Two decades. They've gone by in a blur, filled with soundcheck, encores, album releases, and sold-out shows stretching from the California coastline to the UK mainland. Along the way, Pepper has sharpened its own "Kona dub-rock" sound - a blend of reggae, alternative rock, island rhythms, and punky spirit - while also building a community of fans and likeminded bands.
That communal spirit runs throughout the band's eight studio album, Local Motion. After sharing shows for years with their heroes and peers, Pepper's three members - vocalist/guitars Kaleo Wassman, vocalist/bassist Bret Bollinger, and drummer Yeswod Williams - are no longer merely artists; they're ambassadors of a scene, bringing people together under an umbrella of positive-minded music and collaboration.
“Every single second is a blessing if you count them all,” sings frontman Matthew Roads. You can hear the sincerity in his voice; the joie de vivre that oozes from everything Tropidelic does is apparent. When they take a stage, their synergy flows member to member – horns blow, knees kicked high and grins are passed from one man to the next. Almost immediately, it spreads to the crowd, lifting hands in the air as their feet begin to move. The pulse collectively becomes that of one.
The six-piece band from Cleveland, Ohio may be far from any tropical islands, but that doesn’t stop them from dishing out an interesting mix of reggae, hip-hop, and high energy funk for audiences across the country. Unapologetically original, Tropidelic has a deep and widespread appreciation for music that can be heard in each note. Some of the members are hip-hop heads, while others are into metal, funk or reggae. Each of these genres lends something to their collective sound. “We pride ourselves in being original in our musicality and personality as a band,” says Roads, “but also in not taking ourselves so seriously that it ruins the fun.”
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony was signed to fellow American rapper Eazy-E‘s Ruthless Records in late 1993, when they debuted with their EP Creepin on ah Come Up. The EP included their breakout hit single "Thuggish Ruggish Bone". In 1995, the group released its second album E. 1999 Eternal, which included hits "1st of tha Month" and "East 1999". Their hit song "Tha Crossroads", a tribute to then-recently deceased mentor Eazy-E, won a Grammy Award in 1997.
The group is regarded as one of the greatest hip hop acts of all time. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is the only group that has worked with renowned American rappers 2Pac, the Notorious B.I.G., Eazy-E, and Big Pun while they were all still alive. About.com ranked them No. 12 on its list of the 25 Best Rap Groups of All Time, and MTV called them "the most melodic hip-hop group of all time."
With lyrical skill matched only by his raucous live shows, Prof has arrived on the national stage. Coming out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prof has perfected the art of combining blue collar hard work and unimpeachable content with never taking himself too seriously. His seventh studio album, Horse, due out on his own Stophouse Music Group label April 14, 2023, is set to let the world at large in on a secret that music fans already know, Prof is a force to be reckoned with.
His most recent album, Powderhorn Suites, shocked pundits and industry alike with an amazing run through the charts and streaming platforms. Released in November, 2020, Powderhorn Suites reached a career-high #3 on the Billboard Current Rap Albums charts, #5 Top New Artists Albums, #15 Independent Album, and #36 Billboard Top Albums. What followed has been a masterclass in making it as an independent artist; Prof leaned into the fantastical tales and dynamic persona that have cultivated his rabid fan base. He reclaimed his outlets, going from zero Youtube followers to over 160,000 subscribers in under two years. Following the Powderhorn Suites album, Prof notched his biggest year to date in 2022, racking up over 140 Million streams of his catalog and performing 30 sold out shows across the country.
Listen, breathe. The kick drum is thumping in an offset rhythm to your beating heart and the bass is thundering vibrations through your entire body, tuning you into the stage and every other person standing in the crowd. Lightning strikes in your mind as dueling guitar riffs peel away the fog and a keyboard bubble floats loftily like clouds over it all. Then come the lyrics, messages of connection and grace. Ease flows through the entire scene and you’re awoken by the tingle of resonance on your skin. Do you feel it? This is Iya Terra.From roots that reach down to a magma-hot core of metal heavy grooves, up to branches that reach into a pink sky of conscious soundwaves - Iya Terra is constantly climbing. Iya Terra means higher ground, which they seem to find everywhere, whether it be the top of the latest charts or next year’s festival billing.
Bumpin Uglies knows all about hustle. The Maryland reggae-rock band had spent more than a decade on the road, starting with local open mics and backyard parties and growing into road warriors, building an ever-expanding audience with sold-out shows in clubs and prime spots at festivals from coast to coast, on one national tour after another. Then the pandemic hit, and touring shut down.
After being in motion for so long, singer and lead guitarist Brandon Hardesty wasn’t about to sit still, even if he couldn’t be out on tour. In fact, Bumpin Uglies never really stopped working — they adapted. The group returned to playing backyard parties around Annapolis, where they’re based, and added socially distanced concerts and full-band livestreams. In the fall of 2020, they also started releasing a new song every month as part of a project called the Never Ending Drop.
Born and raised in Philly, crash landed in Charleston, Kevin and John Shields are breaking into previously uncharted waters with their quirky indie hip-hop group, Little Stranger. Between John’s melodic singer-songwriter magnetism, Kevin’s in-your-face delivery, and an overall undeniable groove, this duo is sure to get any audience up and moving. Stylistically reminiscent of Gorillaz and Odelay-era Beck, Little Stranger delivers a fresh take on melodic hip-hop. Every track brings the uniqueness and strangeness that their name implies.