Ecclectic alternative rapper Busdriver returns to Milwaukee to share the stage with recent Hellfyre Club collaborator milo, New Age Narcissism's Lorde Fredd33, Milwaukee's rising star Zed Kenzo, and Milwaukee/Madison master of beats *hitmayng.
Busdriver (born Regan Farquhar) has been one of the strongest,uniquest, and most skilled voices in alternative rap over the past two decades. His verbal dexterity, flawless and frantic delivery, and social consciousness make his music interesting and layered.
At 16 in 1994, he broke into the Project Blowed scene, a legendary underground L.A. open mic collective where artists like Ice Cube, Lenny Kravitz, and Snoop Dogg, as well as Busdriver's future Hellfyre Club co-members Nocando and Open Mike Eagle, honed and received feedback on their art. In 1999, Busdriver released debut 'Memoirs of the Elephant,' launching an extensive, lauded discography that most recently resulted in tenth studio album Perfect Hair on Big Dada Records (The video for one of Perfect Hair's singles, "Motion Lines" -- found in the links below -- was directed by Milwaukee's own WC Tank). He's collaborated and appeared on recordings with a diverse array of artists, including Islands, Moderat, Aesop Rock, Danny Brown, and P.O.S.
Another recent, frequent collaborator of Busdriver is milo, who joins this bill. Hailing from the Northeast U.S., Wisconsin also has a strong claim for milo as their own, as he spent many of his formative years in Kenosha, Green Bay and Milwaukee. After releasing three critically-acclaimed mixtapes (graduating from college in the process), milo was invited to join Busdriver, Nocando, Open Mike Eagle, and others on Hellfyre Club's 2013 project 'Dorner vs Tookie.' Most recent album a toothpaste subarb saw milo find praise from esteemed publications, with Pitchfork saying "milo's own qualities are obvious from his first 16 bars: a heavy-lidded deadpan whose flow calmly lets the punchlines deliver themselves, whether they're references to Arthur Schopenhauer (this album has a few) or shameless fart jokes (ditto)." milo's other project, Scallops Hotel, has also found excellent support, counting Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring among fans, which led to his recent feature on track "Lavender Chunk."
Lorde Fredd33 has also jumped to the forefront of the Milwaukee rap scene. As a member of the collective New Age Narcissism, he's been overtaking the game with renown for insanely energetic shows, infectious beats, and rhymes rich with attitude. Recently he joined his NAN crew members to perform in front of thousands as part of WebsterX's opening set for Lupe Fiasco at Summerfest. His debut, '33: The Education,' has been widely regarded as one of the best releases of this year, and has had no small part in drawing attention to the Milwaukee hip-hop scene.
Zed Kenzo appears to be on a trajectory similar to Fredd33's. In a mere months she's become known for fierce, energetic sets, recently appearing on our own stage as part of D'Amato's MC superset to celebrate his album release. With her name constantly popping up in a superlative manner, Kenzo's first release is highly-anticipated.
Rounding out the bill is *hitmayng, a Milwaukee native who has risen to prominence for his production on Madison-based albums while he's attended grad school in Madison for clinical psychology. His work with socially-conscious rapper CRASHprez has played a huge part in turning a spotlight towards the Madison hip-hop scene, but he also has his toes dipped in many Milwaukee projects.
Check out the links and videos below for more information on each act.