Q&A with Pale Shade

By: Greg Scharen

Rowan Alt was able to do a Q&A with the super cool Pale Shade. The band played at Rowan Alt’s “Spring Cleaning Part Two” show in early April. Check out the Q&A Pale Shade did while on the rode belowDiscussed is the ups and downs of touring and their new LP “Songs for Disappearing.”

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Josh of Pale Shade performing at Rowan Alt’s Spring Cleaning Pt. 2 show on April 6, 2019. (Photo by Jack Maisonneuve)

Q: When writing “Songs for Disappearing” what was your major inspiration for the sound of it? “Songs for Disappearing” is so uniquely sounding was there even an inspiration to it?

A: I can’t say there was a specific inspiration for the LP but I listen to a lot of 90’s music. The goal was just to make everything sound really big.

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Evan of Pale Shade performing at Rowan Alt’s Spring Cleaning Pt. 2 show on April 6, 2019. (Photo by Jack Maisonneuve)

Q: What do you want listeners to take away and/or feel from listening to “Songs for Disappearing?”

A: The songs mostly deal with themes of existential crisis and overwhelming situations resulting in turning inward and withdrawing. Hopefully, it can offer someone some sort of solace in similar situations.

Q: What’s been the most unexpected thing to happen touring together?

A: We accidentally drove into Canada on our way to Michigan.

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Austin of Pale Shade performing at Rowan Alt’s Spring Cleaning Pt. 2 show on April 6, 2019. (Photo by Jack Maisonneuve)

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of going on tour?

A: Just meeting tons of super nice and supportive people. And the noise complaints, always a pleasure.

Q: Was there a certain item you forgot while going to a gig that gave you a major inconvenience?

A: Our passports, shoutout to Canadian Customs for not detaining us

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Q&A with Ned Russin of Glitterer

By: Greg Scharen

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Ned Russin of Glitterer during his set at Rowan Alt, Feb. 23, 2019. (Photo by Tori Balik)

This past Saturday, Feb. 23, Rowan Alt had the chance to have a sit-down conversation with the frontman of Glitterer, Ned Russin. Ned talks to us about the start of Glitterer, his influences, small shows v. big shows and more. Check out the Q&A below, and be ready for more coverage of the show to come.

 

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Ned Russin during Rowan Alt Q&A  Feb. 23, 2019. (Photo by Chad Wittmann)

Where did the name Glitterer come from, is there any specific story?

Glitterer is the rejected title of a book that never came out, It’s a David Foster Wallace book. It was his final book that turned into “The Pale King” that was never finished.

How did Glitterer start and what influenced you into doing it?

There’s no specific origin point to the band. It was just like I got some new equipment. I got a mini-keyboard, and it came with the free version of Ableton, and blah, blah, blah, you know, I was like, messing around with it. I was trying to write some songs, I had these ideas and I kind of scrapped everything and then came back to it like two years later. In a similar situation where I had this thing, it fit nicely on my desk, I was screwing around with it. I had no real purpose in mind.

The first batch of songs that I wrote, I felt like I couldn’t figure out how to put vocals to it. I was really struggling with this idea. Then I kind of put everything away didn’t touch the keyboard for like, two years, came back to it, and then I just kind of cut the songs in half, dumbed it down a little bit. Then I kind of felt like I understood what the project was calling for, kind of, I figured out the songs mood, I think, and so I was able to sing over it.

I wasn’t specifically going for anything at that time. As I started to figure out, what I wanted to do with it was kind of out there bands like Electric Light Orchestra that really blew my mind because they were doing like, Beatles kind of stuff on steroids. Kind of corny, with synths, really wacky. I was into that. I realized, oh, I should try and do that. I was like, I’m not good enough to do that, so I also found influence in Guided by Voices where I could do like a minute song, and thought that’d be cool.

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Ned Russin during his Glitterer set at Rowan Alt Feb. 23, 2019. (Photo by Tori Balik)

Kind of looking back at it, it’s been a few years, what do you hope people get out of the music you’re making now?

Um, I don’t know. I just hope they get it, that’s the hardest part. Like they actually, are able to physically listen to the music. For some reason, it’s extremely difficult.

