Courtesy of Fill in the Breaks, crew member and dope MC Ecid is doing something special for the fans. For a limited time (until July 4th) you can download his album “100 Smiles and Runnin'” for free. You can also support him by purchasing the physical album along with a t-shirt, win-win if you ask me. Stream “100 Smiles and Runnin'” below and you can decide:
Last Triumph is a Minneapolis based crew making successful and creative marketing moves. The sky is the limit for the man behind the scenes, JR. His hard work, smart career moves and carefully executed strategies are proving to pay-off. Learn a thing or two on stepping your business game up from a man living his dream.
JR: Music and art was something that organically found me early on in life at about age 10. It was love at first sight, aww. I started being involved in the Twin Cities music scene at age 13. I was in a punk band called Cx18 with some neighborhood friends and started playing shows in different basements since we were too young to play at venues. I got into the business side and started printing T-shirts, stickers, CDs, etc. for our band and we started to generate some income.
Once I had a taste, there was no going back. I was addicted, obsessed and hooked…we’re still talking about music.
From there I started to meet some industry people working in the scene. One of those people was Ben Obi of Savannah Street Music. He brought me in to do mixing and editing work on some big projects for a record label such as Universal.
I worked for free for many years until I started to get some good paying gigs. I hooked up with Zivix a small music innovation company in Minneapolis in 2009 and am still working there today. We nerd out everyday, its awesome. You can find our products on Nintendo Wii, PC, Xbox360, PS3, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Last Triumph is my crew. Together, we’ve done some amazing things and I’m excited for the future to see what we can do.
UG: TV licensing is an interesting line of work to get into, how did you decide upon that as a career?
JR: Obviously times have changed and the music industry is in a different place today. As an indie artist I’ve had to find ways to do music while still having food on the table. Records aren’t selling like they used to, so TV and video game licensing have been a good source of income. There is a lot you can do with a song besides selling it on iTunes.
UG: You also are a master at video game developing, what was the first one you ever helped create? Which one remains your favorite?
JR: Not a master just yet, but we are learning everyday. The first game I helped develop was called “JamParty –Be The Music” for PC, which then became “JamParty –Remixed” retail boxed version also for PC, and then finally our flagship version “JAM –Live Music Arcade” which we just released on Xbox360 and PS3. It all started in the back room at Zivix in downtown Minneapolis with different midi controllers and us basically geeking out with code and music stems. I’m really excited about our recent version of JAM, as it features many local and mainstream artists and it has an amazing experience at a great price point, (ONLY $9.99!). We’ve also created several mobile apps and an awesome music game on the Nintendo Wii called “Just Jam”. My favorite has to be JAM –Live Music Arcade, as it was a huge challenge to submit to Microsoft (Xbox) and Playstation, and we did it!
UG: I understand that Last Triumph is your brainchild, how did you start it up and become involved in the local music scene?
JR: I just happened to be surrounded by a ton of extremely talented people, its extreme. I saw everyone trying to do everything themselves and so I thought why don’t we start a crew? This way we can all do our part individually to create something bigger. We call it Last Triumph.
UG: You’ve worked with a lot of cool people I’d imagine, who were some of your favorites and why?
JR: This is a tough question. It’s been awesome working with everyone over the years but I have 2 sessions that come to mind. Last year, I teamed up with one of my favorite producers of all time, Lance Conrad of Humans Win Recording studio in NE. We recorded with RCA artist Cory Chisel. We covered a Beatles song “Fixin a Hole” for the Minnesota Beatles project. It was a fun challenge to try to cover a Beatles song, and then mix it to sound modern yet true to the Beatles old school tape sound. Cory Chisel is an amazing musician you should check out. The other session was Steve Greenberg of Lipps, Inc. who produced and wrote the famous hit Funkytown. Him and I were working on the stems from Funkytown to port over to the video game JAM. It was cool to hear his stories of having a major hit song. The video game really exposed me to some great artists. It’s been awesome getting stems from Universal and Sony engineers and then hearing things like Big Boi of Outkast before a vocal take saying, “(yawn), just another day in the dungeon” before laying down lyrics to a multiplatinum hit.
UG: What are a few things on your bucket list?
JR: Writing a book
Continue the food garden in my yard
Producing a Last Triumph vinyl
More mobile apps coming
Community, bringing people together always.
UG: You’re one of the few promoters left to embody the entire hip-hop culture at live shows, what can people expect from a Last Triumph event?
JR: Whether it’s a Last Triumph or affiliated hiphop, indie rock, electronic, rave or acoustic event, you can expect vibrant energy, organized and fairly traded transactions between artists and promoters, live art, video game booths, anything to provide good times for people who come out.
UG: Do you have a fan club, or street team type of group where the fans can do more hands on promotion?
JR: Yes, with social networking it’s nothing for someone to click “share” to a new LT release and share it with hundreds of their friends or followers. Pretty much every person in our crew is a street teamer, you can’t just sit on Facebook and promote.
