Rap Reborn

When you think of a battle of the bands competition you may think rock, you may think alternative you may even think folk but you probably won’t think of hip hop. Clifton Del Bane is hoping to change your perception of hip hop by participating in this year’s ‘Burgstock.

The three man group doesn’t fit into the “money and bit****,” derogatory and violent, pervasive rape culture rap scene that artists like Rick Ross and Too $hort have embraced. No, Clifton Del Bane is part of the hip hop scene that is changing and bringing a different message to the world. It’s not about a beat, it’s about the lyrics, it’s not about demeaning others it’s about telling a story.

Like Jason Clifton Says: “Hip Hop is becoming conscious of itself,” and Clifton Del Bane is part of this movement.

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CDB is made of three members, Jason Clifton, Tom Dell and Kyle Bane. The group formed in Ellensburg about three years ago but all three have very different backgrounds and experiences in music and life in general.

Jason Clifton was born in California but moved to Ellensburg when he was in elementary school. It wasn’t until Clifton moved back to Cali during high school that he fell in love with hip hop. An avid skateboarder (for a brief period he ran a skateboard shop in Ellensburg) and graffiti artist, Clifton was introduced to hip hop through the culture  surrounding those hobbies. Clifton has been in various hip hop groups including Hocus Focus and Log Hog with CDB member Tom Dell. Now a solo dad in between jobs, 33 year old Clifton is reexamining his life, planning on going back to school, and wants to “be the change we [CDB] want to see in hip hop.”

Clifton calls Kyle Bane the “Prince” of the group, referring to Bane’s ability to play multiple instruments, produce and compose music. An Ellensburg native, Bane is the youngest of the trio at 25 years old and became interested in music at a very young age. Bane took up the drums when he was in third grade and started playing guitar and piano around fifth grade. Bane’s musical tastes are wide and varied. Originally inspired by Metallica, Bane then progressed to Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes and indie rock in general. Bane continued to expand his music and learned more and more instruments along the way, becoming particularly favorable to folk. Originally, Bane was the beat-master of the group but after contributing some of his own word, Clifton and Dell encouraged him to rap. Now Bane raps on almost every CDB track.

Tom Dell is the oldest and hence wisest member of CDB. Dell was born in Reno in 1974 and moved to Ellensburg as a teenager. A 2000 graduate from CWU with a philosophy degree, Dell has worked at the CWU library for 16 years. With a quiet nature about him, humble attire and laid back demeanor, it’s hard to believe Dell is a legitimate rapper who just happens to be a librarian. It’s even harder to imagine that Ice Cube is the reason Dell decided he wanted to rap after hearing The Predator album.

Still young, but not inexperienced, Clifton Del Bane is hoping to perform more in the Northwest as their music portfolio grows. They are expected to release an album tentatively called “The Catalyst” this summer and their music is available for your listening pleasure on Soundcloud and YouTube.

Check out ‘Burgstock on April 27th, at Prosody Events for a chance to win Sasquatch tickets and see Clifton Del Bane perform live!

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Hipster Hop

Some folks enjoy rap, some like hip hop but only the biggest music snobs claim “hipster hop” as their go-to genre. All of us here at The ‘Burg are music snobs so naturally we love Aesop Rock.

Born with the name Ian Bavitz, Aesop Rock is the definition of alternative hip hop. Not only is he an artist himself but he also produces.

Known for his abstract lyrics and sophisticated wordplay Aesop Rock’s lyrics have been published in the bestselling book “Hip Hop Speaks to Children” and Yale University’s “Anthology of Rap.”

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A frequent collaborator, Aesop Rock currently is a member of the hip hop group Hail Mary Mallon with Rob Sonic and DJ Big Whiz. He also works with Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches in the group The Uncluded.

The Uncluded

The Uncluded

Aesop Rock’s most recent album Skelethon was released in July of 2012 and it’s unclear when his next solo album will appear. The good news is that his focus has been on The Uncluded and a new album will drop soon. Art and production are done and the album titled Hokey Fright will be released May 7th of this year.

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The hip hop and indie-folk combo might seem a little unexpected but Dawson and Aesop Rock have worked together in the past. Dawson was featured on Aesop Rock’s Skelethon and Aesop Rock was heard numerous times on Dawson’s 2011 album Thunder Thighs.

Hokey Fright was recorded entirely by Aesop Rock and Dawson and will include an impressive 16 tracks.

Although the release of Hokey Fright is just around the corner, Aesop Rock is currently on tour without Dawson and is instead is accompanied by Rob Sonic, DJ Big Whiz and occasionally others on the Rhymesayers label such as Grayskul.

But who knows!? A surprise appearance by Dawson may appear at any of Aesop Rock’s remaining tour stops. Aesop Rock tweeted April 9th:

“Tomorrow is the first official show under the name The Uncluded.  Not a public event, but still a notable day for us.”

Exciting news for fans of either artist.

Aesop Rock will be performing in the northwest on April 23rd at Ashland Armory in Ashland, April 24th at Roseland Theatre in Portland, April 27th at the Domino Room in Bend and April 28th at Neumos in Seattle.

Listen to The Flo this Friday between 1 and 3 p.m. this week for a chance to win tickets to the Seattle show. Check out our Facebook and mobile app for details and updates on how you can win.

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