3rd Party
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3rd Party

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""A Collective With Soul" (Review of "Separation of Powers")"

"...This album is a breath of fresh air in the increasingly static, monosyllabic, and gold teeth fronted world of hip-hop. From the first bars of the opening Hear Here I was excited -- something that hasn't happened to me and a hip hop album in a long time."
- Campbell Kennedy
- Cube-Side.com by Campbell Kennedy

""3rd World" (Album review & interview; excerpts)"

"3rd Party is solid evidence that in the city that invented the art form there is once again a community of artists breathing new life into hip hop."

"In the case of Separation of Powers buying the album makes you want to hop on board a bus down to the Bowery to see one of their famous “Fourth Friday” shows at the poetry club and catch the full force effect of 3rd Party in concert."

"It makes sense that 3rd Party resists traditional classifications since the most commonly held perception of underground artists is that they make music that would crap out in a club, a characterization that is the antithesis of the 3rd Party sound."

"These thematic elements trade places just as well as the beats and rhymes on Separation of Powers do. With this record 3rd Party has created something where all the pieces just fall into place."

-Hunter Walker - Free Hip Hop Now.com

"Hired Gun-Artist of the Week 6-26-06 (Solo Interview)"

A hired gun. A third party. Both ideas go against the norms of American society. Maybe that’s what makes them so appropriate for this week’s Artist Of The Week. Hired Gun formed his first band at the age of 15 and been making music ever since. The list of artists he’s worked with includes Breez Evahflowin, Fatlip, The Demigodz and Wordsworth and right now he’s making noise with his current group, 3rd Party. 3rd Party has released two albums, Pressed for Time, and their 2006 release Separation of Powers. Hired Gun is an educated Hip-Hop head who's never gone about things in the traditional way.

Adam Bernard: You're a member of the group 3rd Party. With a name like that do you envision yourselves as some kind of alternative to the other forms of rap?

<b>Hired Gun:</b> Truth be told, it’s a play on words. It has many connotations and meanings. We came together because of our diverse styles and how they blended together, so we offer an alternative to the status quo, much like a 3rd Party. We all, by nature, are socially aware, political and conscious beings who in our own ways have put thought to action, again a 3rd Party. Obviously we form a triad and we rock, it just hit us in a lot of ways. I wouldn't say we're an alternative to other forms of rap, though, what we are is a representation of diverse skills and styles. Alternative to some degree implies that we're outside of Hip-Hop, but we're more a part of it then many cats getting shine right now.

Adam Bernard: Your own name is also very interesting. In what ways are you a hired gun?

Hired Gun: This continues to get me in trouble, ha. My name reflects the experiences of me being called upon to rock where others couldn't or never thought possible. It really describes my mentality. It reflects the standpoint that you call on someone outside the bounds to get a job done. Someone multi-skilled, faceted and who’s generally called upon to do a job others can't or won't. As an emcee, because of my background and the somewhat fragmented Hip-Hop environment I had, I was forced to improvise. My first group didn't consist of two turntables and a mic, it was an upright bass, guitar and drums. As I moved on to college, and found a family and crew in the traditional sense, I became a part of the electronic music culture, specifically hardcore techno and house. I got involved in dancing and later began emceeing over drum n bass. For a brief period I fronted an all electronic hardcore noise group named Dead Sector. Also when I was in upstate NY around 96-99 I became a part of a drum n bass outfit that I still rep for, Black Opz which consists of the Prayin Mantis and MC Aero. In all these instances it was me rhyming to rhythms, breakbeats, synths, live music, arhythmic, atonal. In a lot of places they had never seen a brother before performing rhymes over some of this stuff and in some places they had just never seen a brother (laughs). Growing up in the part of New Jersey I did, I was used to that.

Adam Bernard: 3rd Party consists of a Mexican, a black man and a Jewish guy. How'd that happen?

Hired Gun: We are the united colors of Benetton (laughs). It actually happened by accident, it wasn't intentional. Honestly, I think it’s something that is very unique and just more of a reflection of how diverse Hip-Hop has become. The funny thing is despite our cultural heritages being different we had many similarities growing up, like how we were raised, the environments we were raised in. It’s just another aspect of our group that reflects our uniqueness. It’s been a strength, one that we still haven't fully manifested. You get multiple perspectives that are so layered just from a song we do! Even if it isn't always up front, we bring those differences of culture in our postures, our mannerisms, our styles, our own personal rhythms. I firmly believe that our different heritages, but shared experiences, are the reasons why we've been blessed to be at the point we are together.