The way that social media works, and the way the distribution of information works right now, it’s so difficult to get your stuff out to people. That’s what I’m finding and it sucks. Just for example, when Title Fight started, that wasn’t the way social media worked at that time. It wasn’t directly like, we know better than you. We would go on tour, put out a record, do something like that then we would post something. The people who wanted to access it were able to access it easily. Now it’s like the same people who I think would be interested in this I can’t access because there are so many hoops to jump through to get to them. I don’t want to play that game because that game sucks.

Yeah, no, totally. That’s, that’s so interesting, too. Because you would think because so many people are on social media, it’d be a great way to get all your stuff out there. But maybe that mix of so many people makes it so hard to get the people who you really want it to get to?

Yes, I’m not in-tuned with that world. It’s very difficult for me to understand. Not that I live in a cabin in the woods but I actively try not to receive my news that way. So it’s difficult because I realized when I do that, not only do not understand it, but it’s like, I do something. And it’s like, oh, would you like to boost this post pay? $5? Like, no, I don’t wanna pay $5. So yeah the hardest part is like getting it out there. 

So going way, way back when you first started learning to play what was a big challenge, like growing up strumming a guitar or something like that?

Yeah, I feel like playing music was something that clicked easily with me, and I could, I think that’s why I gravitated towards it. But there are certain things, when you’re learning, specifically, I don’t know, like playing bass, bass isn’t my first instrument, but learning how to play bass, which is what I wanted to do, you had to figure out how to make what’s in your head and make it come out of your hands. I was able to hear something and maybe not exactly be able to recreate it. So there’s a lot of frustration there, I understand what I’m trying to do but I don’t know how to do it. Which is why I think I never clicked with sports or other things. Yeah, I understand, okay, in order to win at baseball, I swing the bat, and I hit the ball, and it goes over the fence and I win. I can’t, for some reason, I see the ball coming, I swing and it’s nowhere near the ball. It’s like, my brain just doesn’t work that way. But with music, I was able to pick it up and hear something and be able to get it out quick. The beginning stages were difficult, but I liked it enough and I felt like I understood enough to like, keep working on it.

Now it’s to the point with piano. It was my first instrument and I took lessons my parents put me in lessons for years, and then I completely forgot everything. Now I’m back trying to relearn how to play the piano again. I’m in that same stage, I know what this thing in my head but to figure it out I have to sit here for like, 30 minutes, press every single key until I get the right one.

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Ned Russin of Glitterer with Rowan Alternative Music E-Board (front row left to right: Gabi Bruckner, Ned Russin, Lily Stabile. Back row left to right: Gerren Sayco, Ryan Farmer, Matt Kyle. (Photo by Chad Wittmann)

Tonight obviously is a smaller show, compared to the ones you played with Title Fight. What’s more nerve-wracking, playing in front of a large scale audience are playing in front of, maybe, 100 people?

I think they’re both equally as nerve-wracking. Honestly, in a situation like this, I could look every single person in the eyes. And that’s weird. with Glitterer, specifically, because I have nobody behind me and I feel very naked. Getting up there and just having to sing is something I’m not entirely comfortable with and that’s kind of why I wanted to do it. Because it’s just like, putting myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t know, I get nervous every single I show ever play. It sucks. I hate it. It’s like, really, like agonizing. But, I decided I was going to do this and so I have to do this. The five to whatever, 25 minutes before the show I’m, like, crawling out of my skin, like, super nervous.

But yeah I don’t know it’s equal nerves. But the thing is, it’s almost, I don’t know, I would never say a small show means more, but a small show, like, makes more sense to me. My interest in music spawns from feeling a connection to it. I feel like when you are able to realize that connection, in an actual way, it’s that much more meaningful. The shows that got me excited when I was a kid and made me want to do this, like forever, where shows with like 50 to 100 people. You know, you could make eye contact with a band and you could see them and it was a real thing. That’s not to say that big shows aren’t important or cool and it’s like I’ve seen big shows, I played shows, that felt really, I don’t know, amazing and great. They were fulfilling and I like to think that people were fulfilled but there becomes a disconnect when you can’t look everybody in the eye.

Just wrapping up, what are you listening to right now? Do you have any cool recommendations maybe outside of the box stuff?