UG: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
JR: I am going to continue this path and see what happens. As long as I work hard enough to sustain, eat good food, create my art, and show it to some people…I am happy.
UG: How can people keep up with your label for releases and tour dates, or to contact you?
UG: Last but not least, what is your advice for young kids out there, looking for their big creative break?
JR: Set goals and dream about your destination, but have fun along the way, the journey. Do what you do naturally by working hard and making good honest decisions, it will come.
Tavonte Woods is a talented rapper from Minneapolis who is balancing a life of high school, and becoming a buzz building artist. His youtube videos have been growing more and more popular and his first mixtape featured Tyga. He’s got the mentality of an artist, and the skill to back it up. Read the interview with Minnesota’s next up here:
UG: When did you first get involved in making music?
TW: It was around like 7th grade when I actually started writing rhymes, it was nothing serious just fun. But my freshmen year I actually started recording at professional studios after I joined the dance/music group called the Backpack Kidz.
UG: Who has been your biggest inspiration as an artist?
TW: Kanye, Big Motivator, & im a huge fan of his music
UG: Your first mixtape “Tatted with my mic” was just released a few months ago, what songs are you most proud of from it?
TW: That mixtape was threw together quick, it was really just me showing people I can spit. I wrote & recorded those songs to other artists in the industrys beats. I like Dedication, When I’m Gone, Headlines, & House Party.
UG: Who is your dream collaboration?
TW: I’ll have to say Nas, that dude’s a legend! Still killin’ shit!
UG: What is it like trying to balance life as a musician, and life as a high schooler?
TW: Its kind of hard, I’d rather do some kind of home school or something, because I stay up late writing! It makes it hard for me to keep up with school…
UG: As an artist, what do you want to accomplish before you’re 18?
TW: I want to build the biggest fan base an unsigned artist ever had, keep making songs & videos that keep the fans satisfied.
UG: Being a young dude doing his thing, what is your advice to younger kids trying to breakout on the rap scene?
TW: You just gotta be yourself man, speak what you’re living, just let it out truthfully keep it REAL!
UG: Do you have any sponsorships you wanna give a shout out to?
TW: Middle child, Victims of Culture, SpaceHeads, & Miami Social Club
UG: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
TW: I just wanna show how real life is man. Speak what real people go through now a days, those out there grinding through the struggle, and dreaming BIG are the ones that will relate to my kind of music. I want people to get inspired by my music to push theirselves to achieve whatever their dreaming to do to make their life LUXURY.
UG: Do you have any new projects in the works we can look out for soon?
TW: Yes, I have a lot of stuff I’ve been working on. I’m going to be doing a few new videos this month!
UG: How can the fans stay updated on your releases and concert dates?
TW: @TavonteWoods on twitter!
Follow @TavonteWoods on twitter to keep up with him for new music and concert dates!
Like uglegends on FB for updates and more music!
K.Raydio is a soulful breath of fresh air to the hip-hop scene. She upstages Kanye West on his own songs. She has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, and it only sounds better live. Along with being everything but short of talented, she’s extremely smart and extremely witty. She is a woman, who is without a doubt going places, so you should probably get informed about her now.
UG: When did you realize you had a passion for music?
K.Raydio: My parents told me that they used to play music next to my mom’s belly when she was pregnant with me, and I can honestly say that I’ve been passionate for music ever since. The best gifts I ever received as a kid were (1) a Playskool tape recorder, and (2) a karaoke machine for my 7th birthday because they allowed me to listen to music all of the time — and begin to create it. I was always the kid with the headphones on and I don’t remember many days when I didn’t listen to music to cope with my emotions growing up. Music was everywhere and its influence made me who I am today, without a doubt.
UG: Who were your favorite artists as a kid?
K.Raydio: I grew up in a house where artists from Joni Mitchell to Bill Withers to Paul Simon were celebrated. As a kid, I loved listening to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, the soundtrack to “The Wiz” and the Beach Boys (believe it or not). And I’ll confess that I was obsessed with Hanson during my pre-teen days. Don’t judge me. They wrote and produced their own music that had amazing melodies. This is a huge confession for me. But I was also in love with film scores and soundtracks. I kept that a secret growing up. No other kids around me were listening to the score to The Godfather on the bus home from school.
UG: What has been the most encouraging force to keep you pursuing your music?
K.Raydio: My “kids”. My day job is working as a special education paraprofessional, so I work with students with special needs in a really amazing public school district. I have been blessed to work with some truly amazing youth both this year and last year at a previous school, and when my students find out that I’m a singer and a songwriter, they give me all of the encouragement I need to keep going because they place me on a pedestal. To them, I’m already a celebrity and more importantly, a positive role model in their lives and when days are tough and I don’t feel like my music career is moving as progressively as I want it to, they are always a constant reminder to keep pushing. I love them.
UG: You seem very well educated, you must have got some college learning under your belt. Where did you go and what did you study?
