1. Performances: United Nations, Big Shows, College Gigs
Thought I’d kick this year-in-review off with my brand new booking reel, courtesy of PCP. That was the major theme this year, after all: I performed and/or spoke at 25 different colleges and universities all over the country, and 2016 should see even more of that. I also got a chance to perform at the United Nations (read the recap here), co-keynote the Building Bridges Conference with Jessica Valenti, and perform at the Equilibrium SuperShow with Patricia Smith (and two dozen other incredible poets). As for stuff I had more of a hand in organizing, we sold out the U of MN’s Whole Music Club for the second year in a row with our “Page.Stage.Engage” event, and kicked off a brand new concert series: #YesYesYes: a show devoted to consent and healthy sexuality. Endless thanks to the people who show up to these things.
2. Sifu Hotman’s “Matches” Featured on Welcome to Night Vale
This was unexpected, but also very cool. I actually hadn’t heard of what I now know is the biggest podcast in the world until a friend suggested I submit music. They picked up the song, and the result was a deluge of people checking out our music who would have otherwise probably never heard of us. If you don’t know Sifu Hotman, it’s a hip hop trio featuring me, Dem Atlas, and producer/DJ Rube. Check out our album here.
3. A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry
A compilation album of new songs, remixes, remastered tracks, and basically what I think is all of my best material up until this point, the idea of this album is that it’s an entry point for anyone interested in my work. Drawing from Guante & Big Cats, A Loud Heart, Sifu Hotman, and random solo songs, it collects a ton of songs that I’m really proud of.
It also features guest appearances from Dem Atlas, Chastity Brown, Kristoff Krane and more. On top of that, it’s a promo, so you can download it for FREE.
4. New Poem Videos
I actually recorded a ton of new videos this year, but most of them are slated for a 2016 release. Still, here are a few new ones courtesy of Button Poetry. The first one is a new poem about consent; I shared a few further thoughts on this one here.
Here’s a new video for an older poem of mine, “Starfish.” I also wrote up a few thoughts on this one.
5. New Music
First, one of my favorite new tracks; produced by Ganzobean; video by Adam J. Dunn:
Longtime friend and collaborator See More Perspective let me hop on this Star Wars-themed song. We actually performed a version of this at Soundset way back in ’09, so it’s great to finally be releasing something, especially right as Ep.7 is hitting theaters.
Two singles from the upcoming Guante & Katrah-Quey album, “Post-Post-Race.”
A guest verse: me, Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures, Mixed Blood Majority), & Judah Boi:
Finally, another guest verse: here’s Jared Paul, me and Ceschi on a song from Jared’s album:
5. TruArtSpeaks, New Writing, and Other Stuff
A huge part of my schedule this year was working with TruArtSpeaks— in-school residencies, hosting the open mic, helping to facilitate the Youth Advisory Board and various workshops, etc. If you’re into hip hop, spoken word, youth power and social justice, you should know about that organization (including two things on the immediate horizon: the “Write to Be Heard” youth spoken word workshops over winter break, and the start of the 2016 Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam series in January).
Here are a few things I wrote this year. It isn’t all here, but I wrote a lot this year… actually wrote a whole book, but I’m not thinking about a release for that until 2016. Stay tuned. In the meantime:
- A Framework For How I Think About Social Media Supporting Social Movements + Links to #BaltimoreUprising Info
- Spoken-Word Tips and Tactics Part 4: Diving In and Getting Involved with Spoken-Word as a Culture
- Maybe Progressives Are Too Critical of Each Other, or Maybe You’re Just Not Used to Being Criticized
- “A Pragmatist’s Guide to Revolution (Graham O’Brien Remix)” Plus Links About the Effectiveness of Protest
- Protesting the Band “Viet Cong”: Another Example of How Organizing Around “Little Things” Impacts the Larger Culture
6. Looking Ahead to 2016
I have one semester of grad school left. Will be hitting the road this spring anyway, but then hitting it doubly hard in the Fall. If you want to bring me to your school or city, get in touch.
We’ll be releasing a VINYL SINGLE of the Sifu Hotman song “Matches” pretty soon too. It’s maybe my favorite song I’ve ever written, so I’m glad it’s getting the vinyl treatment. Also, the b-side is a Mr. Fantastic remix of our song “Embrace the Sun” featuring a new guest verse from Tall Paul, and he blacks out on it. Really excited for people to hear it.
The new album, Guante & Katrah-Quey’s “POST-POST-RACE” is being mixed now and should be released in early 2016. It’s all songs about race and racism. Yeah. More on that soon.
Hoping to release the book in 2016 too. It’s done; just figuring out the timing/logistics.
Finally, I have a lot of new videos scheduled for 2016 release, including some of my own work (brand new poems plus re-recordings of some old ones) and some other people’s work that I’ll be hosting on my YouTube page. As always, the shares, the re-posts, the word-of-mouth– all of that is greatly appreciated. Thanks again for the support.