Adam Bernard: Your group also has some fairly intense lyrics, tell me what you feel is important that you get across in your music.

Hired Gun: Me personally? The truth as I see it, the experiences that I've lived, and the questions that I want answered. My goal is to share what I know, and begin conversations, spark thought. I loved Gangstarr because albums like Daily Operation, and Hard To Earn made me think. KRS ONE, he gave me things to chew on. The list goes on, Brand Nubian, Brother J, De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, they exposed me to worlds and ideas I didn't know about. I want to follow in those veins, showing people that black men all do not fit in a box, dismantling those stereotypes and exposing the racism that still exists. That's my main aims. As a group I think 3rd Party is groove music, but it’s music that will make you think at the same time. It’s become so clichéd at this point but we do have that native tongue type of vibe. You're going to nod your head, you're going to listen to the words and not get too lost in the message or the meaning, but you're going to walk away with a good feeling and a little understanding. That's good music in my opinion.

Adam Bernard: What do you feel you can do as a Hip-Hop artist to influence the causes you believe in?

Hired Gun: Open the lines of communication. It’s funny an older gentleman that I just recently met told me, "If you can touch ten peoples lives that have listened to your music you've done something." I'm a griot, my role is to relay the history, heritage and goings on of the day. One of my pseudonyms to Hired Gun is HG, which is the chemical symbol for Mercury. Mercury is also the roman god who was a messenger and purveyor of the arts. I hope my influence is that people hear my music and they question the world around them. I deliver and relay information in a medium that you can absorb, is organic, and you can feel. I think that is the power any true artist has, to be the catalyst for change. That is something amazing. - http://adambernard.blogspot.com/2006/06/artist-of-week-hired-gun.html

""4 Stars" - URB, September '05"

"Hired Gun, Rabbi Darkside and Farbeon - the rhymesayers reppin' this burgeoning NYC outfit - each flex distinctive and dexterous styles, and fused they mold a fresh sound that's concurrently introspective and high-spirited... it doesn't take them long to prove a much-needed alternative for the Hip Hop electorate." - URB Magazine, September '05 - URB Magazine

"Shotgun Reviews-Interview with Hired Gun"

Interview with:
Hired Gun

I met the Hired Gun one balmy night in New York City last June, at a monthly Third Party event at the Bowery Poetry Lounge. Who knew what kind of discussions could come out of being chosen someone's partner for a freestyle pyramid? Long story short (since you're gonna need your focus to get all the heavy stuff in the interview), though we don't always agree, here is a selection of issues (that I feel are important and brought up in a certain person's work) that we have discussed in relation to S.P.R.O.U.T.'s own work. Put on your game faces and get ready to go deep. Um, Chuck? I think we got your interview --- Angelica LeMinh

ALM: Arrest the President indeed. I know how important it is for you to pay respects to those that came before, so can you give the background to this track for those that don't know and also your take on your personal spin to it? And what do you have to say of one of Bush's greatest "crimes against humanity", his response to Hurricane Katrina?

HG: The parallels for me were uncanny. The similarities to the conditions that existed in Bush I's regime and now are scary. The war, issues with the economy, the advisors they've shared, the policies implemented and the rise of right wing zealotry guised as spirituality and religion are examples of the bridge our country has seen between the reign of father and son! Tragedy, who was known as Intelligent Hoodlum, was dope in the way he broke down the conditions that our country and his hood at that time. I look at my version as the second chapter to that song. Stylistically, I wanted it to mimic him, but update the current events in terms of content .

As far as Katrina, you have to understand the response was from the "system" not Bush himself. He does not run this country, he's a figurehead. Katrina was the failure of a flawed system built on Racism, and the fact that poor or disenfranchised groups have never factored very high on the priority list of any administration.

ALM: How have you found it working with religious rappers? What role do you think religion has to contribute to hip hop? Is there a split between "bible-thumping" martyrs and those that incorporate a possible spirituality that accounts for the hypocrisy that is human nature?