I really like from the end of last year, I like the new Tony Molina record a lot, Girpool put out a record like the beginning of this month. There’s a band called One Step Closer from my Wilkes Barre, where I’m from, and they put out a new record on triple B that’s really cool and I’m excited for those kids. I don’t know there’s a lot of music going. Those are the hardest questions there’s a lot of really cool stuff going on right now.

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Greg Scharen (left) and Ned Russin (right) after their interview for Rowan Alt on Feb. 23, 2019. (Photo by Chad Wittmann)

 

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Rowan Alt’s Music of 2018 According to Spotify

By: Greg Scharen

Another year is drawing to a close and for us music people that means a time of reflecting. 2018 saw numerous mega stars release albums such as Drake, Travis Scott, Arianna Grande and Post Malone. Numerous of our favorite alternative artist released music also such as The Story So Far, Wallows and BROCKHAMPTON.

But which artists and what songs were the clubs favorite?

Well, thanks to Spotify’s Wrapped we can know who everyone was listening to. Check out who we were listening to and see if it matches who you were listening to!

President Lily Stabile:

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Check out Lily’s favorite artist The Menzingers

Vice President Gabi Bruckner:

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BROCKHAMPTON!!!!!

Secretary Gerren Sayco:

Gerren

TSSF

Treasurer Matt Kyle:

Matt

Monkeys that live in the Artic

Senator Ryan Farmer: 

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Waaaaalllllooooooows

Lead of Photos Chad Wittmann:

Chad

REX

WordPress Lead Greg Scharen:

Greg

Young Fel

 

Let us know who you were listening to the most in 2018 and who you’re looking most forward to in 2019!

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Rowan Alternative Music’s 2nd Annual Halloween Bash

Doors @ 8:00
Music @ 8:30

Text this number (856)-422-5299 for the address

$5 @ door.

Costumes are WELCOMED and very much encouraged. It’s gonna be a good one!

We have some awesome bands for ya, here’s a bit about them:

The Spins are an indie/alternative rock band from Northern New Jersey. They released their latest EP “Tank’d” last year. Check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/thespinsareaband

Use Big Words is a three piece indie math rock band featuring Joseph Ufer on guitar, Alex Kritz on bass, and Raymond Bonanno on drums/vocal. They pride themselves on their “non-GMO, organic, vegan, greek, soy, cage-free music.” Check them out here: https://usebigwords.bandcamp.com.

Nematode is a progressive rock band started by Aaron Mughannam, Larry Flatley, Kazim Zaidi, and Mike Downey in West Philadelphia. Nematode has a spacey, psychedelic, synth-driven sound influenced by artists such as Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and Tame Impala. They released their newest single, “Bugs,” just a few days ago. “Nematode is an artful, whimsical culmination of their creative energies,” as stated on the band’s Spotify page. Check out “Bugs” here: https://nematodepa.bandcamp.com/releases

Beauty is a newly formed three piece power-pop band featuring Deaglan Howlett on guitar/vocals, Nic Palermo on bass/backup vocals, and Owen Flanagan on drums/percussion. Their self-titled EP came out just this past summer. Take a listen on https://beautylovesyou.bandcamp.com/releases.

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Album Review: Proper Dose by The Story So Far

By: Greg Scharen

Northern California rockers, The Story So Far, released their fourth album Proper Dose for Pure Noise Records, two weeks ago… and the album slaps.

Proper Dose is an 11-track album and the band’s first album since 2015’s self-titled. The band released the first single, Out of Itin the fall of 2017 and teased the album for the entirety of 2018. The album really has a more soft sound to it, and it seems as though the guys are breaking away from their pop-punk roots. However, this is not a bad thing, lead singer Parker Cannon, really seems to be advancing in his vocal work and it really shows on the album.

My Top Three Songs:

  1. Upside Down– One of the early releases of Proper Dose, ‘Upside Down’ has a super catchy chorus that brings the song together. The emotion in Cannon’s voice really comes through in this song and makes the listener feel the words he is saying.
  2. Growing On You– A song that really challenges the idea of what a “Story So Far” song should sound like. Cannon’s vocals go to a place unheard of on from past albums. It isn’t necessarily the best song on the album but its the most change sound wise, which is interesting.
  3. Take Me As You Please– Another early released song, ‘Take Me As You Please’ is a similar sounding song from Story’s past. However, it’s a mixture of their new sound of rock n’ roll and their past pop-punk sound. It’s a very interesting song and one of the best on the album.

