By Rona Marie Cruz
When you are good to the game, the game is good to you.
Consider it a blessing, then, that Hip-Hop duo, Blue Scholars is a decade-deep in the industry. With successful albums, tours and live performances alongside Common, De La Soul and Kanye West under their belt, Prometheus Brown (aka Geologic) and Sabzi aren’t going anywhere soon. The Bridge builds with the twosome to find out how they paint a picture of longevity against the crash-and-burn template of the Hip-Hop canvas.
Back In The Day
Prometheus Brown and Sabzi met each other on campus at the University of Washington. Before the fame, Prometheus Brown worked at the Wing Luke Asian American Museum where he planned and directed exhibits and archived music history for the Asian American community. Sabzi, on the other hand, worked odd jobs such as construction, valet, telemarketing, and DJing.
10 Years Strong
It’s the year 2002. Filipino-American MC Prometheus Brown and Iranian-American DJ and Producer Sabzi form Blue Scholars. The fact that they are really good friends is central to hanging in for the long haul. Prometheus Brown says, “Working with each other has become a learning experience. Our differences never hindered, but instead strengthened our bond.” Sabzi adds, “We make art that is a reflection of a message or idea that we both believe in. Even if we came from different cultural backgrounds, we’re both Americans. We both grew up in a similar area in the US. We listened to the same music, we watched the same movies and shared common experiences.”
The grind extends past the Blue Scholars fold. Sabzi boasts of a body of work that is laced with production chores for other artists—he most recently blessed underground hip-hop group, Das Racist, with soundscape for two tracks: Who’s That? Brown! and All Tan Everything. His recently-released instrumental mixes on TOWNFOLK site provide other avenues in showcasing his producing chops.
Prometheus Brown, on the other hand, has recently released an album with another US-based Fil- Am MC, Bambu, entitled “Walk in the Bar”. The album was a long time coming: the two only had the chance to build when they stayed in Hawaii for nine days. What was supposed to be a three-songs-and-done-type-of-deal spilled into a nine-joint-offering plus a bonus track. Another project, Brownouts Vol. 1 recently dropped, consisting of over 20 tracks featuring collaborations with various artists throughout the years.
Motion Picture Sh*t
“Cinemetropolis: A Visual Soundtrack,” Blue Scholars’ latest album, was released mid-2011. Prometheus Brown calls it an “album in reverse”. He explains, “Unlike a traditional movie soundtrack wherein the film gets made first and existing songs will be chosen to match the film, this album works in reverse. We want every song of this album to have a video.”
Why are all the titles of the songs names of people, then? Sabzi says, “The song title is used as a creative canvas. If ‘Cinemetropolis’ were a film, the titles of the songs would be like the cast or the residents of ‘Cinemetropolis.’”
“Cinemetropolis” is nowhere to be found save for a store in Seattle which received about 30 copies. The album can be alternatively downloaded through the Blue Scholars’ bandcamp page.
Scholars Coming To Your Area
For a musical act that traces many a connection to the country, Blue Scholars have yet to perform on Philippine soil. Schedules have been hectic, and while plans to go to the Philippines have been hatched, they just have not materialized thus far. Bigger US tours are currently on their plate, but Prometheus Brown promises to make it to Manila sometime in the future, with or without Sabzi.
Local radio program directors, your homework is thus: http://bluescholars.com. Class dismissed!
1st Photo – Phil Chang
2nd Photo – Canh Solo