HG: I don't really work with any. I do work with some artists who are very in tune with their spiritual understanding and convey that as one aspect of their music. The idea of "religious rapper" is a genre definition that creates a demographic for commodity. Tranquill, one third of the Drop Squad, doesn't like that limiting definition because he speaks about more than just his faith. He's been great to work with because of his talent and his conviction. He's one of the few emcees with a message that can really come with all the tools, the wordplay, the punch lines, and still say something relevant. I learn from him daily, and he's only made me a better person and emcee. I think hip hop is a great place to create a forum about philosophies and ideologies. We're all hypocrites; some more then others. The problem I personally have is with folks walking a certain way and talking another. LMNO for example, is someone that I feel incorporates spirituality in his music and at least shows an image that is congruent with that. I don't think that such a person exists in the mainstream right now, despite the popularity that certain artists (starting with the letter K) have brought to Christ. You can't speak about humility and then be super arrogant and cocky. You can't talk about sacrifice and then sing a song where you idolize the jewelry you wear and simply chalk it up to "well, I'm a sinner". If you know it is wrong and continue to do so , shouldn't you be held accountable? You have control of what you choose to say and do. I don't know Kanye or LMNO personally, but judging by their choices in representation, LMNO and Tranquill are the genuine article.

ALM: How heavily rooted do you view hip hop in misogyny and homophobia?

HG: First of all, it's not just hip hop. Hip hop isn't rooted in those two ideas. What you have however, is an American society that is deeply rooted in those ideas, so they are ideas that are manifested in the art that is created. By saying hip hop is rooted in those things, you make music the scapegoat. The Mighty Mos said it best, "hip hop is where you are, however we're doing." Art and culture are a reflection of society, not the other way around. Is there homophobia and misogyny in hip hop? Yes! And it needs to be addressed. But address it in the home first, in the workplace, in schools, in the government. If you eliminate it in those places, watch it magically disappear from hip hop!! In America, Gays, Lesbians and Transgendered people are denied the right to co-exist with the HUMAN of their choosing because of their orientation. Women still earn less then men for the same jobs, and despite being a very large section of our voting block are still underrepresented at every level of government. That is where misogyny and homophobia are rooted. I'd say that right now no one really at least in the heterosexual hip hop world is tackling these things. I touch on the ideas of misogyny in some of my music, but even I admit I haven't fully attacked it. Right now there are so many issues, take your pick.

ALM: It's easy to draw the line between blatant commercial industries whoring of the "music", but do you think heads are harder on those who leave a little more to the imagination, i.e. those who are getting rich but also are putting out messages that are not exactly mainstream? How fair is it to hate on those who are actually using their influence for something good, even if they are using methods that are traditionally frowned upon?

HG: The crazy thing is now, it's actually not that easy to draw the line. I was working on an essay a little while back and it was titled "The Hip Hop Middle Class", it touched upon the myth of independent artists, and the concepts we have of the underground. If you ask the average hip hop head, many would still say someone like Kweli or Common is "underground". That's the style definition. The truth is they generate millions of dollars through their releases, touring and marketing campaigns. The idea of being a commodity makes it very difficult to distinguish sometimes whether or not someone is about the cash only. As an artist your dream and your goal is to be heard, and be able to proliferate your art.

That's easier said then done because of the compromises you may have to make. The concept of "mainstream" is pretty wide. What's commercially viable isn't. So if someone is speaking about everyday life issues and topics that affect many people, but s/he does not have the image/character necessary to be deemed "entertaining" then it isn't commercially viable (to the larger industry). Being signed to a major corporation puts you in a strange position. It comes back again to being " real" and believable in your stance. I don't think anyone on a major label right now is really pushing any boundaries as far as using styles that are unconventional to create a "conscious" message. I think hate comes when you present yourself as someone who is original, who is repping for a certain group of individuals, but it's clear from your associations, and from your attitude and how you present that you're not really about something positive.

To get in the "game" now, you have to create a niche, more so then before in the past. If you can't sell crack or be a thug, you have to come a different way and at the same time get love from the streets. It's a trap that is unfortunate with major labels.

You can look at some of the artists out now, look at their first several releases, and work after they've moved higher up in the hierarchy and machine. Conflicting? I think so, but some people don't want to be sold, they want to believe. That's where the hate comes from. PE was unconventional. Brother J was unconventional. Myka Nyne or Wu Tang are unconventional. I don't see those types of artist in the mainstream right now.

