Tru Ruts presents Guante’s CONSCIOUS IS NOT ENOUGH 2011

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents CONSCIOUS IS NOT ENOUGH 2011
Twin Cities hip hop artist’s new mixtape is backed up by real activist work

THE MUSIC:

In 2008, Guante released “Conscious is Not Enough,” a collection of songs written around the idea that while voting in the 2008 election was important, coming together as a community and organizing for change was more important. While hip hop albums—much less mixtapes—don’t generally have thesis statements, CINE was a progressive call-to-arms, a rallying cry for those who believe that hope and change aren’t things you vote for—they’re things you work for.

With the recent turmoil in Guante’s home-state of Wisconsin, revolutions sweeping the Middle East and an assortment of battles taking place in Guante’s current home, the Twin Cities, indie label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records is releasing an updated, re-recorded and re-mixed version of the mixtape. It will be available as a free download from www.truruts.bandcamp.com on March 29.

Featuring original production from the likes of Big Cats! (Sage Francis, the Tribe), DJ Pain 1 (Young Jeezy, Chuck D), Calvin Valentine (Planet Asia, Phil da Agony) and others, plus a few jacked beats (including the crowd-favorite “Your Boyfriend’s a Republican” performed over the instrumental to Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”), the mixtape is tied together by Guante’s relentless wit, political insight, technical virtuosity and pure, uncut passion for the subject matter. It’s also proof positive that political hip hop can have a sense of humor, and that smart rappers can also be entertaining.

THE WORK:

The mixtape also serves as the official announcement of the MN Activist Project, a database of progressive activist organizations that Guante has pulled together. That database (www.mnactivist.com) will be tied to a promotional campaign aimed at getting more people involved in activism and organizing. The site also includes toolkits and resources for young activists.

“There’s a natural connection between art, media, education and activism,” Guante says. “This mixtape, along with the MN Activist Project, is about drawing attention to that connection and to the overlap that’s already there. Hip hop can put 300 people in the same room who would otherwise never be together; that’s a powerful thing. The website is partly about trying to focus that power.”

Guante, a two-time National Poetry Slam champion, former City Pages’ “Best of the Twin Cities” artist and URB Magazine “Next 1000” artist, is a long-time social justice advocate. His work includes curating the “Hip Hop Against Homophobia” concert series, leading writing and social justice workshops in schools throughout the Midwest and serving as arts coordinator of the Canvas, a teen art center in St. Paul.

NEXT STEPS:

Guante will be celebrating the new mixtape at two upcoming shows. The first, on April 4 at the Whole Music Club at the University of Minnesota (8pm, all ages, free), happens to be the next Hip Hop Against Homophobia concert. The second will be at Cause in Uptown Minneapolis, on April 7 (21+, 9pm, $5).

For more information, interview requests contact Guante (elguante@gmail.com) or Tru Ruts (press.truruts@gmail.com) or check out www.guante.info or www.twitter.com/elguante.

Ruts Revival

RUTS REVIVAL

featuring GUANTE + BIG CATS!, SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE, SHA CAGE, TRUTHMAZE, E.G. BAILEY, CHANTZ EROLIN, QUILOMBOLAS + others

with special guests I SELF DEVINE (Rhymesayers), ANALYRICAL (Background Noise Crew), SKETCH TC, DJ STAGE ONE, 2013 (featuring members of Junkyard Empire) + others

The Tru Ruts crew has been putting in work, both on stage and behind the scenes, for a very long time. A record label, a theater production company, a film studio and a Twin Cities cultural institution, Tru Ruts is dedicated to supporting talented, forward-thinking artists, putting on events that go beyond the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, and nurturing the next generation of young writers and performers. Join us in celebrating some big steps made over this past year: national distribution, slam championships, high-profile performances, critically-acclaimed album releases, successful youth programs and much more. And THANKS for all the support!

May 1st • Fine Line Music Cafe
318 North 1st Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401
www.finelinemusic.com

8:00pm doors • $5 (21+) • $8 (18+)

E.G. Bailey in l’étoile magazine

E.G. Bailey “American Afrikan” CD Release
@ Bedlam Theatre
1501 6th St S.
Minneapolis

10pm / 18+ / $5 advance

This weekend, E.G. Bailey is going to drop a bomb — a “proverbial bomb” that is! On Saturday, the Bedlam Theatre hosts the release show for Bailey’s debut album, titled AMERICAN AFRIKAN, showcasing his creative mix of powerful spoken word, performance art and hip-hop/funk/jazz/electronic music. Additionally, the night will feature the work of many more artists and musicians like Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, Truthmaze, Chantz Erolin, Aimee Bryant, Ibé Kaba, Sankaradjeki, Dameun Strange, Kahll Brewington, DJ Stage One and more.

