Guante + Big Cats! Start A Fire


Twin Cities hip hop duo Guante & Big Cats! to release EP on May 9
Seven-track album foreshadows a late-2009 full-length

Above the Fold called El Guante & Big Cats! the Twin Cities’ best up-and-coming MC and producer, respectively. Their first release as a duo, a seven-track EP released through respected indie label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records entitled “Start a Fire,” will attempt to live up to the hype.

Featuring the remix to Guante’s 2008 surprise hit “One of These Mornings” (as heard on 89.3 The Current), as well as the tattoo-lover’s anthem “Old English Letters,” superhero allegory “The Hero” and bittersweet love song “Dragons,” the EP showcases the depth of thought, gallows humor and political insight that made Guante one of City Pages“Artists of the Year,” URB Magazine’s “Next 1000,” an Independent Music Awards nominee and a CMJ Spotlight Artist for 2009.

Producer Big Cats!, fresh off of producing Sage Francis’ “Black Out on White Night,” as well as his own critically-acclaimed instrumental hip hop album “Sleep Tapes,” is in top form as well. His production is melancholy, multi-layered and cinematic; a definite stylistic departure from the standard TC hip hop sound.

“Start a Fire” is the prelude to “An Unwelcome Guest,” the duo’s full-length concept album due out in late 2009.

“People always talk about how over-saturated the Twin Cities hip hop scene is,” Guante says. “And if you’re just looking at numbers, sure; everybody’s cousin raps. But beyond that, there’s such a wide range of styles, and people really pushing at the boundaries of what hip hop is; it’s a very exciting time and place. I look at acts like Hyder Ali, Kristoff Krane, our band and a handful of other acts, and I see a community of artists who have a fundamentally different approach to making hip hop music: respect the foundation, but don’t be a slave to it. Push people, both musically and in terms of lyrical content.”

The release party for the EP will be Saturday, May 9 at the Nomad. Rapper Guante and producer Big Cats! will be joined for their set by a live band including members of local rock outfit Dragons Power Up; Big Cats! himself plays live MPC and bass guitar. Chastity Brown, The Tribe, Chantz and See More Perspective also open. See for additional information on the collaboration. To request interviews or additional images, please contact or 612-288-9491.

Guante & Big Cats! “Start a Fire” EP Release Party
Saturday, May 9 at the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis
Featuring Chastity Brown, the Tribe, Chantz and See More Perspective.
9pm | 21+ | $5.


e.g. bailey + Sha Cage direct Poetic Assassins play

What: Sai Werd Ink Presents…
Poetic Assassins Eliminating Oppression One Ink Shell at a Time
When: Friday and Saturday April 24th + 25th 7:00 pm
Where:Old Arizona Theatre 28th and Nicollet Ave (Free Parking in lot across street)
Directed by Sha Cage and eg bailey

Sai Werd Ink artists Poetic Assassins enter the second season of their hip hop theatre production “Eliminating Oppression One Ink Shell at a Time” at the historic Old Arizona Theatre. The Poetic Assassins are winners of the 20009 VERVE grant and are a dynamic spoken word duo dedicated to creating positive change in the community. The play follows the two as they use their words to “assassinate” the evils in the world such as: homophobia, racism, sexism, gender roles, prison industrial complex just to name a few. It is followed by a rhyme and reason session were the audience is invited to ask questions of the artists and engage in dialogue about the complex issues presented during the play. Featuring Verse, B.U.G.S., Crystal Ruiz, Adrian Waters, Jake Virden.

This production runs for one weekend only. Tickets are available at the door. Recommended for audiences 13+ due to language and content.