ALM: You're featured on a film about the Griot tradition with K'naan. What do you think of artists like him or Tumi (and the Volume) who are repping Africa in their own respective ways by way of Toronto? How do you think it would be different from cats doing the same thing in the USA?

HG: The film, "Nyama West African Griot Tradition Manifested in the US Through Hip Hop" by Magee McIIvaine was a great and unexpected experience for me. My contribution to the documentary actually happened by accident. I happened to be at a friend's working on recordings for my solo debut (it's coming, I promise!) and just happened to be there when Magee was getting footage. We just started having a conversation about hip hop, the culture, and its connection to Griots. It was a beautiful experience, those brothas (Zaquan and Suffice who I'm shown with in most of the footage) are what the culture needs to be about.

I'll be honest, I think Africa and South America is truly the next movement. They are using hip hop as a true voice to let people understand what is going on in their communities. Whether in the States or in Canada, I think our two countries are inconsequential. It's about Africa, and them using the music as a vehicle to let a people be heard. If there is a difference I think it has to do with the scale and the relevance. What I mean is, Canada probably has more tolerance, and more resources for these artists to get there music out to the mainstream. In the states, we don't want to hear black people talking about real struggle intelligently. We want to see thugs and violence. We want to party and have a good time. Part of that lies in the amount of pain and sacrifice already shed but it is not over. In Canada, the racial history and breakdown are different, and there might be a more liberal attitude. I can't even fathom having an African artist speaking about African realities in the States getting serious press, or major love on a wide scale. I want to live to see that day. For more information on what Magee McIlvaine is doing and worldup.org check out: www.trinityhiphop.org/documentary.htm . Respect due.

ALM: My "Underground to Canada" aims are pretty clear (using an American venue to promote as many Canadian artists I can to tap into a market that can allow our artists to keep working and not abdicate). I know you've mentioned Swollen before, and a few Canadian hip hoppers from a while back, but how important is it for you to stay up on what's happening north of your border?

HG: I try to stay up on as much hip hop as I can. I admit I'm more US-centric, but it's important to search out music. I know of people like Cadence Weapon, Josh Martinez, Pigeon John, the Peanuts and Corn label, Buck 65 etc. The truth is Canada's hip hop scene is LARGE. (I know this because I mentioned a few that you (the Canadian ) didn't even know of…ha-ha!) . Peace to MindBender over at Philaflava, I see you (even though you don't see me). I'd heard of Saukrates, Swollen, and Kardinal back in the mid-nineties (Kardinal's "You're Ghetto" from way back in the day was flames when I saw him at RockSteady). It's hard to keep up on all the underground/independent music coming out of NEW YORK, let alone a whole 'nother country, even if it is right next to me.

ALM: Is there a break for you between an onstage/wax persona and your real life identity? From the standpoint of disappointment that some ill cats on wax have ended up being less than sparkling in the intellect department in person, I wonder how accountable one can be expected to have, because that just plays into the idea that emcees/entertainers are to be put on a pedestal, when they are just regular people.

HG: Yes! I'm much more shy off-mic other then that, not really. I'm high energy, a little brainy, a little corny, and very serious in my convictions. I'm fortunate (or maybe not) that I haven't had to make a "persona" per say. I also have a pretty big imagination, so creating characters in my music, stories allows me to change up a little bit (and for those that are like "huh?", wait till you hear some of the projects…rubs hands together). Again, I'll parrot it all day. Walk it, talk it. I don't think it's wrong to expect someone to be who they present to you. Unfortunately we exist were music is trumped by entertainment, but you have people who can put on a show without fronting. What's the point of creating art if the meaning is superficial? It's a cop out to me to not expect an individual to be who they show you they are in their art and music which is *supposed* to be personal. This wasn't a problem when art wasn't so strangled by industry.

ALM: How have you dealt with internalized racism (personally or directed towards you)? What do you think of the "crabs in the bucket"? What of the "hierarchy of race" that exists in the minds of some between non-white people? Personally, I think its bullshit, but I know that some people believe it, and I wonder how we can move to change it.

