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.

Free Music: ‘No Capes’ from Guante + Big Cats!

[Note: This promo has ended. But check the download category for other free downloads.]

For one week only, download “NO CAPES” by Guante & Big Cats! for free.  One of the standout tracks from the duo’s 2010 concept album, “An Unwelcome Guest,” the song takes a critical look at the mythology of the hero; can we look to one person– whether a superhero or an elected official– to save us, or are there real heroes in our midst?  This free download, courtesy of rising indie label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records, is dedicated to those fighting for their basic rights in Wisconsin, as well as to those who will continue to fight tomorrow, wherever they are needed.

“NO CAPES” is also a prelude to Guante’s upcoming mixtape, “CONSCIOUS IS NOT ENOUGH 2011,” a collection of brand new songs, remixes and updated tracks based around the power of community and the importance of organizing.  Featuring Guante’s trademark blend of progressive lyrics, poetic storytelling and gallows humor, the full mixtape will be released in March.

New Music from WAKE THE CITY (Guante + See More Perspective)

‘Shotgun Soliloquy (Ragga Remix)’ gives you yet another peek into WAKE THE CITY, the budding musical collaboration between Guante and SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE. This “premix” of sorts is a remix of a track that has yet to be released. That’s just how we get down at the Boombox Emporium. The Rube’s simultaneously throwback and forward-thinking production suits the rappers’ boombap tendencies perfectly. Expect to hear more funky concoctions from these three in the future, probably sooner than you think!

Tru Ruts presents See More Perspective’s ARCHITEXTUAL DESIGN

SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE moved back to the Twin Cities after an eight-year stint in Chicago as a youth organizer, hip hop artist and all-around troublemaker in 2007. Since then, he’s played the shadows of the TC hip hop scene, emerging here and there to perform with label-mate Guante at the Soundset Festival, produce and record tracks for some of the scene’s top artists, release an indie-pop Halloween album as one half of Strange Perspective, beatbox for KRS-ONE and take part in countless other traditional and not-so-traditional events.

He also worked on his debut full-length, ARCHITEXTUAL DESIGN, a sprawling, ambitious concept album featuring Chicago’s broad-shouldered swagger, St. Paul’s down-home realness and Minneapolis’ forward-thinking drive. Three years plus in the making, that album is set to be released on November 30th, on rising label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records’ Bandcamp page and in record stores after December 3rd.

Armed with a raspy, Lyrics Born-style drawl capable of both rapping and singing, a quick-witted positivity that never comes off as sugar-coated or phony, and an unapologetic earnestness that’s so rare in indie hip hop today, See More has created an album that quite literally sounds like nothing else out there. The album flows from heartbreaking storytelling tracks with real lyrical depth to party songs that celebrate hip hop’s roots to Gnarls Barkley-esque pop songs to wildly funky instrumentals to much more. Featuring Chicago rappers and Twin Cities spoken word artists, ARCHITEXTUAL DESIGN is always anchored by See More’s voice—in both the literal and literary sense of the word.

And it’s that voice that makes the album so special. See More Perspective is attempting to bring sincerity back. This isn’t ironic dance pop, tongue-in-cheek underground rap or faux-European synth music; this is a statement about culture as communication—not just the background noise of our lives, but the real foundation and structure on which we stand.

‘ARCHITEXTUAL DESIGN’ is available for download at Tru Ruts’ Bandcamp.

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‘A Hug from a Stranger’ (Video) – Guante + Big Cats!

Check out the new video from Guante + Big Cats!. Directed by Tony Perkins, this video is for the song “A Hug From a Stranger” from their debut LP, “An Unwelcome Guest.” The song is a quiet moment in the narrative of the larger concept album, a story that deals with love, radical politics, superhero mythology and yes, zombies. Featuring Haley Bonar, Big Quarters, Chastity Brown, Eric Blair of No Bird Sing and Prolyphic of Strange Famous Records, the album was released in January of 2010 on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records and is available for purchase at guanteandbigcats.bandcamp.com or truruts.bandcamp.com. Video shot on location at E Squared Cafe in Brainerd, MN.

