Debaser is a dynamic two-man hip-hop group that has emerged during one of the most competitive eras for their genre. The duo, comprised of Ethic (MC) & Sapient (MC/Producer), has spent a near decade of their lives perfecting their craft. The group that calls Portland, Oregon home is also an integral part of the Northwest dominating crew Sandpeople.
Ethic & Sapient formed Debaser in early 2006. The group came together shortly after Ethic had experienced considerable success living & touring in Australia, and right when Sapient was putting finishing touches on the style of his unparalleled production. It was in Eugene, Oregon where the two artists quickly recognized they were a cut above the rest and chose to combine their efforts.
In the early days as a group, Debaser juggled driving to Portland every weekend to record Sandpeople projects with doing shows throughout the Pacific Northwest & recording their debut album Crown Control. It was this tireless work ethic that allowed the group to thrive as they expanded to touring nationally, spent a year working with Epic Records (never to sign with the label), contributed to a prolific catalog of over 20 Sandpeople-related releases, and learned the ins and outs of the music business. There was even time for Sapient to find himself a wife, bring his first daughter into the world and grind hard enough to support both on his music alone. Ethic spent his days working his way up to Director of Digital Distribution at CD Baby, the largest home for independent artists in the world.
Debaser didn’t release their second album until late 2009. Their 3-year hiatus as a group was a busy one, as the two artists focused on the success of their crew Sandpeople and the momentum of Sapient as a solo MC & producer that has laced beats rapped on by Slug (Atmosphere), Aesop Rock, Inspectah Deck (Wu-tang Clan) and many more. The sophomore album, a free one, was jokingly titled “Back to Work” and it received over 10K downloads in less than 2-months. The message was clear – Debaser fans are patiently waiting and they are hungry!
As Sapient continues to build himself into one of the fastest rising indie hip-hop stars through his work with Sandpeople and his group The Prime, which consists of Sape & Luckyiam (Living Legends), Debaser is poised to release their third and best project to date. The album titled Peerless, features heavyweights like The Grouch (Living Legends), Cage, Eyedea (Rhymesayers) and more.
Hailing from the cold and dreary Pacific Northwest comes with little to no advantages on the national stage for an aspiring hip-hop group. Although the area has gained notoriety with the success of rap groups the Lifesavas and Oldominion, the Pacific Northwest still remains a difficult place to make industry power moves. Explains Ethic, “We’re a bit isolated up here and we lack the networking opportunities that we’d get if we lived in a more central location, such as LA.” Gigging in the area has proven to be a challenge too; the next two biggest cities are 3 (Seattle) and 10 (San Francisco) hours away. However, both members of Debaser also see some advantages to being tucked away in the Northwest corner of the country. Says Ethic, “Because we’re isolated, our music doesn’t reflect what’s ‘hot’ in the rest of the country and we’re often considered a breath of fresh air. And due to our geographical challenges, we know we have to make music that is better than what is out there in order for us to get equal recognition. We can’t rest on our laurels and we don’t settle for less.”