I would highly recommend Proper Dose to anyone who likes rock, alternative, and pop-punk music, I listened to it for a week straight!

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Rowan Alt Psychadelic Show: Before the Storm

Rowan Alt

On April 14, come out to Rowan Alt’s psychedelic house show. We will have four awesome acts at this show:  Sugar Trip, Baby Seals, Nematode and Baron Praxis. The music will start at 9 p.m. with doors opening at 8:30 p.m. $5 admission! Please message us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram OR text (856)-553-5899 for the address of the show.

Nematode: “Nematode is a progressive rock band started by Aaron Mughannam, Larry Flatley, Kazim Zaidi, and Mike Downey in West Philadelphia. Nematode has a spacey, psychedelic, synth-driven sound influenced by artists such as Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and Tame Impala. The band is currently in the studio churning out new material and mixing and mastering existing tracks. They released their first single “Be Free” on February 1 and are releasing their first full-length album “Meridian” later this year. From middle school symphonic bands to high school garage rock, every member of Nematode has over a decade of experience with music and have solo material that they produce themselves. Nematode is an artful, whimsical culmination of their creative energies,” as stated on the band’s Spotify page.

Baby Seals: A psych jazz fusion band from Red Bank N.J. Baby Seals will close the show. The band is made up of John Murray (guitar and bass), Joey Sullivan (drums) and Cosmo Gallaro (keyboard). The Seals released a five-song EP in the spring of 2016 and have been playing shows since, check out the first jam on the album, “Souvenir.”

Sugar Trip: An indie rock group from Howell, N.J. The group is comprised of Justin Lombardo (vocals and guitar), Eriks Grinvalds (guitar), Matt Goldstein (bass) and Mike Pietropollo (drums). They released their album “Canvas” in Jan. of 2018. Sound description? Really chill, but still can get aggressive at parts. Our recommendations? Check out “Bad World” and “Unraveled”.

Baron Praxis: A grunge rock band with 90’s elements and psychedelic influences hailing from Toms River, New Jersey. The band’s members are: Ralph Heuser (vocals and rhythm guitar), Brian Santos (supporting-vocals and bass), Michael Heuser (drums), Jon Smith (lead guitar.)

Rowan Alternative Music will be capturing photos, images, and interviews of the bands at the show so keep updated on rowanalternativeblog.wordpress.com.

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Rowan Alt Start of Spring Show: Before the Storm

IMG_3393On March 2nd, Rowan Alternative Music will be having its first show of the spring semester! The show will promptly start at 8:30 p.m. with admission being $5, message the host for the address.

The show will have four bands on the card: Sugar Trip, The Rareflowers, Lowercase People and Indrive.

Sugar Trip: An indie rock group from Howell, N.J. The group is comprised of Justin Lombardo (vocals and guitar), Eriks Grinvalds (guitar), Matt Goldstein (bass) and Mike Pietropollo (drums). They released their album “Canvas” in Jan. of 2018. Sound description? Really chill but can get aggressive at parts. Our recommendation? Check out “Bad World” and “Unraveled”.

The Rareflowers: An indie pop group from New Brunswick N.J., The Rareflowers have an upbeat sound that is really fun to listen to. The three-piece is made up of Jimmy Maraday (vocals and guitar), Aaron Gollubier (drums) and Kane (vocals and bass). They have two songs out on their Bandcamp so check them out.

Lowercase People: This two-man group is on the rise, consisting of Noah Saunders (keyboards and words) and Tommy McKelvey (drums and programming). You can check out their two singles on Spotify now.

Indrive: A Rowan Alt. returner, Indrive will also headline the show. Indrive is a punk band from Howell, N.J. The three-piece band is comprised of Aaron Brenner (guitar), Isaac Harasty (bass) and Nick DeFabritus (drums and vocals). Indrive have three songs on their Bandcamp, all from their “Nice Dream” album which was released in Dec. of 2017.
Rowan Alternative Music will be capturing photos, and interviews of the bands at the show so keep updated on rowanalternativeblog.wordpress.com.

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Album Review: Black Panther

A cohesive, polished effort by Kendrick Lamar that feels like the closest thing to a TDE album.