“Part Cormac McCarthy, part Woody Guthrie, and part Public Enemy, An Unwelcome Guest is an intricately woven poetic and sonic excursion through landscapes mental, emotional, and physical, cementing Guante and Big Cats!’s status as two of the best emerging artists within Twin Cities hip-hop.” – TC Daily Planet

“Guante could very well follow Atmosphere and P.O.S. in the long-line of outstanding rappers to break from the Midwest.” – CMJ

“Guante and Big Cats! create intelligent, political hip hop that mercifully doesn’t come off as preachy or self-righteous. It’s sobering, demanding your attention like a car crash, yet emotional and alarmingly intimate at times.” – City Pages

‘Architextual Design’ Release Party

ARCHITEXTUAL DESIGN RELEASE PARTY
CD RELEASE PARTY: FRI DEC 3RD
@ HELL’S KITCHEN (80 9th Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55402)
featuring Mayda, Guante, Fresh Squeeze, DJ Rube + More
10:00pm 18+ $5

Strange Perspective’s JAZZ FUNERAL Halloween Extravaganza


Strange Perspective’s Jazz Funeral Halloween Extravaganza
featuring Mayda, Guante, The Rube, Sideshow Oddities,
Burlesque by Giza Sangria and more
Costume contest with prizes!

Saturday, October 30th
Hell’s Kitchen
80 – 90th Street South
Downtown Minneapolis
10:00pm – 2:00am
$10 • 21+

Two accomplished musicians in their own right, artists SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE and Dameun Strange join forces to create Strange Perspective. Their first collaborative effort, a Halloween suite of spooky sounds and story telling, is an eerie, lighthearted and clever exploration of the New Orleans Jazz Funeral sound, but that’s just where the concept starts. A witty and quirky blend of Hip Hop, Jazz, and dancey, catchy song writing, ‘Jazz Funeral’ is an amalgamation of the many eclectic interests of these two gifted artists (namely, ghosts).

Joining Strange Perspective will be a host of musicians, story tellers, hip hoppers, artists, dancers and psychics, along with Guante and Mayda. A flow of music, atmosphere, art and dance for the evening, with a dj to warm us up, keep us nodding between acts and encourage us to dance the night out at the end.

About Sideshow Oddities: Professor Oscar is working to preserve the art of the classic sideshow and dime museum- featuring hand painted banners and a traveling museum of rare and fascinating exhibits on display to amuse, intrigue, and enlighten the audience before and after the music. Pieces from Professor Oscar’s collection have been featured in galleries throughout the United States, have garnered attention from artists worldwide, and have been used alongside internationally touring musicians such as Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers and Jack White of the White Stripes.

Guante + Inky unite for the “Bricks and Bones” Tour

At first glance, Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre and Cole “Inky” Sarar have very little in common.  Guante is a fiery underground rap star and two-time National Poetry Slam champion who writes about radical politics and working-class struggle; Inky is an unabashed nerd who writes with equal verve about nursery rhymes and science.

But as writers and performance artists, Guante and Inky share a commitment to dismantling stereotypes and social norms, whether through the lens of the grocery store cartpusher asserting his very existence or the “handsome prince” dreaming of being something more than a stock character.  Both are interested in the places where everyday life, magic and social justice overlap, a world where janitors, fairies, farmers, zombies, soldiers, talking roaches and countless more come to life.  Finally, both Guante and Inky refuse to settle for simple platitudes and clichés, instead reaching deeper, seeking to create art that is as transformative as it is entertaining.  As Guante says: “we don’t want your smiles; we want to dig into the wet, grey wilderness behind them.”

10/14: Still Waters at Sweet Black Coffee in Milwaukee, 8pm
10/15: Voltage! at Milwaukee Public Library, 6pm
10/16: Genna’s Lounge in Madison, 7pm
10/18: Mental Graffiti at the Butterfly Social Club in Chicago, 8pm
10/19: Young Chicago Authors workshop and feature, 6pm
10/22: Root Note in La Crosse, 8pm
10/23: Indianapolis, details TBA
10/24: Green Mill in Chicago, 7pm

Guante + Big Cats! ‘Don’t Be Nice’ Mixtape Cover + Tracklist

Don’t Be Nice is a whirlwind of radical storytelling tracks, punch-you-in-the-face battle raps, heartfelt love songs and more, including a couple of legitimate club bangers.  The free mixtape should cement Guante + Big Cats!’s reputation as one of the most ambitious, dynamic indie-rap duos in the country. Don’t Be Nice will be released for free download by rising indie label, Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records, on September 7th.

DON’T BE NICE
1. Talk
2. Truth Be Told Breaks It Down
3. The Ripple
4. Bring Out Your Dead (Big Cats! Remix)
5. Limb From Limb
6. The Hero
7. Harry Potter (Big Cats! Remix w/ Chantz)
8. Greed
9. Don’t Vote for Michelle Bachman
10. This is the Opposite of a Suicide Note
11. Red States (Live on The Current)
12. Dragons (Live on The Current)
13. The Damp, Foggy Midnight (Live on The Current)

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+)