Tru Ruts adds Chantz Erolin to roster


Tru Ruts welcomes Chantz Erolin to the roster

At only 17 years old, Chantz Erolin is already being recognized as one of the best up-and-coming young emcees in the Twin Cities hip hop scene. Born in L.A. and raised in the Twin Cities, Chantz is a young Hapa rapper/writer/poet, who has been called ‘scary good’ by his label mate El Guante. Jordan Selbo, of the City Pages, writes, “…[Chantz] gave off an infectious energy and suggested his age with goofy asides while belying it with noticeable displays of versatility…”

Rapping for only 3 years, he has already opened for the likes of MC Lyte, Naughty by Nature, I Self Devine, Brother Ali, El Guante, Big Quarters, One Be Lo, Invincible and more. He won the Voices Merging MC Battle at 15 and was recently nominated for an Urban Griots Award, for Best Youth Spoken Word Artist. Quickly becoming a seasoned performer, he also has several projects under his belt, including the self-released EP, Good Company, an album, as he says, ‘is about friends, fashion’s guts, hunger, home, race and family.’ The guitar-based hip hop album, produced in it’s entirety by Cory Grindberg, another young up-and-comer, features frequent collaborators Facade, Cay-Riss and Phonetic One. The EP has garnered praise from peers and luminaries in the scene, including I Self Devine, who comments, “This is better than I expected––I mean I don’t know what I was expecting, but this is good, this is surprising.”

An activist as well as an artist, he works with Hope Community Center, MN Spoken Word Association, The Walker Art Center, Yo! The Movement, The Loft Literary Center, and participated in the Free Media Conference at the end of 2008. He will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in 2010 but until then he will be writing and producing his first full length album, to be released through rising indie label, Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.


Chastity + Guante hit Mother Fools’ (Madison)


Chastity Brown + Guante hit Mother Fools’ (Madison)

Friday May 1st
$6 • 8pm

Mother Fools’
1101 Williamson St.
Madison, WI

See More at Lowertown Commune


See More Perspective at Junkyard Empire’s Lowertown Commune
w/ Primadonahue

April 29th
8pm • Donation

Black Dog Restaurant
308 Prince St
St. Paul, MN

Chastity Brown at St. Paul Art Crawl



In the largest Art Crawl turn out for years, more than 50 artists will be opening, and eight bands will be performing in the Tilsner Artists’ Cooperative during the 27th St. Paul Art Crawl, set to take place April 24th-26th! Over 350 artists show their work in several venues through-out Lowertown for the spring Art Crawl!

The St. Paul Art Crawl and the Tilsner Artist Cooperative present a line-up of entertainment. Music presented by Lowertown Mafia Productions and theatre presented by Upright Egg Theatre Company kicks off Friday at 7pm, alternating between theatre and music in the Tilsner atrium, 300 Broadway St. in Lowertown, St. Paul.

Friday April 24th
7:30 Scott Bergman
8:00 Pistol Whipping Party Penguins

Saturday April 25th
2:00 Jim Lupino
3:00 John Kent and Derrick Lutrell
4:00 Pocket of Resistance:
5:00 Tony Criss
6:00 Wendy Gherity
7:00 Chastity Brown:

Additionally, Upright Egg Theatre Company will perform excerpts of their play “reCOLLECT-A Fairy Tale About Remembering”between musical guests both days. Sunday continues with theatre and poetry readings.

# Art Crawl Hotline: 651-292-4373
# Website: for maps, images and a database of artists.
# For directions to the Tilsner, click here!
# Online version:

Sha Cage featured speaker at MCTE Spring Conference


Sha Cage speaks at Minneapolis Council of Teachers Spring Conference

Minneapolis Council of Teachers: MCTE Spring Conference
The Kahler Grand Hotel, Rochester

2009 Theme: New Literacies: Expanding the Boundaries
Aims: Inquiry, tools, technology, access, cross cultural evaluation.

Featured Speakers:
Dr. Richard Beach: Professor, Literacy Education, University of Minnesota
Sha Cage: Actress, playwright, poet, director,
co-founder of MN Spoken Word Association
Jess Lourey: Instructor of Literature and Sociology, St. Cloud Technical College
Larry Gavin: Poet and English teacher, Faribault High School.
Author of Least Resistance

Friday, April 24 &
Saturday, April 25