‘An Unwelcome Guest’ Release Party Video

Live version of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’
featuring Big Quarters + Truthbetold (of The Tribe).

Live version of ‘Yes, God is a DJ; No, Not a Good One’
featuring Eric Blair (of No Bird Sing).

[Courtesy of Culturebully.com]

Twin Cities Roll Call

Guante, yet another consciousness-raising rapper who calls the Twin Cities his home, commands center stage tonight at the Bedlam Theater alongside his producer Big Cats. They’ll be celebrating the release of “An Unwelcome Guest,” a 15-track concept album about—I kid you not—a zombie apocalypse. The disc features guest appearances by some of the Twin Cities’ finest (Haley Bonar, Big Quarters, Eric Blair of No Bird Sing), but the real star remains Guante’s endless repository of establishment-agitating lyrical insight (“This isn’t patriotism/This is the Stockholm syndrome”). (10 p.m., $5 adv/$7 door, 18+)

Originally posted on Metromix Twin Cities.

‘An Unwelcome Guest’ in Star Tribune

Wanna Guante?
By CHRIS
RIEMENSCHNEIDER
Star Tribune

Another deep-voiced, grit-kicking MC in the style of Crescent Moon and No Bird Sing’s Joe Horton, Guante’s full-length debut, “An Unwelcome Guest,” is a concept album about a weary traveler walking through a land of zombies. No, it’s not about a recent trip to Uptown. The real-life Kyle Myhre, who got his start as a spoken-word poet, co-produced the album with wild-eyed beatmaker Big Cats!, with whom he’s performing at Saturday’s release party at Bedlam Theater, 1501 S. 6th St., Mpls., with openers No Bird Sing and Kristoff Krane (10 p.m., $5-$7). Guests include Haley Bonar, Big Quarters and Chastity Brown.

Original post on Star Tribune on 10 December 2009.

Strange Famous Records + Tru Ruts partner on exclusive offer

Strange Famous Records + Tru Ruts
to offer exclusive pre-sales of ‘An Unwelcome Guest’

“Earnestness can go wrong in hip hop.  On this album, it goes very right.” –Sage Francis

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records’ release of “An Unwelcome Guest,” the hip hop concept album from Twin Cities duo Guante & Big Cats, will be available exclusively through Strange Famous Records until its official release on January 12th, 2010.  The indie-rap powerhouse, home to Sage Francis, B.Dolan, Prolyphic (who guests on the album) and other forward-thinking artists, will sell the album through its web-store at www.strangefamous.com.

Following the pre-sales period, rising indie label, Tru Ruts, will make the album available in stores and other distribution outlets, however, ‘An Unwelcome Guest’ will continue to be available via digital download through Strange Famous Records.

“An Unwelcome Guest” tells the story of one man fleeing the zombie apocalypse.  It may sound original, but isn’t.  The post-apocalypse concept has been done to death.  What is original, however, is the way the duo plays with perspective, pushes the boundaries of hip hop narrative and somehow makes a love story about zombies, superheroes, displacement, violence, struggle, and America work.

Big Cats’ beats could almost tell the story themselves—intensely cinematic, the production walks the line between crazy outer-space simmering funk and straight-up hip hop bangers.  Guante, part of the championship 2009 National Poetry Slam St. Paul team, writes like a poet but doesn’t rap like one—the songs are hook-driven, dynamic and instantly quotable.  Unapologetically political, unflinchingly descriptive and undeniably ambitious, the album is the duo’s first full-length collaboration.

Listeners who buy “An Unwelcome Guest” through the Strange Famous store will receive a signed copy of the album, a free instrumental CD, a limited-edition sticker and a booklet by Guante containing song lyrics, commentary and pictures.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR TWIN CITIES RESIDENTS:

Though the album’s official release (for record stores, ITunes and other retailers) will be in January, Twin Cities residents will have an exclusive opportunity to get it on Dec 12 at the Bedlam Theater during the special Twin Cities release party.  Joined by No Bird Sing, Kristoff Krane and the Tribe, and backed by a live band featuring members of Dragons Power Up, Guante & Big Cats will play the album in its entirety and sell physical copies of the album for one night only (10pm, 18+, $7).

