Artists

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records’ roster includes e.g. bailey, Shá Cage, Guante, Quilombolas, See More Perspective, Chantz Erolin and Truthmaze.

ARTIST BIOS:

e.g. bailey

Multidisciplinary artist, e.g. bailey, is an effortless spoken word performer often paired with music accompaniment. He is one of the most prolific voices and talents in the Twin Cities and is also a consultant, film maker, and producer. Born in Saclepea, Liberia, and now lives in the US. He is a founder of several foundational entities in the local and national community including Sirius B, male performance collective; @rkology, spoken word and music collective; and the National Spoken Word Coalition. e. g. is a winner of the Hughes Knight Diop Poetry Award and several of his poems have been published in Solid Ground, the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue, and Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for creative writing. He was a co-producer of Write On Radio; an award winning weekly literary radio program on KFAI Fresh Air Radio where he is currently an on air personality for the ‘Tehuti’ Spoken Word show on Sunday nights. He is also the co-founder of the MN Spoken Word Association and founder of Tru Ruts/Speakeasy records. His work has taken him abroad and nationally and he continues to innovate the art form as a producer, lecturer, and performer. www.egbailey.com

“For instance, Bailey, is already that. A Spoken Word, a true self consciousness is/ing as we read or hear, himself expanded into our gratified senses. He makes language live!” – Amiri Baraka on E.G. BAILEY

“The scene has not been host to a stronger performing poet in all that time and those who remember bailey as part of the seminal ensemble Sirius B know exactly what I’m talking about. No matter how long it takes for bailey to drop “da proverbial bomb”, it will have been well worth the wait. “ – Dwight Hobbes (Insight) on E. G. BAILEY

“America, I miss you,” bailey intones at its opening. He delivers his words atop a bed of rolling drums and cymbals, electric bass, disorienting electronic sounds, and wailing saxophone. From Katrina to Guantanamo, Hollywood to Baghdad, the poem subtly welds together the long histories of racism and murder that stain America’s past, yet without completely destroying the hope of something better. In the end, the music dies away as bailey softly, powerfully, declares “We’re waiting for your resurrection.” – Justin Schell on AMERICA (Single) by E.G. BAILEY

Shá Cage

One of the most dynamic spoken word artists on the scene, and a noted actress, Shá Cage has been appropriately called ‘The Priestess of the Word.’ A striking mix of spoken word and theatre, her performances have left audiences moved. Her work unabashedly questions inequality, class, and gender issues and is rooted in the rhythms of her native Natchez, Mississippi. Her work has taken her all across the U.S., to South Africa, England, France, The Netherlands, Belgrade and Croatia, Mali, and Canada.

2006 and 2007 were great years for Shá marking television commercials with Parade of Homes and KARE 11, two Twin Cities artist of the year mentions, and a national tour in England. She also landed the part of the female spoken word voice in Target’s ‘Art Connects’ national commercial campaign; that was recently launched on the ’08 BET awards. She is signed with indie label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records with whom she dropped her long awaited debut album ‘Amber People’, considered one of the best spoken word albums of the year. myspace.com/shacage

Film credits: Midnight, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Joe Somebody, Factotum, and Cry About a Nickel. Theater credits: Theatre De La Jeune Lune, Penumbra, Mixed Blood, Pillsbury House, Pangea, Illusion Theater, Hackney Empire Theater (London), Zion Arts Centre (London), Nottingham Playhouse (Birmingham,UK), and The Albany Theater (London).

“Exemplary poet!” – Cornel West on SHA CAGE

“Where Sha Cage and e. g. bailey get the inspired stamina to sustain the pace at which they produce such creativity is hard to fathom. They seem to move at break-neck speed and are always so busy getting here and going there, one day they might just pass themselves going the other way. However they do it, the Twin Cities scene reaps a strong benefit. May it ever be so.” – Dwight Hobbes (Twin Cities Daily Planet) on E. G. BAILEY + SHA CAGE

Chantz Erolin

At only 17 years old, Chantz Erolin is already being recognized as one of the best up-and-coming young emcees in the Twin Cities hip hop scene. Born in L.A. and raised in the Twin Cities, Chantz is a young Hapa rapper/writer/poet, who has been called ’scary good’ by his label mate El Guante. Jordan Selbo, of the City Pages, writes, “…[Chantz] gave off an infectious energy and suggested his age with goofy asides while belying it with noticeable displays of versatility…”

Rapping for only 3 years, he has already opened for the likes of MC Lyte, Naughty by Nature, I Self Devine, Brother Ali, El Guante, Big Quarters, One Be Lo, Invincible and more. He won the Voices Merging MC Battle at 15 and was recently nominated for an Urban Griots Award, for Best Youth Spoken Word Artist. Quickly becoming a seasoned performer, he also has several projects under his belt, including the self-released EP, Good Company, an album, as he says, ‘is about friends, fashion’s guts, hunger, home, race and family.’ The guitar-based hip hop album, produced in it’s entirety by Cory Grindberg, another young up-and-comer, features frequent collaborators Facade, Cay-Riss and Phonetic One. The EP has garnered praise from peers and luminaries in the scene, including I Self Devine, who comments, “This is better than I expected––I mean I don’t know what I was expecting, but this is good, this is surprising.”

