Joey Batts & Them (Hartford)

Joey Batts & Them are a five-piece alternative hip-hop band based out of Connecticut. The band, comprised of Joey on vocals, Tony Volpe on guitar, John Dotson on bass, Marty Wirt on keys and Mike “Beatwiz” Spellman on drums and percussion, is taking the live hip hop scene by storm, Joey Batts never takes no for an answer – you either love his sound right away, or his voice kidnaps you until you change your mind. A lyrical genius and an amazing front man with impeccable crowd control, rolled into, one Joey Batts has proven to be an asset to CT’s growing underground hip-hop culture.


Jam No Peanut (DC)

Jamel “Jam No Peanut” Mims is a multimedia artist, rapper, and revolutionary on the front lines of resistance against mass incarceration. A Washington DC native and seasoned activist who’s faced jail time with the likes of Cornel West, Jam No Peanut is out to change the world with art and action.

Sonically, Jam No Peanut takes the sinister undertones of trap genre and injects it with rapid-fire revolutionary lyrics, painting a picture of a apocalyptic society with no future for its youth- where “these days Harlem looks a whole lot more like Warsaw.” Mims, a Fulbright Scholar who is fluent in Mandarin, switches between English and Chinese in politically charged verses over hard-hitting beats.

“I strive unite with the raw despair in trap music – and use it to bring out the source of this madness – this system- and to inspire and challenge others to fight against it, and transform themselves in the process.”

Expect a dynamic, high energy set – something to make you turn up while you put your fist up – both ratchet and revolutionary. |  @jamnopeanut

Ben Herson

Ben Herson is an internationally celebrated social entrepreneur, educator, media producer and published author. Herson is an experienced educator with ten years of classroom experience in New York City public and private schools and lectures regularly at institutions of higher learning (Harvard, MIT, NYU, Columbia and UCLA among others) and media conferences (SXSW, CMJ, Womex). Herson has screened his award winning films at film festivals and theaters internationally. Herson has been interviewed and featured on NPR, BBC, Billboard Magazine and the New York Times. He is also a consultant and media producer for clients that include MTV, USAID, US Department of State and the Institute for Private Investors.

Farbeon (NYC)

Fabian “FARBEON” Saucedo epitomizes the Hip Hop Renaissance. As a poet, emcee, singer, photographer and educator, he has graced stages, panels and classrooms across the United States and abroad, from the streets of Spanish Harlem to the halls of Georgetown University to the former USSR air-force hangers of Hip-Hop KEMP in the Czech Republic. In addition to rocking shows with The Last Poets, Rob Swift, Fishbone, The Coup, Wordsworth, Rhymefest, The Visionaries, J-Live, Method Man, Camp-Lo, Blu, Aloe Blacc & DJ Exile, he has co-taught classes with Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, Sadat X and Fab Five Freddy.

With over a decade-plus in education, he works to develop pedagogy that moves beyond high-stakes testing and bridges the gap between the arts, academics and social youth development. He has taught Poetry, Performance, Song-Writing, Photography & Hip-Hop History and Culture at high schools, universities and community centers throughout the United States and abroad. FARBEON is the Founding Director for The Hip Hop Re:Education Project and NYC Project Director for the BronxBerlinConnection, a year-round cross cultural exchange program that uses Hip Hop to explore and express the unique experiences of urban youth around the world, the critical challenges they face and the solutions necessary to enact change in their communities. In March of 2012, he was recognized as NY1 New Yorker of the Week for his work with both organizations.

FARBEON is the co-founder of Say Word Entertainment, a collective of socially-conscious and like-minded artists, musicians, and promoters, who work to maintain and support the development of genuine hip-hop culture, community, and activism in NYC and abroad. FARBEON has released 5 records, including his debut album, “Collective Memory” which was produced by Foundation (Universatile Music) and which remains a classic nearly 13 years after its release. As well, FARBEON has expanded his performance range to include the use of loop stations, effects pedals and live computer production. His music has been featured in television and film. He has consistently toured nationally and internationally since 2008.