Guante + Big Cats: ‘An Unwelcome Guest’ CD Release Party

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents:
Guante & Big Cats: “An Unwelcome Guest” CD release party

Mark your calendars.  December 12, 2009 will be the Twin Cities release party for Guante + Big Cats’ debut LP, “AN UNWELCOME GUEST,” at the Bedlam Theater in Minneapolis.  Supporting acts will include No Bird Sing, Kristoff Krane and The Tribe.  The show will be 18+ and start at 10pm.  Tickets are $5 in advance, and $7 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at Fifth Element. Bedlam Theatre, 1501 – 6th Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55454.

AN UNWELCOME GUEST is a hip hop concept album from Twin Cities producer BIG CATS and rapper GUANTE.  Over fifteen tracks, the album tells the story of one man moving from east to west in the wake of a man-made disaster and his own personal tragedy.  Also, there are zombies.

The album features guest appearances from HALEY BONAR, PROLYPHIC (of Strange Famous Records), BIG QUARTERS, CHASTITY BROWN and ERIC BLAIR (of Hyder Ali and No Bird Sing).  Through the album’s unique narrative frame, these artists join Guante in exploring issues of displacement, authority and the difference between the violence of the oppressor and the violence of the oppressed.  Also: zombies.

Stay tuned.  Much more (including the first single, some exclusive video stuff and more announcements) coming soon.

An Unwelcome Guest Release Party Flyer (Back) (700pxl)

Tru Ruts releases Chantz Erolin’s “Good Company” EP

Chantz Erolin - Good Company Cover (Front) (600pxl)

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records releases “Good Company” EP
One of the freshest voices in Twin Cities hip hop gets a formal introduction

Yes, that’s his real name.  And no, you don’t have to kick him out of the club; he’s on the bill. What Chantz Erolin lacks in age, he more than makes up for in experience.  At just 18 years old, he’s been a part of the Twin Cities hip hop scene for a very long time, performing at Yo! The Movement events, winning battles, rocking the stage at Soundset 2009 with new label-mate Guante and playing alongside artists like MC Lyte, Naughty by Nature, I Self Devine, Brother Ali and many more.  Over the past few years, you may have seen him sneaking into a 21+ Big Quarters show, ciphering outside South High or winning a youth poetry slam.

Wherever you saw him, though, the odds are good that he won you over.  As an emcee, Chantz sticks out from the crowd with a biting, intelligent sense of humor, nuanced political savvy and songwriting skills that put most other punchline-oriented rappers to shame.  Describing one of his performances, City Pages said: “[Chantz] gave off an infectious energy and suggested his age with goofy asides while belying it with noticeable displays of versatility.”

And nowhere is that energy, versatility and… goofiness more evident than on his debut EP, “Good Company.”  Featuring production by one of the best young beat-makers in the country (Cory Grindberg of Audio Perm), the EP is a brief collection of guitar-driven hip hop tracks “about friends, fashion’s guts, hunger, home, race and family,” as Chantz says.  Featuring laugh-out-loud punchlines, touching meditations on identity and relationships, and lots of poetic details, “Good Company” is the perfect introduction to one of the Twin Cities freshest voices.  Rising indie label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records recognized this, and will be re-releasing the EP in preparation for a future full-length.

Though he was born in Los Angeles, Chantz is very much a product of the Twin Cities hip hop scene.  At times, you can hear flashes of other artists in his flow: Big Zach’s drawl, Slug’s confidence, Big Quarters’ down-home realness.  But Chantz also manages to transcend his peers and influences by focusing on his own story and offering something new.  If “Good Company” is any indication, TC rap is in very good hands. ‘Good Company’ will be re-released on November 10th.

Guante + Big Cats! ‘An Unwelcome Guest’ Megamix

unwelcome guest cover (600pxl)

Noam the Drummer put together this megamix of our new album, An Unwelcome Guest, essentially condensing an hour-long zombie-superhero-love-story concept album into 15 crazy minutes. In it, you’ll hear some flashes of the story, a few of our guests (Haley Bonar, Chastity Brown, Eric Blair of No Bird Sing; the album also features Big Quarters and Prolyphic, though they’re not in this mix) and an idea of how the album as a whole sounds. We’ll be releasing the LP in December on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records. Think of this as the trailer. – Kyle “Guante” Myhre. To hear the megamix, link here.