An activist as well as an artist, he works with Hope Community Center, MN Spoken Word Association, The Walker Art Center, Yo! The Movement, The Loft Literary Center, and participated in the Free Media Conference at the end of 2008. He will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in 2010 but until then he will be writing and producing his first full length album.

Guante

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records artist Guante is a hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, social justice activist and educator. He’s been featured in URB Magazine’s “Next 1000” list, City Pages’ “Artists of the Year” list, CMJ and the Progressive, and has shared bills with Talib Kweli, Atmosphere, Dead Prez, Sage Francis, Brother Ali, Mr. Lif, P.O.S. and many more of the top names in indie hip hop. Apart from these artistic endeavors, Guante also freelances as a music writer, curates the Hip Hop Against Homophobia concert series, facilitates writing and performance workshops for youth and serves as arts coordinator of the Canvas, a Saint Paul teen arts center. See www.guante.info for more information.

“Guante quietly rolled into the Twin Cities’ hip hop and spoken-word scenes with a hand grenade, and pulled the pin.  If you look anywhere in those scenes now, you’ll see his shrapnel buried deep in every wall.” – City Pages “Artists of the Year” Feature

“Giving you something to think about while nodding your head to his nimble, casual flow, Guante could very well follow Atmosphere and P.O.S. in the long line of outstanding rappers to break out from the Midwest.” – CMJ Artist Spotlight

“Part Cormac McCarthy, part Woody Guthrie, and part Public Enemy.” – Justin Schell, Twin Cities Daily Planet

Quilombolas (Key• lom• bow • las) <band>

Rock ensemble, Quilombolas, has been steadily building an audience over the last several years, and has been featured at the Twin Cities’ Afrifest, the Earthfusion Festival, on Fox 9 Morning News, in addition to collaborating with noted Twin Cities artists Maria Isa, Truthmaze, e.g. bailey, Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, and others. The recently opened for PM Dawn, and were featured at the Vive Minnesota! El Festival. The Twin Cities based band blends the cross-cultural sound of funk, rock, samba, salsa, reggae, hip hop and other cultural genres combined with multilingual lyrics representing the spoken languages of the Americas. Their debut album, The Common Past, will be released by Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records in mid 2008.

Their music is infused with vibes of unity and celebration, allowing Quilombolas to open minds while at the same time making bodies move to the World-fusion they play. The members, including Eric S.B., Levitt8 + Papi Umar Malik share a common love and appreciation for music that grooves, reflecting the sounds of the African diaspora. The band combines these elements with the belief that all people are multiethnic and multicultural mixes, and are invited to celebrate the diversity that unites and strengthens the quilombo. For more information: myspace.com/quilombolas

“True to the spirit of their name, the Minneapolis band Quilombolas have a sense of defiance, and also a sense of freedom. The band’s style is passionate, satirical, and very entertaining. Blending Brazilian rhythms, hip-hop, Israeli melodies, and funk, Quilombolas create a unique sound with smart lyrics and a danceable beat.” – Shelia Regan (Twin Cities Daily Planet) on QUILOMBOLAS

“Quilombolas, whose mixture of rock, funk, salsa, hip-hop, lefty politics, and whatever else fits, should find favor with Ozomatli fans…” – Dylan Hicks (City Pages) on QUILOMBOLAS

“…as intriguing a trio as you’re apt to come by for quite a while. These guys are serious to the bone with cold-blooded chops. Their groove has a Band of Gypsys feel – sharp, elemental funk with wizened, coat-pulling lyrics.” – Dwight Hobbes on (The Pulse) QUILOMBOLAS

“They had the place dancing and rocking out to their international groove….The flow among the different influences informing the songs was seamless, and there was no beat missed as the music went from Brazil to Israel and back again—over a killer bass line.” - Shelia Regan on (Twin Cities Daily Planet) QUILOMBOLAS

See More Perspective

Born Adam Gabriel Rangel, SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE is a native of St. Paul, MN and son of Chicago. Having recently returned to his native Twin Cities roots from several years in Chi-town; he brings a unique aesthetic influenced by both communities.