FARBEON dedicates his time behind the camera lens to documenting Hip Hop’s revolutionary urgency and transformational potential. He has had the honor of documenting Hip Hop pioneers, practitioners and fans at concerts, exhibitions, workshops and cipher-jam sessions the world-over. FARBEON has exhibited work in NYC at La Galleria at La MaMa, B.O.B. Bar and most recently alongside pioneering Hip Hop photographer Joe Conzo at the Bronx Music Heritage center. Farbeon’s photos and writing are featured in the House of World Cultures (Berlin, DE) publication Translating Hip Hop. For more information on Farbeon, please check out: For more information on the Hip Hop Re:Education Project, please check out:

Mikal Lee (aka Hired Gun)

Hired Gun is a Jersey born emcee representing the borough of Brooklyn since 2000. An educator, writer, emcee and event organizer, Hired Gun is a man who wears many hats within this hip hop culture. He is a member of the ESP massif since 1996, a co-founder of Say Word Entertainment and one third of the group 3rd Party and is a after school mentor/teaching artist for various NYC arts-in-education organizations.


Nelson “Chief69” Seda is a Brooklyn born Nuyorican – Bronx based Bboy/Emcee/ Graffiti writer and Community Organizer at the age of only 23 he has been involved in the local HIP HOP scene in all of its forms and the community for what is going on 5 years.

Minister Server (Atlanta)

David “Minister Server” Tavares-The Hip Hop Life Coach, has been called, “a dynamic Hip Hop Leader with the spiritual conviction of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the motivational skills of Les Brown and the coaching style of Phil Jackson!” A true Hiphoppa, he has spent over 25 years dedicated to the development, growth and preservation of Hiphop culture.

Since 1992 Minister Server has worked with Nation Time Syndicate, Inc.; a faith-based Hip Hop collective in Atlanta, GA, where he has utilized his skills as a writer, activist, organizer, promoter, speaker, historian, photographer, consultant and Executive Director. He is also the former producer and co-host of two radio shows on WRFG 89.3FM in Atlanta, GA; “The Conscious Zone”, which specialized in progressive Hip Hop music with uplifting messages and “Tu Wa Moja”, a Hiphop spiritual talk show where people had the opportunity to call in for his on-air opinion, advice and guidance on various spiritual, cultural, educational and political topics.

After being ordained as a Reverend in 2003 through the Barbara King School of Ministry in Atlanta, Georgia, the Teacha-KRS-ONE, named Minister Server as one of his spiritual advisors and appointed him as Minister and National Organizer with the Temple of Hiphop. During that time, Minister Server toured throughout the country several times with KRS-One and the Temple of Hiphop lecturing, Emceein, Deejayin, organizing and counseling diverse audiences from the clubs to the colleges inspiring people from Coast to Coast to fulfill their divine purpose!

In 2004, Minister Server displayed his spiritual, poetic and lyrical skills to the world when he rocked on five songs on the “classic” KRS-ONE “Keep Right” CD. Known for giving positive, inspirational and practical spiritual advice for a variety of Hip Hop artists, individuals and organizations, Minister Server is truly earning the respect of the international Hip Hop Nation as the “Minister of Hip Hop culture”! KRS-One states, “I searched for 10 years trying to find someone that could assist me in continuing the work of the spiritual development of the Hip Hop Nation; Minister Server is like our Melchiezedek!”

In 2005, Minister SERVER returned to Atlanta, GA to continue his mission and was inspired to become the Founder and Spiritual Director of HIPHOP Ministries, Inc., a multi-faith, multi-cultural, multi-racial ministry that teaches the ancient metaphysical Truth principles of Jesus the Christ, the Holy Bible and other ancient wisdom as a methods to enlighten, inspire and empower people to live their divine purpose through Hip Hop culture! The Hip Hop community is anticipating the release of his first published book “Food For The Spirit: Life, Lessons & Suggestions”, which details practical metaphysical lessons, personal testimonies and suggestions for Hip Hop self-empowerment.

