Summer '19 kicked off with REC on the road for the Underground Railroad Tour, taking us throughout the American Wild West. The squad included Zion I, DJ Cavem, Mike Marshall, Equipto, ILL Se7en, DJ True Justice, Vocab Slick and several local acts that brought dragon’s fire to the mic – plus there were more than a few unforgettable freestyle sessions en masse.
Into the fall-winter season we were blessed to connect with artists following some mind-blowing performances – so grateful to have linked up with the likes of Xiuhtezcatl, Babah Fly and Illuminati Congo. Just scroll south for more info on each of the artists: that means albums, videos, photos and best of all, the REC Sounds Playlist on Spotify.
DJ CAVEM MOETAVATION
Modern-day Renaissance rapping green thumb, Dr. Ietef Vita (aka DJ Cavem), is the unquestionable talent behind the decks and as eco hip-hop emcee. What’s more, he is a farmer, vegan chef, activist and educator on all things food and soil. To learn more about his personal story, check out the documentary GANGS TO GARDENS.
In early 2019, we teamed up with Cavem to shoot the 'Sprout That Life' video shoot inside Denver's most beautiful urban greenhouse. We capped the night at a dope performance that featured Illuminati Congo opening for Zion I, with Cavem at the decks. If you like the video below, you’ll love Cavem’s BIOMiMICZ EP – which dropped May 2019. Sowing the seeds of health, wealth and change, “the first USDA certified album” is purchasable as a customized seed pack containing organic kale, arugula and beet seeds.
And who could forget Cavem's Hollywood debut in Leonardo Dicaprio's HBO documentary ICE ON FIRE, an important film highlighting the risks of climate change, but more importantly, an array of climate solutions we must adopt in years to come.
Hailing from Oakland, CA, Baba Zumbi is a founding member of the award winning, and culture influencing hip hop duo Zion I. His hard-hitting boom bap lyrics demand a future where man vibes with nature and Self to find true fulfillment and wealth. He's one of the rare artists who can mix ancient mysticism with modern language and time-space transcendent melodies. As the headliner on the Underground Railroad Tour, Zumbi's infectious energy kept the crowd on its feet and all heads bobbing.
Stop by one of his live shows to witness the legend on the mic rocking playlist classics and exploring new dimensions with his cosmological 2019 album RITUAL MYSTIK. Peep his new video 'Flame Go' (North Pole Anthem) where Zion I, MADlines and DONBLAK – three of the Bay Area’s most prolific emcees – join forces for the first time on this hot new track.
As a recipient of the 2018 Westword Mastermind award for his work building bridges between police and youth around issues of traumatic violence, Denver's own ILL Se7en (aka Michael Acuña) is clearly more than just words. He fuses storytelling, poetry, mindfulness and the healing power of the beat to reconnect people to themselves, and each other as one of the area's most active and creative community leaders.
Among his closet of personas is Acuña Black, a moniker he used to release a series of poetic tracks called Crates of Vintage Dreams (2018) that speak to the rich jazz history of Denver. For more on his efforts in community organizing and workshops, check out his popular TED Talk. To catch a few silky smooth flows, see his recent DownBeat Denver performance with Brass & Gold Society’s funky New Orleans jazz grooves:
One of the most exciting young names in the game is Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) aka "X," an inspired young super-talent who’s just as comfortable with a microphone as a megaphone.
From Mayan-American lineage, he and his family have been frontline fighters for the rights and protection of indigenous peoples and their sacred lands. Not afraid to push boundaries, Xiuhtezcatl’s art and Earth Guardians Organization activism, have been featured across the media spectrum alongside the likes of Greta Thunberg as a leading voice in the Global Climate Strike movement, which is one slice of an evolving pushback against mass consumerism, corporate greed and political inaction around the growing crisis of climate change.
Just last month we had the chance to support him opening up for Jayden and Willow Smith in tandem with Denver’s climate protest at the capitol building. Be on the lookout for a video drop with X and DJ Cavem in the following weeks and for his first headlining show dates starting in January (First show Mercury Lounge - NYC January 18th) – until then, enjoy his video for ‘Magic’ feat. Tru.
Without question, Illuminati Congo is one of the most interesting and unique creative forces in the rap game – offering a healthy spectrum of world-influenced hip hop beats and reggae vibin’ complemented with a dose of funkadelia. And who could forget the wise, all-flowing vibes of the plant wizard himself: Jahn da Baptist. You know him when you hear him.
Couple that with Jahn’s world travels teaching yoga and speaking about his work as an author on topics from tantra to gnostic Rastafarianism and alchemy. His third-eye ‘riddims’ got everything you need to float off into the Milky Way of your mind. At Recreator, we love his insightful knowledge of history, culture, Eastern religion and of course, cannabis. Not many in the game can speak to the role plants like hemp can play in climate change and living in a healthier, more sustainable future.
The prolific Illuminati Congo dropped three albums in the last year, all worth a deep listen – TIME KILLAZ – ILLUMINATE – and another called LUCID. Catch a few of our favorite tracks in the REC 2019 Playlist, and one sick video for 'Plants of the Gods':
A classic emcee/producer in the Denver area, Babah Fly is known for his true-school, progressive conscious hip hop stylings. If you haven’t heard his beats, they come highly recommended. And if you’re into thinking about the universe, the soul, nature and the collective unconscious, he’s got you on that too.
As a healing arts practitioner trained in reiki, cupping and massage, he knows how to bring flow and good vibes into a dope stage performance. When we caught him at a show with Zion I in Denver, he lit the crowd up with his epic track ‘Stay Free’. That’s when we knew he was someone special with a lot more to say – so excited to experience what’s next.