K.Raydio: Well, thank you. Education has always been a huge component in my life because I was fortunate enough to be raised in a family that strived for higher education in every sense. I am a graduate of the best school in the world, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’m a proud Badger! I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts with a Radio, TV & Film emphasis, so I took a lot of coursework incorporating race relations, media, education, politics, the entertainment industry, etc.
UG: What opportunities has music brought to your life?
K.Raydio: Music has helped me be a better writer, a better educator, and a better person overall. I’ve been able to perform at some amazing venues in the Twin Cities such as the Varsity, 7th Street Entry, the Cabooze, Honey, etc. And I’ve been able to share the stage with amazing local artists as well. I’ve learned about the music business in a very non-traditional, hands-on fashion and from the perspective of a soul singer in a hip-hop community. And I’ve also been blessed with mentors, such as M.anifest, Ashanti Abdullah and Susan Campion, who have opened my eyes (and ears) to how to make it in this industry.
UG: What was your inspiration for your first 2 solo debuts, Significant Other parts 1 and 2?
K.Raydio: The title “Significant (Other)” was so dope to me because it seemed very natural. I have always felt like the “other” in every social and socio-economic context possible due to my identity, and in a lot of ways being the “Significant (Other)” is the anti-thesis of the “Tragic Mulatto.” I wanted to show that I’m proud of who I am and love the fact that I was born to stand out. I wanted to inspire people to “dare to be different”.
UG: How did you get involved with the “Not Enough Mics” collaborative group? How was it working with them?
K.Raydio: Not Enough Mics Collaborative is a brilliant community founded by good friends Blaire White and Sofia Snow, beautiful womyn that I attended UW-Madison with. They are both hip-hop enthusiasts, educators, and graduates of the First Wave program, an amazing hip-hop and spoken word scholarship program at UW that brings artistic students from across the country to thrive at the university. Blaire and Sofia recognized that there is a huge void of a platform for womyn (yes, with a y) in hip-hop and wanted to establish a collaborative that would serve as a supportive structure for artists such as myself to have resources to depend on with the guidance of other womyn, instead of relying on men in the “industry”. It is not a gender-exclusive group by any means, but it has really taken off. I love N.E.M. I was one of the first affiliate artists and they have been nothing short of supportive. More artists need to know about them. They can check out the website here and learn more: notenoughmics.com
UG: You recently received the highest regarded reward (an awesome teacher award) from one of your students, how does that feel and what do you think makes a teacher “awesome”?
K.Raydio: That was definitely a highlight of this year thus far. I was asked to read a book about the legendary opera singer Marion Anderson for the elementary school kids at Story Time this past week and was awarded the Awesome Teacher Award the next day. I think being patient, empathetic, encouraging and positive makes a teacher “awesome”. When I think back to teachers that meant a lot in my life, like my music teacher Donald Washington in grade school, those attributes really stick out.
UG: What’s one hidden talent it’d be surprising to learn you have?
K.Raydio: I can actually impersonate a baby’s voice surprisingly — and creepily — well. I don’t know how I learned it, but I say “girl” and cup my lips to make songs in a baby-tone. It has been proven to make the crabbiest of babies immediately stop crying. I hope it works on my future kids someday or I’m screwed.
UG: What can we look out for in the future from K.Raydio and where can people be directed to stay up to date with your releases and concert information?
K.Raydio: 2012 will be a very exciting year. I’m planning on releasing four new songs with music videos in the next few months in preparation for my full-length album, which I’m hoping to release in late spring/early summer. I will be doing more performances in February and March and shooting a video for my new single “The Way It Goes” in February as well. I’m also lining up shows in other parts of the country as well. I have an official website that is currently under construction, but until it’s launched, all of my news and information can be found at on my Bandcamp page (kraydio.bandcamp.com) and my official K.Raydio Facebook page. Stay tuned . . . a lot of fun stuff will be headed your way soon.
Don’t let the title fool you, Nobuddie is definitely not a nobody. He’s currently spawning into a Minnesota mainstay with a growing following, much like a young Prof. He’s been very active in the local show scene, performing with the likes of Joell Ortiz, Mac Lethal (multiple times), Culture Cry Wolf, St. Paul Slim, Face Candy, Long D.O.E., Ernest Rhodes, B.Dolan, Guante, Ecid, BK One, Mr. Dibbs, and countless others. His live shows are great, his charisma flies right off the stage and demands your attention. He took some time out of his busy schedule, following his first headlining show at 7th St. entry to do an interview for uglegends. Read a little more about the man behind the glasses who has enough audacity to call himself Nobuddie right here:
Hello, hello! As school has started and my free time has shrunk expect more quick music video updates such as this one and the one yesterday. Also, be on the look-out for a few more interviews in the next month. Up today is “Waggin On The Scene” from Franz Diego’s “Sense of Self”. (you can download previous albums/mixtapes from him and the whole Illuminous 3 crew here). The other video comes from Yelawolf and Kid Rock, for the song “Let’s Roll”.
Franz Diego – “Waggin On The Scene”:
Yelawolf ft. Kid Rock – “Let’s roll”: