisian rapper G.O. Man. They have opened for world-renowned artists such as Shaggy, George Clinton & Funkadelic, Alborosie, David Rodigan among others.

www.zeroplastica.com

 

Bocafloja (Mexico/USA)

Poet, Rap artist, scholar, cultural ambassador, and founder of the Quilomboarte collective.

In addition to five professionally edited music albums being “Patologías del Invisible Incómodo” his most awarded musical project, and having toured internationally throughout 15 countries, Bocafloja has transgressed into one of the most revered icons in the Spanish speaking Hip Hop communities.

In 2008 published his first book ImaRginación. Prognosis is his second literary project. Race relations, decolonial narrative, and the African diaspora in Latin America studies are fundamental topics addressed in his body of work.

Bocafloja is recognized in Mexico as one of the first Hip Hop artists that effectively utilize cultural production as an alternative tool to stimulate critical thinking, developing a divergent form of political participation coherent with the marginalized youth experience.

Bocafloja has performed in festivals, clubs, and cultural centers in more than 15 countries worldwide and has shared the stage with some of the most important and influential artists in the international Hip Hop scene.

Bocafloja lives and works in New York City.

www.emancipassion.com

 

Chachi and the International Players (Cape Verde/USA)

Charles “Chachi” Carvalho is a multi-talented performing artist, emcee, poet, and songwriter. He is a first generation Cape Verdean/American born and raised in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He comes from a long line of musicians and singers. Chachi is a dedicated father, recording artist, teacher, writer, and entrepreneur. He is founder and co-owner of Beat Box Studio located in his hometown Pawtucket, RI. Chachi is consistently recreating himself as a man and as an artist. His brain is an engine for creative thought and inspiring ideas. It is evident in his songwriting and clearly displayed on his critically acclaimed release “In Dust Real Evolution”.  Audiences all over the world have embraced his latest album release, “Cape Verdean In America”.   This album is a unique blend of hip-hop, Afro house, r&b, zouk, and world music.  He truly stepped out of his comfort zone and created something original to add to his already impressive catalogue.  He is currently adding the finishing touches to his latest project entitled “Rapfrohouse”, a high-energy fusion album.  Chachi is a humble man who is proud of his accomplishments. He would rather count his blessings than count his problems. Be on the lookout for future projects from Chachi Carvalho.  Both of his previous album releases can be found online (available on iTunes and cdbaby.com).  Chachi and the International Players bring energy and positive vibes to every stage they perform on.  This collective is defying the odds by playing music that is defying genres.  We hope the world has an opportunity to listen and watch the growth of the International Players.

https://soundcloud.com/chachihiphop
www.twitter.com/chachihiphop

The Reminders (Belgium/Congo/USA)

The Reminders are a rare and remarkable musical duo seamlessly blending soulful sounds and roots music with insightful messages and thoughtful lyrics. The group consists of Brussels-born emcee Big Samir and Queens-born emcee/vocalist Aja Black, a collective creative force that’s hard to beat. Big Samir weaves intricate rhythmic patterns with a bilingual French/English flow, displaying his street-smart credibility in both his lyrics and cool demeanor. This is beautifully complimented by Aja Black’s confident delivery, diverse cadences, and unique vocal stylings. The two have an undeniable magical chemistry as they share more than lyrical abilities and stages; the couple shares a partnership in both music and life as Samir and Aja have been married for a decade.

Releasing their debut album ‘Recollect’ in 2008 and their latest “Born Champions” in 2012, the Reminders have been recognized and applauded for their work internationally through concerts, tours, music awards, TV and radio appearances, and their incredible and dedicated fan base. Having shared the stage with artists such as Les Nubians, Snoop Dogg, Fishbone, Barrington Levy, Nas, Mos Def, Big Boi, KRS-One, Rakim, K’Naan, and others, the Reminders have established a firm place in today’s ever-evolving music scene, garnering international acclaim while paving a path all their own. Beyond performances and appearances, the duo is constantly and actively engaged with community organizations, schools, and universities delivering workshops, talks, and specially catered performances.

More than a shade of the same color that we see time and time again, The Reminders transcend the bounds of what is expected. Their stage presence and high energy shows leave crowds in awe the world over, allowing the duo to uplift and entertain all at once. Their unique mashup of razor sharp rhymes; raw, soulful vocals; and reggae-tinged hip hop beats form the perfect backdrop for their relevant and inspiring themes, leaving a lasting impression on listeners with audiences always wanting more. The Reminders take their hip hop foundation and move it beyond genre, time, and space to create a global musical experience that is classic and speaks to all those willing to participate.

www.theremindersmusic.com

Sa-Roc (Atlanta)

Sa-roc the MC hails from the southeastern area of Washington DC, a city that’s a mash up of poverty stricken hoods, a strong radical movement, and a fierce loyalty to cultural preservation. This is the cocoon from which Saroc was birthed and bred. A product of African-centered parents, Sa-roc developed a rebel mentality from an early age. She grew up on the music of Jimi Hendrix, Gil Scott Heron, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Hence the soundtrack to her life is a clash of sounds ranging from GoGo, Rock to Hip-Hop. This foundation began an aural quest for different sounds and concepts in music. It wasn’t until 2002, when Sa-roc met Atlanta producer Sol Messiah, that she began her love affair with the mic. Armed with the lessons and musical genius of Sol Messiah, she developed a sound that is one part hood poetry, one part Hip Hop and one part Trip Hop that create a visual, melodic and rhythmic assault that fuels the mental and induces a fresh perspective of a ground breaking musical art form . From subject matter ranging from melanin to pyramids, Sa-roc spits metaphysical ideas over Hip-Hop beats, seeking to fuse knowledge of self with great music. She seeks to create not just a couple of albums, but a full-fledged musical movement. A cultural grist, Sa-roc is a reinstatement of the art of emceeing to its former glory, passing up the legacy 1 sixteen at a time.

www.sarocthemc.com

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