For nearly twenty years, Milwaukee’s Cactus Club has been among the finest live music venues in the Midwest, featuring such acts as The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Death Cab for Cutie, The Sword, High On Fire, The Faint, Bright Eyes, Eyedea & Abilities, Red Fang, Sylvan Esso, Redd Kross, Sharon Van Etten, Polica, Russian Circles, King Tuff, and countless other national, international, and local bands.
Doomtree co-founder, punk philosopher and lyrical bomb-thrower Stefon Alexander, aka P.O.S, makes tight, declamatory music that builds on the Minneapolis-bred rapper and producer’s penchant for grinding beats and radical lyrics. Known for welding hip-hop with guitar squalls, screamed vocals, and futuristic beats fit for a Berlin nightclub, P.O.S steps even further into genre-blurring territory with Chill, dummy, his first official release with Doomtree Records since his 2004 debut Ipecac Neat. The album reflects on the past three years since a near-fatal kidney transplant sidelined him from making music and deals with the the difficulties of trying to maintain peace of mind and navigate through a confusing world which is becoming increasingly more alienating. P.O.S’ production fingerprints are all over this one as he maneuvers through a wide range of sprawling beats contributed by himself, usual suspects Lazerbeak and Ryan Olson, and newcomers Cory Grindberg and Makr. Several friends touch down along the way to offer up biting commentary and varying points of view (Allan Kingdom, Astronautalis, Kathleen Hanna, Justin Vernon, Open Mike Eagle, Busdriver, and Lady Midnight to name a few), but the album never suffers from an oversaturation of scattered voices, instead using everyone’s individual ethos and strengths to build a unifying call to arms. The result is P.O.S’ most bold, honest, and daring work to date, so Chill, dummy.
CRASHprez originates from a moment during the summer of 2010 when he almost passed out from dehydration at a poetry event in Baltimore (earning him the CRASH) and a nickname from the nurse at his elementary school who always made sure to encourage him (earning him the prez). CRASHprez is a navigation of the dance between the dangers of Black skin and the bliss of that existence in defiance of being a target for the world to feast upon.
CRASHprez is an art project by Michael Penn II. The mission is to dispose of the boundaries of what can be classified as hip-hop, while interrogating and frolicking in humanity from the perspective of a suburban Black boy in the United States of America who finds the world so beautiful and so evil at the same time.
There are eight CRASHprez releases. The latest is “more perfect.”: an album co-released under CATCH WRECK and the Mishka NYC imprint based in New York City. “more perfect.” is the second piece in a four-part saga of CRASHprez releases known as “The Campaign.”; “fear itself.” is the first piece in the saga, executive-produced by *hitmayng.
CRASHprez has shared stages with Chance the Rapper, Danny Brown, Ab-Soul, PRhyme, RiFF RAFF, Lil B the Based God, and many others. He played the Revelry Music & Arts Festival three times in a row, and played Freakfest twice: on the Gilman Stage in 2012 and the Frances Stage in 2015.
Michael Penn II is a 22-year-old MC, poet, journalist, curator, and teaching-artist from Fort Washington, Maryland. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN. He is a graduate from the 5th Cohort of the First Wave Hip-Hop and Urban Arts scholarship program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a degree in Journalism/Reporting. His music has been featured on Noisey, Pigeons & Planes, DJBooth, HOT 97, HotNewHipHop, Daily Chiefers, Cypher League, and The Isthmus among others. His journalism work can be found in VICE, Vinyl Me Please, TrackRecord, and Tone Madison among others.