HG: Internalized racism, I keep it moving. Because of where I grew up, it was a mental test to believe that you as a black person where worthy of love and respect. Everything in the environment that I was in was telling me I was wrong. The way law enforcement treated me, the attitude I got from school administrators, my peers, the TV, and radio. It is one of the things that people of color in the United States and other groups want to dismiss. It has an impact and it has a devastating affect on one's development and psyche.

The idea of "crabs in the bucket" to me doesn't apply in every situation. The reality is that there are some individuals who are getting ahead, and those who are selling themselves and their people out to be successful. At the same time, someone who is doing the right things, but gets hate and ostracized for jealousy, that's wrong. Again, it's like I said earlier you have to look at each situation, evaluate and make a judgment. It's not just black and white.

We all haven't gone through the same struggles, even if it's from the same place and by dismissing or homogenizing struggle you marginalize groups that have been the most severely hurt. It's mitigating history to say "look, I suffered like you" but generations later there are groups that clearly still have less, and are still combating societal constraints and biases at a much more destructive rate. Any and all bias is wrong, and on a surface level people who experience bias can relate. Looking at things beyond the abstract though, some got hit with the hammer a lot harder and that's just truth in this country. You need to cater to each group's specific needs in order for real change to be lasting. By saying "look all of us hurt equally, let's push the different needs to side and focus on the one basic problem," hurts the most marginalized groups in the long run. The ideas of race and racism are a complex problem…and *no one* has yet to come to the table to have an honest open discussion about it, no one. That means looking at each individual's pain and addressing it, not making it arbitrary by coloring it all one shade (no pun intended).

ALM: Do you like your day job? Is it a true urban legend that artists can live to do what they love and love what they do? With the state of the industry today, do you stay true to your craft with the understanding that you may never be successful enough to be heard on a wide scale, or keep on keeping on, not devoting as much time as you could to your art because you have to acquire the means to eat elsewhere?

HG: No, and No. hahahaha. I still "live" to work. But that's kind of a misnomer. One of my old artist friends Enrique once told me "Art is work". I always looked at Art as fun but I understand what he means now. It's an urban legend depending on who you talk to or your own values. It's never a black and white. What do you believe constitutes success/relevance? My people's ESP have put out scores of mix tapes and released a slew of albums and have a small local followings who continue to listen to and find their music. Within some circles they are known. Isn't that success? Where are your values? What are your aims? Its so cliché but I make music for me first because it's the only thing I can control. You can have the most solid plan, with the tightest music and if its not the right "flavor" or you just can't get the resources, you may never reach that wide base. Then it breaks back down to why are you doing it? Who are you doing it for? I'm happy with whomever and how ever many I touch and I'm going for the score. I'm training to develop all the skills I have to get to the big game. But you have to have balance with that. I understand that I can make good music, and work to make great music and be satisfied to who I can get it to. I'm only not satisfied if I sell myself short by not putting in the effort and the hustle. I'm not going to ruin my soul fretting over the stuff I can't control or at least try not to. That's the artist trap right there.

ALM: I know about your "gems" but what else rounds out your view of quality of life? Is your healthcare covered in your benefits, and do you worry about that?

HG: Health is definitely up there. I think everyone worries about their health insurance. Lucky Canadian bastids. I'm fortunate that I have some, they're not great, but they're not horrible. I have friends that don't have any at all, or just recently got some. I have to thank my woman for pushing me on the path to better health. She's vegan and is very much into Yoga and dancing. On the real, I'm trying to become more in tune with my body, so at least I can control my health and lower that possibility of needing healthcare. The struggle continues. My idea of quality of life I think is not much different than it is for a lot of people, a clean living environment personally and I need to have positive stimulus. I need to be near and around different cultures and ideas. I grew up in a very homogenous area of New Jersey. It was lifeless. Having people be the same to me is like being dead. Give me browns, blues, whites, greens, and yellows. I love that Brooklyn is where you can go a few blocks and run into a Hasidic neighborhood and turn down an avenue and you're in the middle of the Caribbean. It's beautiful.

ALM: In the tradition of homage and paying respects, how are you leaving your mark on the world? What role are you committed to in terms of evolution?

HG: Wow that's a big existential question. I don't know, that's really not for me to decide. I'm living my life, and those people I've touched will tell you how I left it. I'm not sure if evolution plays a role in that specifically. I know that I'm getting better in not leaving my scar on the world. I work towards using fewer synthetic chemicals, and processed foods. Recycling and being a better person to those around me and speaking the truth (to the young black… sorry that's like my second or third hip hop/Wu reference). I'm trying to be committed (and not just to say that I did it..).

