Sol and Swift unify denver hip-hop scene with weekly meeting
By Neil McIntyre
Using samples and breaks, hip-hop music was born from all other musical genres. It was the incredible diversity and variety of culture in New York City in the 1970s that proved the perfect melting pot for its conception. Original pioneering deejays like Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaatta were known to play almost everything they could get their hands on, from funk to punk.
Hip-hop is all about unity and while present-day Denver is far from 1970s New York, it appears as if the local hip-hop scene has the unity concept down.
Although much smaller in scale than NYC, Denver’s 16th Street Mall and the Appaloosa Grill host an amalgamation of people and urban culture that represents everything the Metro Area has to offer. Everyone from the hungry thug to the kid from the country club is involved in Sol and Swift’s Soul Warrior Krew — a group that is not about image or marketing ploys.
Denver’s Sol and Swift’s Soul Warrior Krew is all about soul. The group is bringing their music back to its source, to a time before the media tarnished the universal culture of hip-hop, which was meant to bridge gaps, not widen them.
Sol and Jon Swift have been providing a forum for Colorado artists to collaborate for about a year — a unity meeting of sorts. Formerly held on Monday nights at the Grill, the group has moved the forum to Wednesdays in recent months and have been featuring many of the Front Range’s top groups.
The Soul Warrior Krew consists of the hard-knockin’ rhymes and rhythms of Rraahh Foundashun, the musicianship of jazz-trained Jon Swift, the melodic vocal talents of Ron and Mississippi, as well as the instrumental background of Yo, Flaco! (2005 Marquee Magazine Front Row Center Award winner for Best Hip-Hop Band).
The influence and talents of at least a dozen other regular performers provide the perfect icing and complement to this musical layer cake.
Sol and Swift presents the Situations in Life, the group’s upcoming release, is a spin-off of the weekly meetings, going so far as to incorporate the help of local jazz legend Eric Gunnison, who is along for the ride playing keys on several tracks
The album, due out at the end of November, was created in great part by the freedom of the open environment at Appaloosa Grill. Not having to rely on a cover charge to pay themselves, the musicians’ talents are truly nurtured at the 16th Street Mall anchor point. And, the collective has fostered so much talent and fun, in fact, that it often spills into the streets as horn players and vocalists alike line up in the doorway. With such an intimate setting, performers are hardly distinguishable from their audience. Even Snoop Dogg’s band came to jam with the Soul Warrior’s this past summer.
Soul Warriors :: Appaloosa Grill :: Every Wednesday Night
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• De La Soul