2008 Year in Review

So it’s been a wild year. Moved to Minneapolis in the middle of 2007 after signing to Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records, so this has been my first full year in the Twin Cities. It’s great here. Been traveling a lot, but it’s a perfect home base. Much love to the crew, as well as everyone I’ve been able to meet this year. This run-down isn’t so much about bragging about how great I am (though I am, of course) as it is a record for my own use– you gotta know where you’ve been to get where you’re going and all that.

Unrelated to that, Knowshun just sent me a text saying “Merry Christmas you lyrical bastard.”

Anyways, a few 2008 highlights:

~Picked as one of URB Magazine’s “Next 1000”
~Finalist in the Independent Music Awards for Best Hip Hop Song (One of These Mornings) and Best Hip Hop Album (El Guante’s Haunted Studio Apartment)
~One of City Pages’ “Artists of the Year”
~2008 Minneapolis Grand Poetry Slam Champion
~Helped lead the St. Paul National Poetry Slam team to a 13th place national finish (yes, Mike, I said “helped”)
~My mixtape, “Conscious is Not Enough” was ranked #7 by Vita.MN readers for best local album of the year.
~Favorite act in the February Sample Night Live
~”One of These Mornings” in regular rotation on 89.3 The Current
~Won the inaugural Dubuque Area Writers’ Guild Poetry Slam
~Team won the Midwest Grudge Match slam
~Team won the Twin Cities “Big Slam”
~Wrote a bunch of articles on music and politics for CultureBully.com (CD reviews, longer essays and spitting in the face of conservative radio hosts), Mill City Scene (on hip hop and activism), DaveyD.com (on Obama, the 2008 Elections and the hip hop community), Women in RedZine (on Sexism in Indie Hip Hop) and others.
~Lots of positive press (scroll down)
~…making a living doing art, making music and poetry I can stand behind 100% politically, philosophical and artistically, and not compromising anything for anyone.

Notable Shows:
~Performed on the main stage at the RNC protest, the UnConvention, the Provention, and Ripple Effect w/ Michael Franti, dead prez, Anti-Flag, B.Dolan, I Self Divine, Rage Against the Machine and others
~Homegrown Hip Hop Fest 2008 w/ Kid Sister, Doomtree and others
~Headling performer at the Iraq Veterans Against the War National Conference
~Forward Music Fest 2008 w/ Neko Case, Killdozer, Mason Jennings and many more
~El Guante’s Haunted Van Tour through Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, West, Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines w/ See More Perspective, PosNoSys, Figureheads, Philip Morris, Ajents of Change, Imperfekt, Il Subliminal and a whole bunch of other great acts
~Exercise/Exorcise and SPIT with Lamb Lays With Lion Theater Company
~A Night to Stop the Violence at the Urban League w/ Tish Jones, Truthmaze
~Opened for PM Dawn at Trocaderos
~Hosted the SUBSTANCE Justice Jam w/ Hieruspecs, Kanser, many more
~Featured artist at ICE open mic, Souls on Display open mic, El Café open mic, SPIT Comedy and Spoken-Word Showcase, Minnesota Public Radio’s “In the Loop” Story Slam and the Madison, WI Grand Poetry Slam
~Green Jobs Rally w/ Jim Hightower
~ACORN show w/ Al Franken (I think I scared him a little)
~Opening act at Muja Messiah’s CD release party at First Avenue
~Headlining performer at the People’s Networking Convention
~Performed at the Palabristas chapbook release party at the Loft Literary Center
~Opening act at the Junkyard Empire CD release party w/ Eyedea & Face Candy and the Abstract Pack
~3 Minute Egg Launch party and interview
~”Return to El Guante’s Haunted Studio Apartment” release party at the Acadia and interview on KFAI’s MN Soundtrack
~Played a two-hour set at UW-Stevens Point when the headliner didn’t show up
~Hosted the 2008 UW-Madison Poetry Slam Finals
~Performed at Mill City Scene’s release party w/ Big Quarters, Kristoff Krane, Hyder Ali and Carnage

Lectures and Residencies:
~Spoken-Word coach at the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent
~Featured Artist at the Explorastory Storytelling Series at UW-Madison
~Workshop presenter at the U of M’s Voices Merging Spoken-Word Conference
~Workshop presenter at the People’s Networking Convention
~Workshop presenter at Lyrical Action Camp, Macalester College during the RNC
~Workshop presenter at the POWERSHIFT Conference
~Panelist: “Hip Hop and the 2008 Elections” at the Homegrown Hip Hop Fest
~Ubah Medical Academy residency
~North High School residency
~South High School residency
~Perpich Arts Academy coaching
~Marcy Open School coaching
~Humboldt Junior High residency
~Dunwoody College workshops
~one-day gigs at a bunch of schools

~Harry Potter b/w Esta Tarde Single
~El Guante’s Haunted Studio Apartment
~Conscious Is Not Enough Mixtape
~Return to El Guante’s Haunted Studio Apartment

~Yoshi. Mach Bike. Moo Moo Meadows. What.
~Lego Guante Manor
~Didn’t get a job because I failed the personality test. Sign?
~Big ups to Lil’ Tijuana off Nicolet and Quang on Nicolet
~Going to the Maw
~Eddie Monkey and Jenny Duck as my desktop background, prompting questions

And Some Things to Look Forward To:
~First show w/ Big Cats and the Band: 1/2 at Eclipse Records
~Hip Hop Against Homophobia: 1/23 at the Nomad
~A collaborative EP w/ See More Perspective, soon
~Finishing up and beginning to perform my one-man spoken-word show
~Competing for a slot on the Minneapolis or St. Paul National Poetry Slam teams
~Guante/Big Cats concept album, “An Unwelcome Guest” in winter of 2009