PASSPORT: LONG BEACH PRIDE 2012
Getting to know/behind the scenes with some of (LGBT) Hip Hop’s up and coming and most talented artists…
So the time has come again, its Pride Season, and for many of us that means getting out our sun gear, heading to the park or into the streets and getting our boogie and booze on with our other LGBT fam. Well this year, for me, it meant four of my fave rappers/groups were all hitting my town, Long Beach, to perform and party by the sea. A happier chick I couldn’t have been as, Atlanta, Vegas, and San Diego all dropped by…at the same time. Khaos da Rapper, Buddy Piedmont, Lady L.U.S.T. and Espionage Crew…All. Here.
Other than Mookie Lockett, EvOn, Royce Hall or IKP for President, these artists get heavy rotation in my Jetta…and I mean heavy. From Khaos’ “Loddypop” to Espionage Crew’s “Flight Nineteen” then back to Lady L.U.S.T.’s “Gift Tense” meanwhile never passing Buddy Piedmont (KLS)’s “Shallow”, these women and men have become a part of the soundtrack to my life for over a year now. So again you can see how over the moon I was to learn that they were not only coming to town but were gonna give me the chance to boogie stageside to some of my fave and new jams off new projects. Right?! Anyway, needless to say, we got it in! We prided, we partied, and we interviewed…or I interviewed each of them.
So just who are these artists, you ask (if you not already knowing)? What are they about, what are they up too and more important what do they sound like? Well climb aboard, let’s go! and I’m gonna give you a little whirlwind tour through what they’re about, what they’re up to and a listen to what songs keep it rockin’!
***So here is your PASSPORT to a behind the scenes, a recap on some of what I learned about these artists during that time together: what motivates them, where they’re coming from and where they’re headed. ***
Departure: Atlanta (born and raised)
Artist: Buddy Piedmont (formerly known as KLS) / @BuddyPiedmont
Buddy hails from the south and has been rapping, repping for southern culture for several years now. So how fitting is it that his next mixtape, dropping any day now, is entitled “Southern Comfort.” It will be a mixed introduction of him and to his type of music which he describes as “having an intellectual southern approach”. He compares himself to/and says he was influenced by TI, Kanye West, and Tupac (the way Tupac was real-hood, gangsta-but ALWAYS spit knowledge). Inspired to make music by life and love…he says when he’s completely evolved musically, hhe aims to be an artist that makes music about love and relationships, inspired by R&B and emotions. “There’s stoner (party all the time) rap,” he says. “But I’m going to be about love…”
First Stop: Los Angeles (by way of San Diego by way of Belize and Panama by way of…ok I’ll stop)
Artist: Espionage Crew / @EspionageCrew
Espionage Crew is the rapping duo made up of solo artists, Jesta da Lyrist and Tango P. I. Hailing from San Diego, these friends of a decade have called Los Angeles their home for a couple of years now. With inspirations from Sister Nancy, Barrington Levy (Tango P.I.) to J. Dilla, Elvis Presley, Q-Tip, and Celia Cruz (Jesta da Lyricist), these two are a very diverse bunch to say the least. With Tango’s emphatic personality behind the mic and Jesta’s producing of their funky and purely unique beats this is definitely a show you want to catch.
Their enthusiasm for all things Russian parallels with what inspires them musically. Growing up as a gay minority led to a survivalist mentality, having to blend in, like a spy…undercover, underground activities being gay in the ‘hood. Like espionage. Hence Espionage Crew.
Coming up on the horizon for these two are solo projects that you will not want to miss. Jestadalyricist will be dropping a 5 song EP called “Taste, Touch, Love” on June 20th and Tango P.I. has a hot single coming out this month also called “Way Stoosh.” It’s a dirty-beat-ass-thumper, produced by Jesta da Lyricist. Wait! Also, check out his album released last December, “Black in the Rainbow” ~~>> http://tangopi1.bandcamp.com/album/black-in-the-rainbow
Next Stop: Las Vegas (by way of Oakland)
Artist: Lady L.U.S.T. / @AskAboutLust
L.U.S.T. stands for Last Undisputed Spit Truth. She is a “hip hop artist, activist, revolutionary, and comes from a long lineage of panthers, pimps, crusaders, prophets, d-girls, criminals, and truth Sayers.” And what can I say but that even before you meet her, you can feel this in her music. In its pure grit. Lust is raw, true. But even in all her unapologetic truth you sense that she is just a woman hoping for a better way…for all of us. This is the experience of “God, Fear and Money” where she takes you through pleading to get her questions to life’s greatest questions answered by God to mankind’s condition to the pangs of lost love.
She makes music as an observation of life, whatever she’s passionate about at the time whether love, politics or voicing her opinions on the world as she observes it. But all is a hope to provoke people to think outside of the box. She is inspired musically by Michelle N’Degocello as an all around artist, Stevie wonder as a writer throw into that mix Tupac, Jay-Z, and Kanye West.
Be on the lookout for the 2nd part of “God, Fear and Money” that will be called “GFM2” due out in September or October this year. http://askaboutlust.bandcamp.com/album/god-fear-money
Arrival: Atlanta (by way of Newark)
Artist: Khaos da Rapper / @KHAOSDARAPPER
Khaos Da Rapper has been doing music since the age of 9. That’s when she started rapping. Khaos won her first talent show in middle school and from there she knew music was what she wanted to do. Khaos has transitioned tremendously since then, ultimately creating her own sound what she calls “Hiptonic Whatever Music”. It’s a mash-up of Hip-Hop, Techno, Electronic, and whatever type of music she feels like making. Since then, she has been able to put a number of great albums under her belt, Dipherent Strokes, Reality TV, The Apprentice, and the Beta Versions. You can access them here http://khaosdarapper.bandcamp.com/. Check it!
These days, when not brainstorming for her next mixtape, you can find Khaos as one member of a trio known as “YO! LGBT Raps”. YO! LGBT Raps is the six month old brain child of Khaos and friends Free and Lei who hail from Atlanta but now call Pasadena, California (a northern suburb of Los Angeles County) home. The trio saw a need for an outlet to showcase musicians and other artists in the LGBT community and thus YO! LGBT Raps was born. They get together to produce a monthly episode fusing their singular talents in graphics, media, and music all set in an MTV interview format. In the end, you get vignettes, videos, artist countdowns mixed with sketch humour and even a bit of animation. Now this just sounds like a good time! Be sure to check it all out at http://www.yolgbtraps.com/
So there you have it, your backstage pass into what’s happening with some of my favorite artists. Make sure you take a listen to the playlist that’s attached and get to know them for what they do best!
Natasha Dyer / @ilkwhtshesaid