Born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Minister Server is the living embodiment of his personal life philosophy; “Time + Effort = Success”, which has allowed him to follow his destiny, overcome obstacles and achieve “victory over the streets”! Minister Server currently resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and children.

Talib Kweli

The Brooklyn-based rapper earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. His travels around the globe as one of rap’s most in-demand performers combined with his conversations with political activists and his genre-straddling work with Idle Warship and others caused Kweli to realize that he was limited in a sense, a prisoner of sorts of his own success as one of the world’s best rappers with something significant to say.

“My music has been associated with those types of causes, with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such,” he says. “I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don’t necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do. I tried to stretch my wings a little bit and bring something that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing in the world in general.”

The result of this artistic growth and exploration arrives with Kweli’s dynamic Prisoner Of Conscious AKA P.O.C., an artistic tour de force that signals the start of the next chapter of Kweli’s remarkable career. The BK MC spent more time working on Prisoner Of Conscious than any of his other albums, a three-year journey that found him exploring new vibes, joining in some unlikely collaborations and taking him to foreign lands.

Produced by Symbolyc One (Kanye West, Ghostface), the title track’s alternatively rap and rock-based beat provides a distinctive platform for Kweli to deliver rhymes that detail his artistic awakening, while producers Sean C & LV (Jay-Z, Raekwon) created a Marvin Gaye-esque vibe for “Come,” a cut featuring Miguel that showcases Kweli trying to convince a series of women to do things his way.

Then there’s the dramatic, piano-driven “Before He Walked,” which showcases passionate vocals from singer Abby Dobson and includes a verse from possibly the most noteworthy guest on Prisoner Of Conscious: Nelly. Both Kweli and The St. Louis rapper recount the importance music has had in their lives on the stirring song, which was an outgrowth of conversations about music and life Kweli and Nelly had at Kweli’s Los Angeles residence.

“Nelly is somebody I’ve known and have been friendly with throughout the years in this business,” Kweli says. “Nelly has always been an example for me because a rising tide raises all boats. Nelly is an artist who is polarizing at times because of the ‘Tip Drill’ video to the boycotts he’s endured at colleges, but I know him as a person, and he’s a great person.”

Elsewhere, the driving “Ready Set Go” with singer Melanie Fiona features Kweli’s ever-impressive clever verbal gymnastics, which are also on display on the stark Busta Rhymes-guested and RZA-produced “Rocketships.”

Kweli shifts gears on “Favela Love.” Inspired by and created during a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, the breezy song features crooning from Brazilian singer and actor Seu George (City Of God, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). Kweli and George met in the studio, leading Kweli to deviate from his original concept for the song.

“The song went from being about a woman to be being about Brazil, about the favela, about loving to come there,” he reveals. “The woman is really a metaphor for the place. That’s why it’s called ‘Favela Love.’ When I was telling Seu George about that, he started singing about how much he loves Brazil and where Brazil fits in the world.”

After nearly 20 years of releasing mesmerizing music, Talib Kweli stands as one of the world’s most talented and most accomplished rappers.

Whether working with Mos Def as one-half of Black Star, partnering with producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, releasing landmark solo material or collaborating with Kanye West or Madlib, Kweli commands attention by delivering top-tier lyricism, crafting captivating stories and showing the ability to rhyme over virtually any type of beat.

In particular, Kweli showed his artistic reach in Idle Warship. Teaming with longtime collaborator and acclaimed singer Res, Kweli began getting out of his sonic and creative comfort zone on the group’s 2009 mixtape Party Robot and its debut album, 2011’s Habits Of The Heart.

Idle Warship’s music challenged Kweli and led him to a new artistic space. “I like the position I’m in,” he says. “I feel like I’m a connector, a leader. I feel like I’ve led by example and I want to continue to do that. I like the fact that I’m in a position where cats who are coming out and making music that I enjoy are interested in my music and are interested in my influence. It’s a great feeling.”

Kweli also has the high-powered Attack The Block mixtape with DJ Z-Trip set to arrive and will be focusing on making his Javotti Media (which released his 2011 album, Gutter Rainbows, and is named after his paternal grandmother) into a media powerhouse that releases music, films and books.

