2010 was a productive and positive year for the Great Lakes Bay hip-hop scene. Some positive music and unity movements were key in accelerating the quality of the scene to the forefront. Some very well deserving artists took home awards this year, and I checked in with the winners to see what's going on and their upcoming plans.
ASTRAY - Hip Hop Artist of the Year
Possibly one of the most well known hip hop artists across the Tri Cities, Shawn Grossman aka ASTRAY - is one of the most hard working individuals in our scene. He tells me how he is always trying to improve musically whether it be spitting, singing, producing, engineering or performing on stage. There are few who could match ASTRAY's longevity in the underground market, much less his lyrical complexity in our scene or even the bigger national scene.
ASTRAY has been making some major moves this past year both as an emcee and a producer. He produced a few songs on Swifty McVay's (D12) new album "Hell to Tell the Captain", as well as he involved the production of Pianist/Grammy award winner Luis Resto on his own track "Ballad of Bobby Bouche" which will be on his upcoming mixtape "The Entourage Mixtape Vol.2" which is themed after the HBO series "The Entourage."
SKE3M - Performer of the Year
Of my knowledge of the Hip Hop scene and of all the performances I've witnessed, there is little doubt that I have yet to see a local performer match the energy and stage presence of SKE3M. This past year have been a busy one for Tyran Haulcy aka SKE3M as he's been keeping busy trying to inspire fellow artists to put out quality work and have fun doing it, writing his book "Living the SKE3M," and growing his online radio station w989Radio.
In this next year, SKE3M looks forward to his "The Machine/Subject Matter" the Double LP, The Parker Lewis EP, the Great American SKE3M, plus he has projects in the works with #Team989Music and is ambitious in his plans to get w989radio syndicated!
If you have yet to hear SKE3M's music or witness his stage presence keep your ear tuned to upcoming shows as he has shows coming up from Bay City to Petoskey. You can find more info about SKE3M online either just Google SKE3M, or go to youtube.com/SKE3M, twitter.com/SKE3M, facebook.com/SKE3M or killawitthepencil.tumblr.com.
Phe McWright "Passport Dreams" - Mixtape/release of the Year
If you haven't had the chance to check out Phe McWright whether live or on his mixtape "Passport Dreams" which took the award or his EP titled "Free Thinker," then you are truly missing out on an underground jewel!
Phe is currently working a re-releasing a deluxe edition of Passport Dreams with new cover art and 4 brand new songs. While there are no current upcoming shows he has planned, Phe is hard at work in the studio finishing the Deluxe Edition and has plans to be doing shows all around the Tri Cities - so look out for Phe McWright, one of the new school intellects with mic presence that few emcees can match.
If you are looking to contact or hear some of Phe's music, you can find him at facebook.com/PheMcWright, twitter.com/EuphoricPhe, or by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dj Snakes - Dj of the Year/Promoter of the Year
If you haven't heard of Dj Snakes, then you gotta quit sleepin'! Arguably one of the most active heads in the scene, Snakes has had a very busy year throwing almost 100 shows across the state and connecting with artists across the spectrum.
His current plans have him stepping back from shows and focusing on mixtapes, production, growing his vinyl collection and real world moves outside the music biz. Follow Dj Snakes on Twitter (@djsnakes) or visit his web page that he is revamping and posting more local music at djsnakes.tumblr.com.
M20 Productions - Producer of the Year
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the Hip-Hop awards was newcomers M20, who made the final nominating round in almost every award of the Hip Hop category. When an artist shows this kind of outcome, there is little doubt that they are very aggressive in their promotions. While they are very active in promoting in Midland and have released 3 CD's, there has been little from them in shows in our area as they've went out of the area to Flint, Fenton, and Pontiac for most of their performances.
For this particular award, all production is handled in house by group member Erik Lytikainen aka E-Dub, whom to date has produced, mixed and mastered all of the group's music. While he hasn't been actively offering his production services, after the group releases their 4th album "Back At It" by the end of summer, E-Dub plans to start offering his production to other artists.
Stay tuned to this up and coming group and you can check out their music at reverbnation.com/m20