ALM: You have a degree. How has education helped you in your post-graduate endeavors? What of the myth of education being the key to success, when the most ridiculously su ccessful people are so without it (formally anyway) and the majority of folks are struggling to pay off their loans and are working in fields that are non-related to their field that they are over-qualified for?

HG: It is one of the experiences that has made me a more aware and balanced person. College was the first place where I was introduced to subversive and radical viewpoints. It's sort of a way to become a more "worldly" person. It actually was a place where I first experienced (forced) diversity. Truthfully, my college wasn't that diverse, but it was more then my hometown. My schooling helped me formally develop my skills as a writer, and it provided me with a stress-free environment to fail, and learn about myself. It hasn't led directly to a vocation but I didn't go into school with that mindset. It has allowed me to compete on more then one level career-wise. Bottom-line, I believe a degree opens doors. You don't have to use those doors to get to success, but my thinking is the more "keys" you have the better off you are. I can never vilify higher education, at least not as far as being a resource. It's what you do with it that matters. I went to learn, gain influences and experience. I don't know if all the most successful people are uneducated. Spike Lee, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West and Chuck D are all college graduates. Formal education like anything is simply experience. It's not the only way to success, but it is one of the"keys" and I think this is one of the farces that young children of color are getting. One of my peoples Rabbi Darkside talks about this in his song "First Bell".

To paraphrase: "One percent of rappers are going to go gold/One percent of ball players are going to go pro but an open mind Is with you till you're old and grey".

It's interesting in the states how it is young, inner city kids who think it's not a good look to go and get an education, find something you're good at, and achieve a higher level of learning and make success *that way *. College isn't the only way, but it is one way. Again, it's not school that is the problem but how our educational system is set up. You shouldn't have to pay through the nose to become a more literate and educated person. That exclusivity is another flaw in the system.

ALM: Is it really so wrong to rap about the middle class? In the northern part of a continent that does not experience (yet) the enormous gaps between rich and poor that some countries do, what is the problem with voicing issues from/to people that occupy the majority of the population? The ways of keeping things "street" need to be complexified, no?

HG: Since De La, and Tribe have been doing it since the early nineties, no there isn't anything wrong with it. If you're not "street" you can't keep it that way..hahaha. I think that it's been a revisionist mentality that rap music hasn't grown into other avenues of expression. Having said that; the roots of hip hop are in urban culture and street life, that's just fact. Sorry. Hip hop is being true to yourself. Chuck didn't keep it street, did he? How hood is Aceyalone, really? What people don't realize though is that you have to have a story, and you have to be able to make your struggle and pain resonate on a wider scope. Everybody has problems but everybody doesn't have pain. The concept and aesthetic of "soul" denotes struggle, suffering. Some obstacles, issues and challenges are deeper then others. That's just life. You do that, and it don't matter where you come from, it will be about where you're at. Shout out the movements: Sin Sin fam, Sayword Entertainment, ESP Collective, FreeRadicalz, and Drop Squad. This is what it is people. You don't know you better ask….( www.freeradicalzmusic.com www.saywordentertainment.com and start from there) Peace!

So there you have it. The most beautiful part of this whole exchange is not only the answers, but also the questions, and the movement to continue questioning. Working together does not mean that you must always agree, and I am of the school that waiting for that is ineffective and leads to frustration. It's clear that each one of these topics is up for and worthy of a debate of themselves, so let's all do our part and keep the discussion moving. And just because I'm a fan of the bookend, I think Mikal (his government issue) and I would both agree that it would be nice if Chuck D did read this, and see that we did something to counter the run-of-the mill interviews that he righfully laments. Although I'm keeping my end of the bargain not to name one name in particular, I am still going to touch the sky.

