Sound Spotlight: Blue Scholars

Seatlle's forward-thinking MCs get independent on their new album with the help of their fans. Hear the whole thing now!

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

Blue Scholars, known among admireres as DJ/producer Sabzi and MC Geologic, are gearing up for the release of Cinemetropolis, their upcoming third album due out on June 14th. After skipping the label tethers, the socially-conscious, politically-minded rappers turned to their fans for the DIY kickstarter program to fund the album, and supporters answered their $25,000 request with a staggering outpouring of contributions totaling over $62,000 from more than 2,200 pre-orders.

The duo have performed with the likes of Kanye West and Nas, but still have yet to receive their due in the genre. That may very well change with this collection of tracks, which explores the mutual influence between music and cinema (hence the title). Cinemetropolis will be both an album and a collection of films inspired by the music, something of a reverse movie soundtrack. Each song (except "Fin," the final track) takes its name from notables like movie pioneers Oskar Barnack and Seijun Suzuki, activists Yuri Kochiyama and George Jackson, former Sonic Slick Watts, and Seattle's Foulee Market. 

Attentive fans will notice a swapping of samples for synths, and a conspicuous absence of the snare drum on most tracks in favor of less predictable territory.With this project, each song, through collaborations with an array of filmmakers, will take on a life its own. A barrage of music videos, short films and multimedia projects are in the works, anchored by a featurette directed by longtime Blue Scholars collaborator Zia Mohajerjasbi.

Look for Cinemetropolis to drop in June 14, 2011, followed by a Fall tour and the first wave of video projects. Check out an auto-playing taste of the album below, along with the tracklist:

Tracklisting for Cinemetropolis:

01. Cinemetropolis
02. Hussein
03. Fou Lee
04. Lalo Schifrin
05. Seijun Suzuki
06. Anna Karina
07. Marion Sunshine
08. Slick Watts
09. George Jackson
10. Oskar Barnack GeP Oscar Grant
11. Yuri Kochiyama
12. Rani Mukerji
13. Tommy Chong
14. Chief Sealth
15. Fin

In more Blue Scholars news, the duo's tribute to the departing SuperSonics basketball team has hit the net. Seattle’s beloved team broke the heart of millions of fans when it recently relocated to Oklahoma City after 41 years in the Emerald City. The Seattle-based MCs provided the music to the short film “Slick Watts: A Day in the Life of Seattle Without the Sonics,” produced by Sonicsgate. Check it:


Keep up with Blue Scholars and pre-order Cinematropolis at their official site.