Moving at the Speed of Futuristic: Tempe Rapper Makes Moves to Go National

Categories: hip-hop

Courtesy of Futuristic

Hip-hop moves at the lightning-fast pace of the Internet these days, and Futuristic, a Tempe rapper on the verge of making it big, knows that better than anyone.

In the past two years, the 23-year-old Bloomington, Illinois, native has written dozens of songs, released two albums, recorded enough tracks to fill another, shot at least a half-dozen music videos, two of which have more than one million views on Youtube, and was featured in RAW Cyphers and on the Sway in the Morning radio show.

Leaning back in a chair at a sports bar in Tempe, Futuristic, aka Zach Beck, doesn't seem to have any plans on stopping soon.

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5 Best Jurassic 5 Songs

Categories: Lists, hip-hop


Jurassic 5 are alternative hip-hop pioneers. Their influence can be heard in the beats and verses of mainstream rap icons like OutKast all the way to local hip-hop groups like Phoenix's own Drunken Immortals. Though the band has never once gone platinum and have only once gone gold, their reunion was held at Coachella 2013, and as a follow up they played Glastonbury 2014.

Not all acts with such modest sales numbers are still widely regarded as classic hip-hop. Jurassic 5 will be playing a date at Tempe's Marquee Theater as part of their "Word of Mouth Tour" on July 19, and in preparation for their concert and their first trip to Phoenix in who knows how long, we will be pointing out Jurassic 5's top five songs.

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Local Rapper Futuristic's Video Viewed More Than 1 Million Times on YouTube

Courtesy of the artist

Things are going well for Phoenix rapper Futuristic.

The video for the unsigned rapper's single, "I Guess I'll Smoke," from his released released album Traveling Local, has now surpassed one million views on YouTube. If you listen to him, it's clear he's bound for great things. And he's not the only one around.

See also: Futuristic's Chasing Down a Dream Expands the Phoenix Rapper's Broad Appeal

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Open Mike Eagle Brings Literary Raps to Lawn Gnome

Categories: hip-hop

Andy J. Scott
Open Mike Eagle

The owner of >Lawn Gnome Publishing, Aaron Hopkins-Johnson, is one of the best slam poets in the country, and so it stands to reason that his store is a hub for those interested in the spoken word. Lawn Gnome once held one of Phoenix's most popular open mic nights, it runs the only official poetry slam in Phoenix every Thursday evening, and has also played host to legendary wordsmiths like slam poet Saul Williams and anarcho rapper Sole among others.

"Man I didn't know they used to do an open mic night there, people are going to get confused," joked L.A.-based "art rapper" Open Mike Eagle.

See also: Bacchus and the Demonsluts - Lawn Gnome Publishing - 5/25/2014

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Blunt Club Celebrates 12 Years of Hip-Hop Community

Categories: hip-hop

Jeff Moses
Beetlejuice gets down at the Blunt Club last Halloween.

In the 12 years the Blunt Club has been around it has built a reputation as the Valley's premier weekly hip-hop show. Its founders, Dumper Foo, Aran "Catalyst" Kelly Emerge McVay, and Keith Nickels (among others) are local legends in their own right. And some of the acts they've managed to bring to Phoenix -- such as Public Enemy at Hollywood Alley, a secret Z-Trip show at Yucca Tap Room, and Afrika Bambaata and Digable Planets at Club Red -- are legends in everybody else's right as well.

"Loyalty" is the word that Blunt Club host Mouse Powell used to describe how the weekly underground hip-hop show has been able to maintain prominence for more than a decade.

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Meet The Black Family, Trap House's New Hip-Hop Collective

Categories: hip-hop

Rapper Trap House started hip-hop collective The Black Family.

With eight critically acclaimed projects under his belt, Phoenix-based hip-hop artist Trap House has become one of the most prolific and influential hip-hop artists to come out of Arizona. Some of his accolades include being chosen by Vitamin Water to give a personalized tour of the city and being chosen by New Times as one of a few musicians that should already be famous. With so many accomplishments under his belt, the now 30-year-old emcee is hoping to take the Arizona hip-hop scene to the next level with the formation of what he calls a "hip-hop community," a collective known as "The Black Family".

See also: 8 Phoenix Bands Who Deserve To Be Famous Right Now

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Nas' Classic Illmatic Turns 20

Categories: hip-hop

Nas' classic album Illmatic turned 20 this year.

Like fiction, the best hip hop -- albums that persist beyond the noise of their release, lyricists whose lines take residence in your consciousness long after the record has stopped spinning -- transports you from whatever mundane existence you inhabit and into the world of the artist.

All music does that to a degree, of course, but hip hop does it with more urgency, more immediacy, more fervor. And no rap album has done it better than Nas' classic, Illmatic.

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We Got High With Phoenix's Stoner Rap Wizard, Hot Rock Supa Joint; Here's What Happened

Categories: Drugs!, hip-hop

YouTube via 56thstreetrecords
Hot Rock Supa Joint:
"Reality is stupid."
A hazy night with Hot Rock Supa Joint, Arizona's premier stoner rap wizard, begins with a hazy idea. Let's smoke a joint from the Bob Marley bong. A joint bowl! It only works about halfway, so we give up and give my five-foot BuddyBong a try, so named because it requires two people to manipulate.

Hot Rock pushes back his long, wavy locks and crouches down to torch the bowl. Then I return the favor. We're blazing saddles in my living room, and in true stoner fashion, we're almost late for Hot Rock's gig at Last Exit Live. Out the door we go.

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Legendary Hip-Hop Night Funky Cornbread Returns to Tempe on Thursday

New Times archives
Z-Trip performing at Nita's Hideaway back in the day.
The folks behind The Blunt Club are going old school this week edition of the long-running hip-hop affair -- way old school. The turntablists inside the Yucca Tap Room will spin things all the way back to the early Aughts on Thursday, March 13, in order to recreate the vibe and swagger of bygone hip-hop event Funky Cornbread for one night only.

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Slug from Atmosphere: "We've Grown Past the Underground Rap Identity Crisis"

Categories: Q&A, hip-hop

Wikimedia Commons
Atmosphere rapper Slug.
Minneapolis-bred Atmosphere aptly fits into that "old-school" indie rap category. Since 1989, the group has released six studio albums and 10 extended plays, touched base on some deep societal issues, and has kept a fanbase while consistently evolving; difficult to do during a time like the 90s when musical consistency was everything.

Atmosphere consists of rapper Slug (Sean Daley) and DJ/producer Ant (Anthony Davis), and the latter has produced every Atmosphere record with the exception of a few tracks on the album Lucy Ford. Former member and co-founder Spawn (Derek Turner) left the group three years after the release of the group's first album Overcast.

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