Looking at Arctic Flow Records' Web site, there are no written biographies, press releases or explanations of the rappers' individual styles. Instead there are links to pictures and videos and music samples showing who they are, how they rap and what they sound like.
Akream, aka Jerremy Santacrose, is one of the Alaska artists performing Saturday, July 19 at Marlintini's Lounge. The hip-hop show will feature Akream and other Anchorage MCs Josh Boots and Soiled Seed, aka Daniel Buitrago; and Phonetic, aka Sydney Eubanks, from Sitka.
Local turntablist DJ Judo will provide the soundscape, with local MCs Audio Visual and Ofay joining in.
The event is sponsored by Shaundizzle Productions in collaboration with Marlintini's.
"We grew up on the east side of Anchorage, kind of the more urban side of town," said Akream, founder and head guy at Arctic Flow Records.
The group has been at the crest of the Anchorage scene for the last eight years. The label was formed in 2000 with the release of "AK Blunted." In 2001, they put out Akream's solo album, "Way Too Cold."
Josh Boots released "Cold Weather Survival Guide" in 2002 and "Possession With Intent" in 2005. CD Baby described it as "unadulterated lyrical portrayals of life in its entirety with special attention paid to the trials and tribulations pertaining to urban life in the sub-culture of hip-hop."
Phonetic's album, "The Notebook," released in 2006 on the Arctic Flow Records' affiliate Ice Box Entertainment, is described on CD Baby as "hip-hop, PERIOD."
Phonetic also will perform at HomeSkillet Fest Friday, July 18, in Sitka.
Akream's 2008 release of "Digital Penetration," described on CD Baby as "hardcore lyrical forays into urban subject matter," led to an explosion of popularity for the rappers outside of Alaska and a bumped-up touring schedule throughout the U.S. and in Amsterdam.
"We've always been in the forefront as far as the Alaska scene, just because we stay very, very active all over the state. But I think with this release it's gonna do a new level of interest with people out of state an other countries," Akream said. "I think this album's gonna be a catalyst to bring us to that next level."
The Arctic Flow performers don't put a lot of emphasis on being from Alaska, and the Alaska theme doesn't run through the music in any obvious way.
"I never wrote a song that was just like 'Alaska, Alaska.' No, never," Akream said. "I kinda think world wide when I'm doing music. ... I've always kinda thought bigger about it, to be honest."
The group isn't overly political, either. Their raps might make social references, but are more about people than politics.
"A lot of people take a political stance in their music. I don't do that at all and some people may fault us for that. Not to tell you that in my personal life I'm not very political, because I am. But as far as the music goes, I think sonically about music."
His lyrics are more about "interpersonal communication" and "experiences" and "types of people that you've all met in life," Akream said.
"When I'm talking about somebody, you'll say, 'Damn I know somebody just like that,' or 'I know some dumb chick just like that,' or 'I know some sorry m----------- just like that.'"
"It's more of an interpersonal communication, cause I'm a people watcher, I'm a talker, I'm communicator and that's the kinda things I'm into," he said.
Describing the Anchorage hip-hop scene, Akream indicated a lot of younger people are coming up in the ranks and putting out more and more material.
"It's really burgeoning right now and there's a lot of unity as far as artists working together, doing shows together, performing together and participating in events that are non-profit," he said. The Arctic Flow artists try to perform with the younger artists at non-profit shows "just for the cause" and "to set an example for the younger generation," Akream said.
Ethan Billings, owner of Marlintini's Lounge, said he likes hosting out-of-town performers because it livens up the Juneau scene and helps pay the bills. The costs of travel and hotel can be high, but the acts usually pay for themselves with the crowds they attract, he said.
"People are asking for it, and we've never been ones to be real worried about doing what it takes to bring entertainment to town," Billings said. "Whether we've got live music or cover bands or boxing or strippers, we just try to bring entertainment to a dead town."
Teri Tibbett is a writer and musician living in Juneau. She can be reached at www.tibbett.com.
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