Artist Profile: Blue Scholars

1/28/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Megan O'Malley

In 2002, the Blue Scholars burst onto the music scene with their brand of self-righteous hip-hop and notable talent. Consisting of only two members, the Blue Scholars are simply an emcee and a DJ. Geologic raps while DJ/producer Sabzi lays down the beats.

The two met while going to school at the University of Washington. Both were part of a group called SHOW (student hip-hop organization of Washington.) Independently, each half of group was already establishing roots in the Seattle area music community. Geological had been showing off his skills as a spoken-word poet and battle emcee; Sabzi is a classically trained jazz pianist who worked writing music with ska and punk bands before turning toward hip-hop. While Geological writes the lyrics, Sabzi creates the danceable beats. Among their influences, Blue Scholars claim the Aphex Twins, Thelonius Monk and Marvin Gaye.

The group’s name plays on the idea of blue collar workers. Just as the group displays a social awareness about the community, so do their songs. From their first album, a self-titled release in 2004, it is apparent that the Blue Scholars are trying to make a difference in the lives of all those who listen to them. Unlike the scores of egotistical rappers out there, Geological writes lyrics like, “Teachers, students/Reaching for truth in a self-revolution/The roof is on fire, what's your solution?” from the song “Motion Movement.”

Not only did the Blue Scholars reignite the idea that hip-hop artists can be self-aware, something that had gone by the wayside years before, but they also opened doors for a new era of the independent hip-hop movement. Particularly in Seattle, the Blue Scholars have helped to make hip-hop more accessible to the youth culture. Groups such as Common Market (Sabzi moonlights as the DJ), the Saturday Knights and Dyme Def would never have come about if it were not for the Blue Scholars.

Currently, they have two full-length albums and five EPs out, and are working on an untitled project due sometime this year. The Blue Scholars have become regulars on the Northwest music scene; they have played multiple times at the Sasquatch Festival and opened for Kanye West at Bumbershoot. As they continue to make music, the Blue Scholars will continue to influence youth and the public at large with their personal and profound lyrics.

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