As a Hip Hop performer and recording artist, he captures and engages crowds of all generations through his energy and signature crowd interaction. He has been dubbed as KRS ONE meets the Dalai Lama— hard but inspiring, thoughtful and bumpin’ in peace. As a lyricist poet, educator, self taught producer, actor, and visual artist his work carries revolutionary uplifting undertones known to motivate masses across the midwest and south. As a producer, his music conveys a rawness of heart and soul that is effortlessly spiritual. Infused with traditions of jazz, funk and indigenous music; his sound is at times grainy and full – yet smooth and crisp. He implements fearless samples from anything as far out as Tibet’s Gamalan music and as quirky as records that teach Spanish to toddlers through disco.

A giant loudspeaker with a hypnotic flow, SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE rocks some of the most inspirational Hip Hop messages of our times grounded in futurism. His upcoming single “First Impression” will be released this summer on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records. For more information see www.myspace.com/seemoremusic

“Adam Rangel is a voice of this generation.” - Rich Albertoni (Madison’s Isthmus) on SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE

“See More’s vibe was almost too intense for the only half-warm crowd to take in. Spitting classical flows with a quick angry tongue over crisp beats, it was hard to digest but I’d be ready to hear him again any day.” - Jordan Selbo (City Pages) on SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE

Truthmaze

Truthmaze is one of the originators and premier hip hop artists in Minnesota, beginning in 1983, as a vocal percussionist (beatboxer) known as B-Fresh. He was part of one of the first hip hop recordings from Minnesota to reach national presence as part of the I.R.M. Crew, and has been recording since 1986 with such groups as I.R.O.C., Brown Mark (of Prince and the Revolution), Mixed Breed and The Mighty Micronauts, whose infamous debut album was recently re-released on Rhymesayers Entertainment.

In 1989, he embarked into the genre of spoken word and has excelled there as well. He is one of the most dynamic spoken word artists on the scene, with his performance infusing everything from African drumming, jazz, hip hop, to neosoul. He has been a member of a number of bands and collectives, in addition to the ones mentioned above, including Trektah Beam Express, Blak Pham, Moveable Feast and the Dijonettes. He sings, plays percussions, rhymes, beatboxes, and has been compared to Gil Scott Heron, Saul Williams, KRS One, the Last Poets, among others.

Truthmaze, recently traveled to England, where he debuted his album, Expansions + Contractions (Psoems 1:1), in addition to performing at several venues, featuring on BBC radio + television, along with producing several new tracks. He was also a featured performer at the 5th Annual Twin Cities Hip Hop Festival in August. While he is an excellent performer, he has also been praised as a percussionist and educator, who for more than a decade has taught drumming and rap to youth. www.myspace.com/truthmaze

“the sooner Truth Maze breaks national the better” – Dwight Hobbes, Pulse of the Twin Cities

“As a child, I got to talk to Truth Maze maybe five or six times face up. This was way before Atmosphere, way before the Micranots. It was like being in the presence of a god. He had such an energy to him. He always smiled. Anything that he said to me, I decreed as law, and I would take back to my friends, Mark and Adam, and we would live that way.” – Slug (of Atmosphere)

“He has a hip hop pedigree that goes back to his days with local pioneers the Micranots and the IRM crew. Since then, he has bounded from acid-jazz (with Moveable Feast) to Afrofunk (the Dijonettes) to his ongoing spoken-word experimentations.” – Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune

SIDE PROJECTS:

Guante + Big Cats!

Above the Fold called Guante + Big Cats! th Twin Cities’ best up-and-coming MC and producer, respectively. Guante has been selected as City Pages’ Artist of the Year, URB Magazine’s ‘Next 1000′, a CMJ Spotlight Artist for 2009, and B est Local Slam Poet for City Pages’ Best of 2009. Producer Big Cats!, fresh off of producing Sage Francis’ ‘Black Out on White Night’, as well as his own critically-acclaimed instrumental hip hop album ‘Sleep Tapes’, is in top form. They will release their debut collaborative album ‘Start a Fire’ in May 2009.

El Guante + See More Perspective

Two part hip hop duet with Guante and See More Perspective blending their works.

Ruts Crew

Three or more Tru Ruts artists in a dynamic interlaced, high-energy performance moving in a round-robin style of performance between artists-blending hip hop, spoken word and music.

Madiba

Taken from the South African nickname of Mandela, this collaboration is a duet with e.g. bailey and Shá Cage. Spoken Word soul: music and lyricism lacing global, cultural, and political themes.