- http://www.shotgunreviews.com/reviews/music/hiphop/hired_gun.html


3rd Party:
“Separation of Powers” LP Mixed by DJ Center - 2006 Say Word Entertainment
“Pressed For Time” EP – 2005 Say Word Entertainment
“Live at the Bowery Poetry Club” Vol. 2 – 2004
“Live at the Bowery Poetry Club” Vol. 1 – 2003

Rob Swift "Wargames" DVD - 2005
Mindspray "Shot in the Dark" - 2003

“Collective Memory” LP – 2002

"The Road" w/ Core Rhythm and Baba Israel on "Nat Turner Reloaded"-Core Rhythm, 2006

Hired Gun:
Strange Places LP w/Frequency Activism - 2006
Eternal Soul Prophets EP 12” - 2003
“Quannum” EP w/ESP – 2003
"Strange Force" EP w/ESP - 2002
"Big Bang" EP w/ESP - 2001

"Live Right" on "Public Property"-Mr. Mayday, 2005
"Gems" on "Algebra of Revolution"-Mr. Mayday, 2004
Low Society Music

Rabbi Darkside:
“Secret Knocks w/Speakeasy – 2002 Sit-n-Spin Records
“Bi-Polar” 12” w/Speaskeasy – 2001 Sit-n-Spin Records

"Public Property" - Mr. Mayday - 2005 Low Society/ESP
"Bird's Breath" - newageynofriends - 2004



3rd Party has captured the ears and eyes of the NYC music scene by performing prolifically over the last three years while releasing the “Pressed For Time” EP (“4 stars” – Urb, Sept. ’05), serial volumes of live material and their first full-length album (“Separation of Powers”). Rocking well over 150 shows from the East Coast to the Midwest has helped the group solidify a reputation as show-stealing crowd favorites and support their releases.

A group of writers, poets, musicians, educators, emo-thugs, and political activists, 3rd Party brings an everyman golden era feel to the world of rap music. With influences spanning almost every genre of music and regional roots planted across the U.S., each member brings a distinct style that mixes and blends to create a unified sound unlike anything on airwaves, on stages or in headphones.

3rd Party has taken their unique brand of progressive music from NYC stages to national festivals and left behind stacks of their music wherever they go. Some of the performance highlights include:

•2006 Northeast Kingdom Music Festival (Vermont)
•2006 Wheaton College Spring Music Festival (Wheaton, MA)
•2005 Twin Cities Hip Hop Festival (Minneapolis, MN)
•2004 & 2005 HOWL Festival – Headliners (NYC)
•Apollo Theater (NYC)
•B.B. King’s (NYC)
•The Blunt Club (AZ)
•Bowery Poetry Club – 3-year monthly residency (NYC)
•Columbia University (NYC)
•Connecticut College (New London, CT)
•Hammerstein Ballroom (NYC)
•Joe’s Public Theater (NYC)
•Mercury Lounge (NYC)
•New York University (NYC)
•Nuyorican Poet’s Café (NYC)
•Webster Hall (NYC)
•Yale University (New Haven, CT)

On this path they have shared the stage with some of the most respected acts in music:

•2Mex & The Visionaries
•Breez Evahflowin
•DJ Organic (Director of "Freestyle")
•DJ Swamp
•Fatlip from Pharcyde
•I Self Devine
•John Legend
•Kanye West
•The Last Poets
•Rosie Perez
•Rob Swift &
the X-Ecutioners
•Mark Ronson
•Slick Rick
•Slum Village
•The Strange Fruit Project
•Talib Kweli

Their energetic and engaging stage show has helped the crew gain the respect of legends and peers, while building a loyal following from their monthly event at the Bowery Poetry Club & Café: "Fourth Fridays".

They continue to perform, record, and experience life, putting it down in rhyme form and serving it up.

Farbeon released his solo album Collective Memory in 2002. He is a member of the Blow Up Co-Op out of Arizona and has been living and teaching in NYC for 4 years.

Hired Gun has a catalog of material as a member of the ESP Collective. He is an accomplished dancer and drum-n-bass emcee, as well as a published music journalist.

Rabbi D released a 12” single and full-length album on Sit-n-Spin records in 2002 with the group “Speakeasy.” A champion battle emcee, he has been living and teaching in Brooklyn since 2000.

And I is a multi-instrumentalist, audio engineer and producer. In addition to producing for 3rd Party, he has appeared as a guitarist with “Johnny Hi-Fi.”

DJ Watts is one of the most decorated DJ’s in New Jersey, appearing in the finals of both the Guitar Center and DMC battles. He is a turntablism instructor at Backspin Studios in his homeland of New Jersey.