October 25, 2013

Friday night live at Transistor: HazSolo and Phraim. Sound by Jon Monteverde.

With over 22 independent releases since 2002, Haz Solo has proven that his love for making "Grade A" music is far from short-lived. The hip-hop emcee/producer has been called one of Milwaukee's most creative minds, leading the pack of next-generation music artists who are unafraid to experiment with sound and substance in pursuit of a higher hip-hop standard. His EPs, LPs and mixtapes are praised by deejays and music bloggers all over the country. His clever rhymes are often quoted by fans, and his soulful yet futuristic beats are loved by lyricists and music listeners alike.

Haz Solo was born Frantz Calei Jenkins and raised on the north side of Milwaukee. His father, a firefighter and jazz saxophone player, influenced his fierce work ethic and inspired his musical ingenuity. When Haz began performing live in 2007, he burst onto the underground hip-hop scene with style so fresh, stage presence so entertaining and lyrical wit so sharp that he not only gained the respect of the crowd but of fellow emcees, producers and promoters. Hip-hop aficionados liken Haz Solo's prolific talent to that of Madlib, J Dilla and MF Doom.

The title of his first mixtape, "Nice to Meet Me," proves true as Haz Solo's fan base continues to expand beyond Milwaukee and music artists overseas reach out to collaborate with him. Since his underground debut, Haz Solo has averaged four to five recording projects per year, including collaborations with heavyweights Blu, Torae, Chuuwee, JimiJames, Signif and Dylan Thomas. Haz Solo is a threat to the hip-hop status quo. With each independent release he fills a gap that has been open for far too long, and with his well-deserved rise to stardom, Haz Solo is no longer Milwaukee's dopest emcee; he is quickly becoming the dopest emcee to ever produce a record.

Visit Haz Solo on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Hailing from Chicago's South Side, Phraim wields a host of eclectic and tonal production chops one gets from being a world sojourner. He prides himself on being native to a city that is filled with savvy and schizophrenic music makers, self included. And what better outlook for a musician? With influences ranging from jazz and soul to rock and electronica, his brand of hip-hop weaves together sampled elements, melodic arrangements and pulsating drum programming to marry the gritty with the tantalizing. His latest full-length release, "Kasbah Moments," is a versatile thematic labor of love comprised of hypnotic rhythms that any filmmaker would kill to have as their score. At the heart of his production/performance setup is the Akai MPC 2500. He relays the sampler into Ableton and/or Logic, his current choice of DAWs, which is then controlled primarily with Novation midi keyboards.

Visit Phraim on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.