Sunday, December 6, 2009

Canadian Hip Hop Group Swollen Members Still Enjoying Success


"Yo, you like Swollen Members ?" his text message inquired. That's all Epic Man had to ask, and I knew we were off to see the veteran hip hop duo live in action. This is some of that real independent Canadian hip hop music, stemming back to the groups formation in the mid-to-late 90`s. Could it be so long ?

Ten years ago, the debut album was released in 1999 and I remember how this unsuspecting hip hop collective took the Canadian music industry by storm, with their fresh energy that just couldn't be ignored. Swollen Members performed at the Starlight Social Lounge in Waterloo Ontario Canada, this Thursday December 3rd with that same level of intensity that is generally expected from them. It was good to see that not much has changed.

I attended the show simply as a fan, there to enjoy myself and the moments created through the live performance of music, and I was not disappointed. Initially I was skeptical about how the show would turn out, seeing is how I hadn't been much aware of anything new coming from this group in the last few years. Although I was almost certain they were still making music over at Battle Axe Records, an independent hip hop record label that was formed at the groups inception. Battle Axe Records is based out of the booming cit of Vancouver, British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada.

The most amazing aspect about this relatively small scale show, was that the performing artists; Prevail, Mad Child, Tre' Nice and Rob the Viking all made a point to interact with their fans in the audience during and after their performance. No wonder these guys are still selling tickets and merchandise at shows, profiting from their hard work in the rap music business. "For the fans", is a mind state absolutely key to their success !

It is always refreshing for an entrepreneur and music fan such as my self to experience this in live action. The group quickly involved the crowd in all of the songs from their set list, building moments with the audience based on each members familiarity with their music. The group played many tracks from their new album, entitled "Armed To The Teeth" as well as classic Swollen Member tracks off of their previous albums.

All current members quickly headed over to the merchandise tables to sign autographs and talk to fans as soon as their set was finished. For a group that has been around for over ten years, won countless Canadian music accolades and awards they still know where their success stems from, the fans who purchase and support their music.

I personally had a great time with my friends, having way too much to drink at the bar and almost enough to smoke in the alley out back and before the show. Most of all though, I enjoyed the music. Reliving moments from my teenage years as a new fan of rap music. Here are some videos to my favorite Swollen Members tracks ya'll, enjoy.

Classic Swollen Member joints include "Breathe" feat. Nelly Furtado and Moka Only, "Watch This", "Lady Venom", and "Steppin' Thru" and "Fuel Injected" also feat. Moka Only.

Off the new album, "Armed to the Teeth" check out the video for "Warriors", and the tracks "Bollywood Chick" feat Tech N9ne", "Crossfire" feat. Talib Kweli and this nice track...

If you have never heard of Swollen Members, get familiar ! Check these dudes out on MySpace and/or grab the new album from iTunes now.

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  2. Manuel “Manny” Alcantara is a rising star in the world of R&B and hip-hop. And while the music industry remains an uphill battle, the multi-talented nineteen year-old Lynn, MA native has watched as his fan base has expanded around the globe. Manny’s songs have been on the radio and he has performed to crowds that are growing in both size and enthusiasm. But now he is being asked to climb an even higher mountain to engage a fierce enemy…Drunk Driving.

    Manny was recently named the 2009 New England Hip Hop and R&B Spokesperson for the Ground Control Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign. This first of its kind program uses up-and-coming talented musicians to educate American teenagers about the dangers associated with drinking and driving.

    Manny’s association with Ground Control has afforded this Lynn, MA. resident a unique insight into the ways drunk driving effects American society. Says Manny, “I feel privileged to be able to make a difference. Being a young adult I am on the front lines. Kids my age are dying everyday and for what? I think it is amazing that I have been asked to use my music to draw attention to the fact that these terrible tragedies are preventable. If my music can save even one life, then I will feel I have accomplished a lot.”

    I hope we can count on you to help us shine some light on both this amazing and talented young artist and this important cause, in the form of a quote or media attention. Your involvement with our cause is vital this season in helping Manny and GROUND CONTROL save lives.

    Both Manny and the President of the Ground Control Campaign are available for phone interviews at your convenience.

    For more information on Manny's album please visit:
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    To learn more about Manny, please visit his official website and Electronic Press Kit:
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    http://www.callmemanny.com/epk/


    For more information on Illumina Records and Promotions or GROUND CONTROL, please visit:
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    www.preventdrunkdriving.org


    Sincerely,

    Nicole Van Eden
    Director of Publicity
    Illumina Records/GROUND CONTROL
    978-922-5041

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