The album, "El Guante's Haunted Studio Apartment", is his debut release on Mpls based label, Tru Rut/Speakeasy Records. The album features Jer 1 of Figureheads, Truthmaze, SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE and is a dynamic blend of lyricism, danceable beats, mediations of the state of the nation and a call for action. "With this album, I've made a very conscious effort to reject the formulas that have become so prevalent in underground hip hop," El Guante says. "The love songs here are sincere and multilayered rather than faux-edgy or melodramatic. The political songs are grounded in a real understanding of the issues rather than clichÃ© sloganeering and platitudes. Even the basic shit-talking songs make larger points." From the albumâ€™s opening lines ("my life was not produced by Kanye/ my soul isn't sped up, it whispers unmixed and un-mastered") to its final couplet ("if we are the ones we've been waiting for/ what the fuck are we waiting for?"), this album is about taking underground hip hop into edgier, more poetic, more exciting places.
An emcee, poet, activist, educator, and writer El Guante trafficks in both spoken-word and hip hop. He has shared the stage with Talib Kweli, Zion I, Brother Ali, many others, and was the 2006 Madison Slam Champion. He recently released his first book, â€œShotgun Samurai Vampire Hip Hop,â€ a collection of poetry, song lyrics and essays on hip hop aesthetics, spoken word and activism. Reflecting his multidisciplinary background, his writing mixes poetry with prose monologue, theatre and hip hop; the end result is a whirlwind of progressive politics, gallows humor, social commentary and storytelling. His performances blend the writing of a classically-trained page poet with the energy and passion of a hip hop performer.
â€¢ PRESS QUOTES â€¢
"El Guante left Madison last year to work with Minneapolis' Tru Ruts collective and record the new 75-minute hip hop and spoken word opus El Guante's Haunted Studio Apartment...The new album proves expansively witty, El Guante keeping his snarled sense of humor even when harping on the finer points of art and hip hop. The reliably flexible MC specializes in barbed-yet-mature thoughts about people he sees every day ("One Of These Mornings"), ex-girlfriends ("Spirit Bomb"), and Wisconsin ("Home Sick Home"). " - The Onion (Madison)
"The album is founded on samples that invoke an emotional spectrum, from gentle jazz piano and lonely horns to energetic percussion... Haunted Studio is an album that's sure to put El Guante on the verge of national exposure... " - Rich Albertoni (Isthmus)
"El Guante's Haunted Studio Apartment, the new disc being promoted at Friday's Blue Nile show and only available at shows until this summer, is a megaton bomb on local indie rap, bound to be the heaviest breath of fresh air hip hop heads will suck in all year. " - Jordan Selbo (City Pages)
"El Guanteâ€™s lyrical skills should make him a force to be reckoned with in Minnesota, and his introspective style of rapping will appeal to many of the Rhymesayers-loving fans here." - Justin Schell (TC Daily Planet)
"With a compelling flow somewhere between Common's sing-song delivery and the spoken word of Saul Williams, el guante waxes intelligently about politics, culture and life in general while eschewing underground hip hop cliches." --CoreWeekly
"He engages his impressive musical talents with a keen understanding of social issues, confronting both the dark and light aspects of the human condition. That combination creates a unique and compelling accomplishment." --The Badger Herald
"Avoiding every rap cliche, el guante has managed to make a socially responsible album that is actually enjoyable..." --Rick's Cafe