Emcee Geologic and DJ/producer Sabzi come from vastly different musical approaches to experiment with a unique, new sound that still echoes the classic boom-bap of a bygone era (see: A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets). Prior to their collision, Geo had already begun making local rounds as a battle emcee and spoken-word poet, while Sabzi honed his skills as a classical and jazz-trained pianist while attending indie ska and punk shows. This unlikely partnership set the precedent for what distinguishes the group from the vast sea of independent hip-hop artists - the ability to strike a balance between worlds usually seen distant from one another. Poetic lyricism with beats you can dance to. Marxist theory mixed with Baha’i spirituality. Musical influences ranging from Thelonius Monk and Aphex Twin to Marvin Gaye and J Dilla.
However, the bridge between the two artists goes far beyond musical interests. Blue Scholars is as much rooted in the music as it is in serving the people. Their experiences as college students provide an intellectual dimension to their craft, while their backgrounds as second-generation sons of working-class immigrants keep the music grounded. Armed with a purpose beyond creating music for music’s sake, Blue Scholars take the classic form of the emcee/DJ duo (Gangstarr, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Eric B. & Rakim) while carrying the essence of militant, yet personal struggle shown by hip-hop luminaries such as Public Enemy and KRS-One.
Since 2002, Blue Scholars have become renowned for their dynamic live shows, rocking over 300 performances with the likes of Kanye West, De La Soul, and Immortal Technique, and supporting such acts as Matisyahu, Zion-I, Gym Class Heroes, Flobots and the Coup on tour. They have played for labor organizing conferences and at youth-run community center shows to playing the main stage at huge festivals like Sasquatch! (2006 & ‘08) and Bumbershoot (2006).
In June 2006, Blue Scholars joined forces with Common Market (emcee RA Scion and DJ Sabzi) and emcee Gabriel Teodros (of Abyssinian Creole) to launch thier own label MassLine, and in 2007 they started their own Northwest Hip Hop festival, “The Program”, which sold out 5 nights in a row at the Seattle club Neumos.
Partnering with Rawkus Records in 2007 to release their later album Bayani to a larger audience, Geologic and Sabzi have since toured relentlessly, headlining sold-out shows up and down the West Coast and most recently touring with West Coast hip-hop legends Hieroglyphics and GZA of Wu-Tang Clan. In the hip hop mecca of New York City, Blue Scholars generated a huge buzz after opening up for Q-Tip at the CMJ Music Festival, returning in February 2008 to headline their own sold-out show at the renowned Mercury Lounge.
Despite their rigorous touring schedule, Geo and Sabzi haven’t missed a beat in the studio, continuously cranking out new Blue Scholars tracks as well as expanding their catalog to include collaborations with local and national artists. Geo and RA Scion (of Common Market) were featured on Guru’s recent “Jazzmatazz: Back to the Future Mixtape.” and the digital-only Joe Metro EP, released November 2007, featured the North By Northwest remix produced by Jake One and various guest appearances from Seattle emcees such as D. Black, Khingz, Thig Natural, Chev, and Macklemore.
In addition to their collective work, Geo and Sabzi have also pursued individual endeavors and remain integrated in the political organizing and community work that defines the essence of their music and message.
Geo is set to release new solo music under the alias Prometheus Brown, as well as continuing to work with Bayan-USA, a progressive coalition of organizations fighting for genuine freedom in the Philippines. He has been touring with Kiwi (formerly of Native Guns) to raise funds for the families of victims of human rights violations in the Philippines. Sabzi continues to solidify his standing as a premier hip-hop producer. In November 2007, he won the Red Bull Big Tune beat battle championship national finals, and recently completed production of the new Common Market full-length album entitled Tobacco Road.
Blue Scholars continue to work to mobilize more minds and bodies towards liberation while keeping their mission the same as it ever was: to serve the people.
Redigerad av Fillaan den 14 feb 2009, 14:13
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