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KnowMads have been a staple in the Seattle music scene for almost a decade. Following the conscious wave of “Seattle hip hop” created by the likes of Blue Scholars and Macklemore, KnowMads found their own local success in their teens and went on to tackle major Northwest festivals, Bumbershoot and Sasquatch, where they drew thousands of supporters.
KnowMads are truly independent, without representation from a label, management or booking agency and yet they have still managed to amass over 75,000 monthly Spotify listeners and a diehard fan base that continues to grow with each successive release. Years of unflinching dedication to their art granted KnowMads the opportunity to tour over 40 cities last year, including 8 shows in Europe, bringing their live show to their now international fan base, from London to Berlin.
This past Fall, KnowMads released their most recent album, Complex Animals, before making their debut on the East Coast, touring from Chicago to Toronto to New York City and more. Returning to Seattle in the Winter, KnowMads sold out a 500-capacity venue, making it their biggest local headlining show to date. Additionally, Seattle’s internationally acclaimed radio station, KEXP, took note of their new project, hosting them for a “Live on KEXP” in-studio performance.
To start off 2019, KnowMads spent two months writing and recording in Mexico City. Subsequently KnowMads toured the Southwest, making their debuts in Dallas and Phoenix. They recently dropped a video for their first single “The Renaissance” off of their latest project, Rain on Your Parade. This song was also chosen by Spotify to be included on their “Rap Skills” editorial playlist, along with 70 other hip hop artists ranging from Tyler The Creator to Logic and Eminem.
Common Market is the creative collaboration between emcee RA Scion (RAH SIGH-ON) and DJ/Producer Sabzi (SAHB-ZEE [Blue Scholars / Made In Heights / TownFolk]). The duo first connected in 2003, when Sabzi provided RA with two standout instrumental tracks for the debut album, ‘Live & Learn;’ by 2004, the pair had recorded enough material to release an album of their own, which they simply titled ‘Common Market.’
The music captured the attention and garnered the endorsement of hiphop icon KRS-ONE. On October 24, 2005, Common Market hosted a record release party at Seattle’s famed Chop Suey, where they delivered an historic live performance of “Doors” together with KRS.
The self-titled album was re-mastered and re-released in 2006, and featured guest appearances by emcees Geologic (AKA Geo / Prometheus Brown) and Gabriel Teodros; together with Sabzi, the four artists formed MassLine Media that same year.
In early 2008, Common Market released the ‘Black Patch War’ EP, immediately followed by the full-length album ‘Tobacco Road,’ their most critically acclaimed body of work to-date. In late 2009, the duo dropped a short, digital-only project titled ‘The Winter’s End,’ an allusion to the finality of the artistic collaboration.
Then, on July 19, 2019, a new collection of Common Market songs appeared on various streaming services under the title ‘Triple Crown EP,’ which features RA Scion rapping over three beats from Sabzi’s ‘ ‘SOUFEND’ instrumental offering on bandcamp.
RA has alluded to a forthcoming, full-length album titled ‘PEGASUS PARADE;’ no word on an official release date for the project.
All Star Opera:
Based out of Seattle, All Star Opera at surface level is a Hip-Hop/Soul band.
Listen a little closer and one will find a collective of artists balancing a diversity of talents and influences. Two emcees, Flow Carter and Oz + a four-piece band play back and forth creating a vivid sound migrating between genres with both attitude and grace. This is Hip-Hop. This is Soul. This is a collective experience being channeled by a band of brothers in groove. This is a full moon in the middle of the day. Or as the six-fingered beast says, this is All Star Opera.
Carla Bell wrote in June 2018 for the Tacoma News-Tribune:
“Take Miles Davis and hope, Anthony Kiedis and a journey, Kahlua and cream and confidence, your best Nicaraguan cigar and slippers, a cozy, dimly lit corner booth, a soft rain Sunday afternoon and Weezer, a little heated massage oil and Black Thought and those hanging, beaded room dividers.
Now, pour that in your ear.
With a sound just that distinct yet familiar but also fresh, All Star Opera is like a new old friend.”
She’s not wrong.
All Star Opera is the nexus where groovy, meets a rock star hustle; for the last two years the six-fingered beast has been tearing through the Pacific Northwest music scene. Since dropping their debut EP (2016) + LP (2017), the band has played 50+ shows all over the western United States, unleashing the magic at clubs, parties and many notable music festivals. To top it off, All Star Opera was voted Seattle Weekly’s ‘Best Band in Seattle’ 2017. With ASO the goals are simple, make great music and have fun while doing it.