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By Remy Desai-Patel

It’s safe to say that the “Black Panther” movie soundtrack has been hyped.  As soon as it was revealed the whole effort would be exclusively masterminded by Kendrick Lamar, the buzz started to generate. Once the track list was revealed, music fans collectively lost their minds. This music work was expected to be fantastic in every imaginable way.

The question is, did the album live up to the hype?

A simple answer would be it absolutely did for what it is. The most important thing to remember is that this is a soundtrack, not an album. It doesn’t follow a concept. It is a musical project for a movie, meaning every song is separate and essentially are not connected, while Kendrick is present on almost every one in some form. That being said, “Black Panther The Album” is a very well-built collection and Kendrick Lamar brings out the best in every single artist featured on the album.

The titular song “Black Panther” is a great prelude for what is to come. It’s also one of the most laid-back songs on the soundtrack, with Kendrick Lamar on his best level. “Black Panther” is followed by the song currently doing well on the charts, “All the Stars”. The song has every right to be huge right now, as SZA’s powerful vocals entwine effectively with Kendrick Lamar’s flow and rap style.

Interestingly enough, the song is followed by one of the hardest songs on the list, which is “X”. Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q is personally one of my favorite duos I love hearing in songs and this one is no different. A superb beat with excellent work from Q, Kendrick, and an interesting inclusion of 2 Chainz who fits in perfectly. Saudi, a rapper from South Africa, is also present as the first verse of the song while adding an interesting personality to varied cast of characters.

blackpantherKhalid heads the song “The Ways” along with Swae Lee of Rae Shremmurd. Known for being one of the biggest artists to blow up in 2017, Khalid does what he does best on the song by adding his usual chill yet emotional R&B vocals. Swae Lee also adds singing vocals to the track, albeit much higher pitched than Khalid.

Opps”, the fastest paced track, is next. Giving the song to Vince Staples (one of my personal favorite rappers) was a perfect choice and he rides the beat impeccably. The song features Yugen Blakrok, from Johannesburg, who I definitely hadn’t heard of before hearing this song. However, like Vince, she puts in a decent performance.

Jorja Smith, who was famously on Drake’s 2017 album More Life, is next on “I Am”. The song, similar to “The Ways”, is another R&B style slow jam and Jorja’s vocals are almost hypnotic yet still hard hitting.

The second half of the soundtrack begins one of the most popular songs on the whole joint, “Paramedic!” SOB X RBE, a rap group from Vallejo, CA., are excellent on the song and add a different type of mood, the track almost meant to be something bumped while slow riding in cars. The tune has an infectious beat reminiscent of typical Bay Area music and the song as a whole should put SOB X RBE in the mainstream light.

Bloody Waters” is one of the most interesting songs, in terms of the artists included. Ab-Soul, Anderson .Paak, and James Blake combine to create a strangely vibey tune. While the track is hip hop, Anderson .Paak’s vocals are distinguished yet familiar. Ab-Soul himself seems back to his best self on the song and a small cameo from James Blake is refreshing.

One of the most talked about songs on “Black Panther”, is “King’s Dead” with one of the main reasons being Future’s verse. While Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, and James Blake are substantial, Future’s part was legendary for the wrong reasons. “La di da di da, slob on me knob” will live down in infamy as a ridiculous in-a-bad-way Future line. It’s laughably bad and sounds like something a pervy version of Mr. Krabbs from SpongeBob would say. When hearing the line, it completely took me out of the rest of the song and physically made me laugh out loud. Yes, I’ll give credit where credit where credit is due; the line references two old school hip hop songs, “La Di Da Di” by Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh as well as “Slob On My Knob” by Three Six Mafia. That being said, it is still an absurd line and I, for sure, will never forget it.

Redemption Interlude” and “Redemption” go hand in hand. The interlude is a good build up to a dancehall style track. Zacari, famously on the song “LOVE” on Kendrick Lamar’s album “DAMN”, chips in poppy vocals that add to the tropical sounding tune. Featured on the track is another South African artist, Babes Wodumo who sings in her native Zulu language.