An Unwelcome Guest Welcomes Guests

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New album from Guante & Big Cats! boasts some killer guest-spots

“An Unwelcome Guest,” the zombie-superhero-love story hip hop concept album from Twin Cities duo Guante & Big Cats!, wrapped recently after a couple of grueling sessions at Ben Durrant’s Crazy Beast Studio.  While the album itself won’t be released until late 2009, label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records is leaking the guest roster now.

The most recognizable name is probably Haley Bonar, the popular singer/songwriter who just made the move to Portland after a long and successful stay in the Twin Cities.  Bonar lends her distinctive voice to “The National Anthem,” a dark and propulsive track that mixes an eerie piano sample, lyrical throwbacks to Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and the first appearance of the album’s signature catchphrase: “we are waking up in our caskets.”

Another singer, Twin Cities-by-way-of-Knoxville folk/soul artist Chastity Brown makes an appearance on the track “Welcome to the Border.”  Successfully blending threatening with beautiful, her sections of the song are warnings: “crawling, walking, running, pressing up against your lovely lines/ we are underwater breathing, we are walking through your fire/ pressure building, burning, pressing up against your lovely home/ we are so close…”

The Twin Cities vibrant hip hop scene is well represented by guest spots from Big Quarters (on “The Stockholm Syndrome”) and Eric Blair of the bands Hyder Ali and No Bird Sing (on “Yes God is a DJ; No, Not a Good One”).  All three emcees get to flex their creativity and develop characters that fit into Guante’s overarching narrative, the story of one man traveling from east to west in the wake of a man-made disaster.

Finally, Strange Famous (home of Sage Francis, B.Dolan and Doomtree’s Cecil Otter) recording artist Prolyphic delivers a fiery storytelling verse alongside Guante and Big Quarters on “The Stockholm Syndrome,” a track about survival at all costs.

“I love putting people on the same song whom you wouldn’t ever expect to be on the same song,” Guante says.  The track with Prolyphic and Big Quarters is a monster, and the one with me and Haley Bonar might be my favorite on the album; who would ever think that she’d sound so natural and at-home on a hip hop album about displacement, zombies and the political/social nature of violence?”

Add to this the beat-making talents of Big Cats! and the critically acclaimed lyrics and vocals of rapper, slam poetry champion and activist Guante, and you’ve got a potent mix. “An Unwelcome Guest” will be out late in 2009 on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.

For further updates, check out http://deadrunning.blogspot.com and http://www.truruts.com.

Midwest Broadcast Presents Flyover Land Vol. 1 (Mixtape)

Flyover Land V1 front cover (600pxl)

Midwest hip-hop blog Midwest Broadcast has released a compilation mixtape, Flyover Land, Vol.1, featuring exclusive and unreleased tracks from some of the most talented emcees and producers in the Midwest. It’s named Flyover Land in reference to the common notion that the Midwest is a region not known for producing proficient hip-hop artists, and can thus be overlooked. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and the mixtape seeks to put rest to that opinion. Some of the gifted artists whose tracks are featuring on Flyover Land, Vol. 1 are Heiruspecs, Muja Messiah, M.anifest, Add-2, D/Will, Big Quarters, Guante + Big Cats! and more. The mixtape features sixteen consecutive tracks of uninterrupted, high-quality hip-hop, and is sure to be an enjoyable listen to everyone who gives it a chance. The purpose of Flyover Land, Vol. 1 is to help promote the considerable pool of talented artists we have in the Midwest, but who do not always get the publicity or attention that their skills merit.

To download the mixtape: http://tinyurl.com/flyoverlandV1download
To view the original post on Midwest Broadcast: http://tinyurl.com/flyoverlandV1

Tru Ruts adds Chantz Erolin to roster

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Tru Ruts welcomes Chantz Erolin to the roster

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, to be released through rising indie label, Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.

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