But for now, Prisoner Of Conscious arrives as an artistic triumph, a collection that embodies Talib Kweli’s robust creative vision. “I wanted to put out an album that really can support the artist that I’ve become,” he says. “I’m a touring artist. I’m an artist that’s internationally known. I’m not just a local artist at this point in my career. I’m cognizant of the fact that what I do is beyond where it started. I’m trying to reach the apex of where I am now, but without turning my back on or dismissing what I’ve done before.”

Black Noise (South Africa)

Hailing from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa, Black Noise is a pioneering crew of Cape Town’s ‘conscious’ hip-hop scene from the late 80s and early 90s. Emile YX? (aka Emile Jansen) has been the crew’s mainstay for over 25 years. Black Noise is South Africa’s oldest active hip-hop crew and Jansen has been instrumental in employing Black Noise for youth development initiatives, such as workshops for township youth. He went on to establish a non-profit organisation called Heal the Hood and launched landmark hip-hop events; these include the annual Hip-Hop Indaba, African Battle Cry and Shut Up and Dance. The crew has conducted workshops and performed extensively in South Africa as well as in a number of European countries.

Quilomboarte Collective (Mexico/Dom. Rep/USA/Spain)

In 2005, Bocafloja founded Quilombo: Arte en Resistencia. Quilomboarte is an association of musicians of Latino background, who also produce cultural events in which rap and spoken word function as a non-orthodox educational tool and an essential collaborative adhesive to social and political movements in the processes of transformation throughout the Americas. Quilomboarte operates in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. The organization derives its name from the communities in resistance, “Quilombos”, which during the colonial period on the American continent were established by fugitive black slaves (also known as maroons and cimarrones), indigenous peoples and others who rejected colonialism’s domination, who preferred to live as free people in communal form. Quilombos (also known as mocambos and palenques), were founded as independent and self-sustaining collectives which rejected the state of slavery and its oppressive nature. As such, Quilomboarte’s roots are based in political principles and conceptions that direct its actions. The organization works autonomously, with its own resources and abilities, making use of transgressive and transformative forces of Hip Hop culture applied to sustainable change.


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. He was born in Mexico City and lives in New York City.

Hache ST

Hache ST is a writer and spoken word artist, member of Quilomboarte, acting as a collective organization of cultural production in the Rap and Spoken Word function as an unorthodox educational tool that adheres creates , manages and collaborates with different processes of political and social transformation.

Hache ST depicts the untold story by the hegemonic civilizing speech of  Latin America, using Hip Hop as a tool of politicization through clever rhymes and deep reviews that highlight issues such as racism, memory, the patriarchal system, education and miscegenation. Musically influenced by variety of rhythms ranging from Soul, Jazz, R & B , to the Haitian Gagá all the way through classic Hip Hop. There are bass lines, acoustic guitars and  percussion showing its versatility when composing, this  has allowed him to work with artists from all over the world.

Indee Styla

A well-executed amalgam of music that fuses many styles ranging from soul, dancehall, hip hop and funk from a female perspective. A project in a constant search for  the perfect symbiosis between musicality , message and commitment.

Having performed all over Europe, Brazil and Mexico, Indee is established as one of the most relevant voices in the global Hip Hop scene. Inhabitant of the streets of Barcelona, with three albums under her arm, Indee Styla contributes in the process of developing richer sound textures and crucial narratives giving Hip Hop a women’s facade.


Cambio is a lyricist born and raised in California’s Central Valley but has since performed globally from Latin America and Europe.

As a part of the Quilomboarte collective Cambio delivers a meaningful message influenced by soul to all audiences interested in good hip hop.

Cambio was featured in a documentary aired on PBS about his work with youth and organizing through music.

His first album “Or Does It Explode?” was reviewed by The legendary Roots Crew website saying, “such an honestly autobiographical expression of both the greatest and hardest moments of life combined with a local and global social critique deserves praise and recognition”.

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