Ahhh, December. The holiday season is finally upon us, and you know what that means. It’s almost time to bring in another new year! Time to get together with your favorite people and reflect on the good memories you made in 2014.
And while you’re at it, reflect on the good music you heard this year, too. You can start by catching up with two-time Louisville Music Award-winner Jalin Roze at Headliners tonight, Dec. 19.
After performing several shows throughout the city, performing at Forecastle Fest and winning his second Louisville Music Award in the Best Hip Hop artist category, it’s safe to say Roze has had an excellent year. And he’s about to end it by headlining an amazing lineup of Louisville’s best local hip-hop musicians at the end-of-the-year show, produced by the folks at Headliners Music Hall.
“We’ve created a ‘Megatron’ of hip-hop artists for this show,” Roze says on choosing artists to share the stage. “Ten years ago, a show like this wouldn’t have been possible, because local hip-hop has never been like this in Louisville before. All of these artists are so supportive of each other because we all want to represent Louisville as the best city. We’re all in it for the bigger picture, which is why there’s a local hip-hop scene here now.”
“Every artist performing is the best at the style they represent,” Roze adds, and he isn’t kidding. Almost every artist performing was nominated for a Louisville Music Award this year.
Among those performing is Bird Zoo, featuring rappers Jason K, Hines 57 and Kogan Dumb. The trio has been performing together for years and has gained recognition for their unique take on hip-hop. Like Roze, Bird Zoo incorporates elements of live instruments into their music.
“We’ve learned that it’s the instrumental element that gets you recognized as a local artist in Kentucky,” says Jason K about the group’s musical approach. “We want to bring something different that Louisville doesn’t already have.”
Kogan Dumb adds, “Bird Zoo is more than a band or a group. It’s a continuous collaboration between creative people. We’re all stand-alone artists who work together.”
And he demonstrates just what he’s capable of as an individual artist with his new solo EP, Yen AM Dollar Sign, released last month.
Bird Zoo is currently working on its latest project, Zoology, which doesn’t have an official release date yet. But the three new tracks released after their LMA nomination last summer should hold you over until then. Listen at their website, brokenslogan.com.
Alongside Bird Zoo will be Skyscraper Stereo, a group that has been offering a new sound since their first project in 2007, River City Ransom. They are currently finishing their fourth album, Scrape or Die, which will be released next year under Little Heart Records.
“The new album is our interpretation of pop rap,” says the group’s producer, Chuck Deuce. “It’s a return to Fresh Prince and Kris Kross. It’s party rap, but it’s not current pop culture’s version of party rap.”
In addition to the upcoming album, rapper for Skyscraper Stereo, Mr. Goodbar, has released the EP, The Buzzkyll, to entertain fans while Scrape or Die enters the final stages of production. And if that isn’t enough, you can check out the group’s latest music video for their new song, “Ya Boi Gets Right.” Go ahead, watch and reminisce.
“Imagine if The Animals made a hip-hop song,” Chuck Deuce says of the new single. Take that for bringing something new to the genre.
And as if these groups aren’t enough to demonstrate Louisville’s growing local hip-hop, the show will also feature musician 1200, who can be seen and heard alongside the Louisville Orchestra in the documentary “Music Makes a City.”
“1200 is the most instrumentally skilled rapper on the lineup,” Roze says about his friend who has been playing a number of instruments since he was in the fifth grade. And it shows.
A U of L graduate, 1200 has a bachelor’s degree in music education, contributes to several instrumental groups, is program director of Louisville’s Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED), and composes his own instrumental segments and writes rap lyrics for fun.
Clearly, this multi-talented musician has a lot for the city’s musical resume. “I want to bring unity to the Louisville music scene,” 1200 says about his vision as a musician. “When I make music, my idea has always been to fuse genres.”
You might assume his stage name is 1200 because he’s involved in 1,200 different projects, but the name actually comes from the Korg D1200, which is what the artist used to record his music for the first time.
And he’s not the only individual performer with an interesting name. The final performer refers to himself as “Dr. Dundiff,” because his music is “done differently.”
The talented Dr. Dundiff has been producing beats for years and currently studies music technology and audio engineering at Bellarmine University.
All 15 of Dundiff’s previously released albums are available on Bandcamp. His upcoming album, Frenemies with Benefits, will be released on New York’s record label Grand Garden Records in January.
“I definitely want to emphasize Louisville’s underground hip-hop,” says Dr. Dundiff about his musical direction as a producer.
Performing alongside Dr. Dundiff will be members of Bird Zoo, Louisville’s Lazy Sunday, Jalin Roze and perhaps some surprise guests as well, so don’t miss out!
End the year on a good note and see Louisville’s local musical movement for yourself. Showtime is 9 p.m., and tickets are $12 advance or $15 at the door. Buy your tickets in advance here.