Seasons” succeeds “Redemption” and it is another smooth tropical type song. Sjava, also South African, sounds wonderful with his crisp vocals in Zulu. Mozzy is interestingly included on the track. While it’s not a huge surprise he’s on the album considering Kendrick Lamar did shout out the Sacramento born rapper at the Grammys, this song sounds different from the type of music Mozzy normally makes. Yet he still makes it work, rapping about his struggles in a short few but decent bars. Reason caps off the song rapping much less relaxed than Mozzy does but is equally personal.

The last two songs of “Black Panther The Album” are some of the quirkiest tracks. “Big Shot” is the party song of the whole soundtrack. The instrumental is fun loving and the inclusion of Travis Scott makes absolute sense, considering the beat sounds like something Travis Scott absolutely would croon over with his usual autotuned efforts.

While Kendrick borrows the chorus from his feature on Rich the Kid’s “New Freezer” it’s still a pretty solid effort nonetheless. Travis Scott, however, shines the most. His rapping and flow almost throw back perfectly to his “Days Before Rodeo” and “Owl Pharaoh EP” days. The bookend of the album “Pray For Me”, similarly to “All The Stars”, is another earworm that is rising on the charts. Synth and drums heavy, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar go together extremely suitably in a fantastic sounding jam many will be playing on repeat for weeks, possibly even months, to come.

 

Biggest takeaways

  • Overall a solid project from Kendrick Lamar and Top Dog Entertainment
  • The inclusion of South African artists (Saudi, Babes Wodumo, Sjava, Yugen Blakrok) as well as somewhat under the radar artists (SOB X RBE, Mozzy, Jorja Smith) is masterfully done
  • Everyone on the album puts in their best and is used to their best strengths
  • Future, what were you thinking?
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Artist Review: Mozzy

mozzy

By: Remy Desai-Patel

“As my guy Mozzy say, you know, “’God up top’.” Kendrick Lamar began with these words in his speech for accepting the Grammy for Best Rap Album last month. While many were unaware who he was referencing, it came as a surprise to many hip hop listeners to hear one of rap’s biggest stars give a nod to an under the radar rapper.

However, Mozzy has gained a great amount of buzz in the Bay Area the past three years.

Like many rappers, Mozzy (born Timothy Patterson) didn’t have the best upbringing. Growing up around gangs and hardship in Sacramento, he began rapping at the age of 11. Originally beginning with the name “Lil’ Tim”, Mozzy has released a number of mixtapes and albums in the span of a few years. His old life in Sacramento followed him, as he was arrested several times during his teenage years and eventually serving a prison sentence in 2014. Once he was released, he started to take music more seriously and his work paid off, getting a taste of the limelight with his 2015 album “Bladahdah” which was considered one of the best albums of 2015, with the titular single “Bladahdah” making waves in the hip-hop community. Soon enough, Mozzy would end up working with other well-known California rappers such as YG and E40. Eventually, he became one of the biggest rappers in Northern California while becoming the newest representation of Sacramento’s hip-hop scene.
Will this be the year when Mozzy reaches mainstream success? It could be. Getting a shout out from Kendrick Lamar as well as appearing on the Black Panther soundtrack could definitely work in his favor. Mozzy’s 2017 album “1 Up Top Akh” was well received by the rap community. The album is a great starter for anyone who wants to be acclimated to Mozzy’s style. Portraying an unforgiving look on his upbringing with a sound familiar to California, Mozzy doesn’t pull back on his punches. His distinct voice yet simple flows go hand in hand over Bay Area type beats and instrumentals. Several features are included on the album from other rappers like Jay Rock, Dave East, Lil Durk, and YFN Lucci, who have all rose in the hip-hop world in their own right. While Los Angeles has been the city for rap in California, Mozzy is definitely one of the lists of artists bringing NorCal to the forefront. For Mozzy, the only direction for his career to go is up.

Stand out songs by Mozzy:

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The Second Rowan Alt Unplugged: Before The Storm

This Sunday, February 11th, Rowan Alternative Music is hosting our second Unplugged event! This one is Valentine’s Day themed so bring your anti-valentine wear and maybe an average date. Doors open at 8. For address text 973-908-3874 (or contact any of our social media @RowanAltMusic.) Entry fee is $2, and includes a free voucher for coffee or tea! Facebook link to RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/159212294733524/

Come out and chill with Rowan Alt. It should be a blast and a half!

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