The art of guerrilla marketing is alive and well in Bakersfield hip-hop.
Whether posting promotional posters on every street corner or hustling a home-burnt CD outside a convenience store, these true believers who know the value of self-promotion are a determined bunch.
I was reminded of that during a recent visit to Valley Plaza, where I was presented with a copy of the new full-length, self-titled CD by Bakersfield rap collective League of Extraordinary Spitters.
Not to be confused with the Sean Connery film, nor a group of salivating misfits (spitting, in this case, refers to the act of vocalizing rap lyrics), the L.O.E.S. are a group of friends and music colleagues from Bakersfield that includes emcees and lyricists LeSchae "Eddie Brock" Wafford, Ivory "Shep" Sheppard, Reggie "R.E. McFly" Anthony, Joshua "J Waheed" Wright, and Derrick "D Ecstatic" Stevens.
"It would be difficult to classify the L.O.E.S.," said Brock, who nevertheless described it as leaning toward the music's East Coast origins.
"Each emcee brings a different style to the table when it comes to rhyming, and we all have our own unique personalities, and that really shines and stands out on our album. People who know and appreciate hip-hop will hear the fusion of styles, sounds, and demeanor of all aspects of hip-hop. L.O.E.S. truly is a melting pot when it comes to that."
That well-articulated description is presented accurately on the disc. Produced between Epixx studio in Bakersfield and Los Angeles, all 15 tracks take listeners on an entertaining headphone ride through the local underground rap scene.
"The scene has always been her; someone just has to create the proper formula to get that recognition our region deserves. Once that happens, the floodgates will open," said Brock.
Leading off with "Intro," featuring live guitar work by Silo, "Inauguration" helps set the tone with mid-tempo beats, bass, and string samples. The lyrics are explicit in the competitive spirit of hip-hop. According to Brock, that's a necessary element to help get across their message.
"The goal is to always be competitive and do what you can to make the best music possible and that's what we try to do. Everyone is a seasoned rhymesayer so there were never any issues or doubts about anyone not bringing the heat."
Personal prime cuts on L.O.E.S. include "Back in the Days," "California," "Kung Fu Slaps," and "Good Times."
The ultimate goal of the L.O.E.S. project is to help establish each artist as a soloist through collective support, with the CD acting as a resume. Take one, or take them all as a group, the L.O.E.S. are talents worthy of your attention.
"We easily get overlooked because we are not LA and we are not the Bay Area, but Bakersfield has a lot of talent. Korn and Buck Owens ain't the only ones coming out of here with great music that needs to be heard."
If they don't find you first with a physical copy, you can download "League of Extraordinary Spitters" at iTunes, Google Play, and all popular digital download sites.
For more information on the Epixx production team and studio in Bakersfield, visit facebook.com/theepixx.
Speaking of hip-hop
Bako rap fans have three eclectic options to get their rhyme on at 10 p.m. tonight with an evening with Bakersfield rapper Leksure at Sandrini's, 1918 Eye St., followed by a rare Saturday appearance by legendary New York rap icon Jeru The Damaja at Ink Bar, 1919 K. St. at 10 p.m., and finally the all-ages "White Boy Wasted Tour" with Saint Dogg, Big Hoss and more Sunday at B Ryder's, beginning at 8 p.m.
Ghoul at Jerry's Pizza
If you can't wait until Halloween, make plans to catch extreme shock rock quartet Ghoul, coming to Jerry's Pizza on Saturday.
Following in the footsteps of costumed monster metal heads Gwar, the un-merrymen of Ghoul tread into similar theatrics. With song titles like "The Lunatic Hour," "Rise, Killbot, Rise," and "Coffins and Curios," it promises to be a loud, messy night of monstrous mayhem.
"We formed in the graveyard in Creepsylvania (Oakland) many years ago, after we were individually driven from our home countries by violent mobs of pitchfork- wielding villagers," said Ghoul guitarist Sean McGrath, who goes by the name of Digestor onstage. "Also, our bassist Cremator had tax problems in his native France."
Since we can't run a photo of the band, visit Ghoul's official website at creepsylvania.com if you dare.
"We are more approachable than we look. I know for a fact that Lady Gaga is a fan of ours." We'll take your word for it, Digestor.
Saturday's showtime is 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. Show is all ages. Also appearing are Goreshack and more. Jerry's Pizza is located at 1817 Chester Ave. For more information, call 633-1000.â
Gary Rink leaves Dub Seeds
Bakersfield bassist Gary Rink publicly announced his departure from local reggae rock band Dub Seeds on Facebook Tuesday.
"I have personal reasons that have forced me to make this hardest of decisions, and although I won't discuss them here, know that they are valid and have nothing to do with my love and respect for my bandmates," said Rink in a lengthy statement thanking fans for their support during his 61/2 years with the popular trio.
Truly a bummer, but proving you can't keep a good band down, Dub Seeds guitarist and vocalist Chris Taylor and drummer Anthony "Gizmo" Rodriguez appear to be carrying on with fill-in bassist Kevin Aleman and a show scheduled this Saturday at J&M's Cafe and Grill. Showtime is 9 p.m. and admission is free. J&M's Cafe and Grill is located at 10801 Rosedale Highway. For more information, call 589-3042.
Led Zepagain at B Ryder's, 7401 White Lane, 9 p.m. Saturday, $10, 397-7304.
The story goes that in 2004, original Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page saw Led Zepagain's performance at the House of Blues in Hollywood and declared, "It's amazing how much like us you sounded. I can tell you guys really love the music." Not sure how much -- if any -- of that is true, but having witnessed the spectacle that is Led Zepagain numerous times at the old Fishlips location, this live tribute to the legendary classic rockers is worthy of some praise from Page. Hitting on all eras of Led Zeppelin's classic catalog, the songs are presented in both an electric and acoustic format. If the band doesn't wow you, the crowd they attract will.