Originally posted on l’étoile magazine on 18 February 2010.

E.G. Bailey featured on TC Metromix

‘American Afrikan’ E.G. Bailey CD Release

‘American Afrikan’ is not just a CD release party, but also a musical celebration of Black History that brings together some of the leading African and African American performers in the Twin Cities. Spoken Word innovator E.G. Bailey’s CD is a musical exploration of language and blows out of the water traditional concepts of old school ‘spoken word’ featuring M.anifest, Truthmaze, Members of Junkyard Empire, Sha Cage, Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, J. Otis Powell!, Chantz, See More Perspective, Dameun Strange, Andy Shafer, and more.

When: February 20 : 10 p.m.
Price: $5
Event Phone Number: 612-341-1038
www.bedlamtheatre.org

Tru Ruts secures distribution with IDC

Fresh off their partnership with Strange Famous Records, Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records has secured a national distribution deal with Independent Distribution Collective (IDC). IDC, based in the Bay Area, is the distribution home to dozens of labels and artists. They strive to create ‘a whole new avenue for current and next generation artists who are trying to bring their music to the public.’ They have distributed titles for artists such as Lee Scratch Perry, Toots and the Maytals, Bill Ortiz (of Santana), The Future Sound of Breaks, singer songwriters Kim Garrison and Katie Garibaldi, SonicBloom Hip Hop Collective (Bay Area), producer DNAE Beats (Gift of Gab, Mr. Lif, Pigeon John, Universal Records), King Tubby, Bad Brains and others. IDC will begin distributing Tru Ruts titles in January 2010.

Rising indie label, Tru Ruts, recently released Guante + Big Cats! album An Unwelcome Guest, in addition to Start A Fire (Guante + Big Cats!) and The Good Company EP (Chantz Erolin + Cory Grindberg), both of which were chosen as one of the ‘Best of the Midwest: EPs’ (Midwest Broadcast). In genres ranging from hip hop to spoken word to reggaeton, world music and more, Tru Ruts has released a number of critically acclaimed albums and compilations, with a roster of rising artists in their respective fields. For more information, contact Tru Ruts at info@truruts.com.

Chantz spotlighted in City Pages w/ Geologic + Sandra Garcia Rivera

Geologic, Sandra Garcia Rivera
By Cole Sarar

Minneapolis has topped the list of most-literate cities the past few years, and that literacy, coupled with a golden era of groundbreaking local hip hop, has created a perfect storm for spoken word in the Twin Cities. Organizations like the Loft are keeping their fingers on the pulse of these brilliant artistic waves, cultivating them, and supplementing them by bringing in nationally known artists while displaying local talents. The Equilibrium series turns out rooms packed with readers and rappers alike, tickling ears and literary lobes with dense poetry, thoughtful hip hop, and cunning wordplay since 2001. This Saturday’s installment features Seattle giant Geologic of the Blue Scholars, a hip-hop duo whose lyrics deal with community issues in the Northwest, from race to overcrowding in schools, with the sort of forward thinking that gives hope to difficult situations. From the East Coast, the Loft is importing Nuyorican (Puerto Rican + New York) poet Sandra Garcia Rivera. Her lyrical writing is intensely personal, and embodies the spirit of the city, invoking jazz and an effortless bilingual harmony. Also on the bill is young local Chantz Erolin. Many have been anticipating his explosion onto the scene as the first of a new generation of Twin Cities hip-hop artists, with a fresh view and unlikely, experienced lyrics. This is not your mother’s poetry reading: Equilibrium brings edgy work into the public eye. Also with DJ NAK. Sat., Nov. 21, 8 p.m., 2009

Originally posted on City Page on 17 November 2009.

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.

Chantz Erolin featured at Sketch tha cataclysm Release Party

Sketch TC Release Party Flyer (700pxl)

Chantz Erolin features at Sketch tha cataclysm’s
THE SHARING IS CARING EP Release Party

November 8th
Shuga Records
165 – 13th Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55400
7:00pm • Free • All Ages

Chantz in River Falls w/ The Tribe, Big Zach + Pseudo Slang

chantz - tribe - psuedo slang - river falls (700pxl)

Guante, See More + Chantz feature at 3rd Annual Fall Ball

Fall Ball Flyer - Oct 2nd Flyer

Guante, See More Perspective and Chantz will feature at the  Third Annual Fall Ball at the North Summit Academy, a sobriety high school in Maplewood, MN. The Fall Ball is a gathering of all the sober schools in the Twin Cities, and is attended by over 200 student.