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By Brettan Bablove
November 2, 2006

If you’ve heard the buzz about Antedote, you know that you must see this band live — feel their chilled-out hip-hop vibe, check out the way each piece of the group fits together, get comfortable with them like you’ve been invited into their recording studio.

“You go on MySpace and hear it and think, ‘These guys are kinda dope.’ But you come to a show and you see me and Brandon meshing together and Kenyata singing and Travis on bass and at the same time he’s playing the keyboard and percussion’s going off on a solo … You feel the energy,” enthuses Antedote MC Jamil Hyatt, also known as Many Pieces. The live performance is what this band is all about — “bringing the audience in,” says Brandon Lawson, aka Mesi Goodness.

This collaboration between the two MCs has been a long time coming (they have known each since they were 16), although Antedote originally formed without Hyatt. “Me and Brandon used to sit in the back of Big Fish Pub, rhyming back and forth,” says Hyatt. “I was like, ‘Yeah cool, Brandon’s doing his thing.’ And then I came into Blunt Club and [I heard the track ‘Strike One’] and I was like, ‘What is this? That is banging! I wish I was on this track!’”

Hyatt checked out more shows, coming onstage to perform on a song here and there, before he and Lawson finally joined forces. The lone female member, Kenyata Baraka, aka Queen Bee, came on later, bringing another new dimension — “smoothing out our rough edges,” says Lawson. “She has her own sex appeal without even trying — it’s effortless. … You can’t not pay attention to her when she starts,” adds Hyatt.

Antedote is now complete, with Travis Whitmer on bass, keys and vocals; his brother Kellin on guitar and keyboard; Eric Brumen on percussion; and Dan Petrosino on drums. “We all found a sense of home with the band,” explains Lawson.

Their eclectic style, inspiring live shows and organic sound — a combination of “braggadocious poetry” and powerful issues laid over smooth beats — have won over fans. As a result, they’ve opened for hip-hop icons Digable Planets and Common (“Common’s manager was like, ‘Yeah man, you guys got something going.’ I was like, ‘Common’s manager said that?’” says Hyatt), as well as bands some wouldn’t expect, like Chris Berry and The Pangea, a Los Angeles jam band that features Michael Pang from String Cheese Incident. “[The crowd] told us, ‘You guys just grabbed us, we’re not even hip-hop fans,” says Lawson. “We steal fans everywhere,” laughs Hyatt.

And, finally, Antedote fans will have something to vibe to following a show, because the band’s first video, for the single “Universal,” will be available online this month. The 12-inch vinyl of the single will follow, with instrumental and a cappella remixes. Then, the long-awaited full-length album is slated to drop in February 2007.

“[With the video], I’m most excited that we now have a finished product where people can see us,” says Hyatt. “And everyone’s been asking, for about a year, ‘When’s the album coming out?’ I’ll just be excited to say, ‘Here it is, boom.’ Everyone that comes to a show wants to buy an album.”

Until the record is complete, listen to tracks at; buy past EPs at, ZIA Records or Wet Paint Art Supply; or chill at an Antedote live performance at Blunt Club at Hollywood Alley (2610 W. Baseline Road in Mesa) on Thanksgiving night, one of the biggest party nights of the year.

And check out the “Universal” video at or (“It’s going to be chill and fun,” says Lawson). For Hyatt, the video shows off the factor that’s made the group such a crowd favorite: “We’re all so different, but we mesh so good.” -

"Phoenix Spotlight - Antedote"

Antedote’s new album Volume 2: Speak Easy(2007) was released a few weeks ago. The CD release show was at The Clubhouse and featured special guests The Insects and Grime. The price included the new CD too! Pretty cool.

Speak Easy highlights the group’s musical growth since the release of Volume 1 (2004). I just finished listening to all 15 tracks again, and liked everything I heard. As always, their lyrics are smart, flowing, and socially conscious. Tracks like “Rhymes and Synonyms” and “Feel That” mix musicality and intelligence beautifully. I hesitate to call their music “catchy”, it has too much depth, but it certainly sticks with you.

The album was recorded by Byron Filson of Villian Recording in Phoenix, and mastered at SAE Mastering. Saxophone parts were played by Chris Benadivez. Artwork by Apprentice. Layout by mattx. Antedote logo designed by Dumperfoo. -

"ANTEDOTE: A Cure for Triteness"

Mellow rap is a soulful groove
By Brendan Joel Kelley
Published: February 1, 2007

I've been following hip-hop since I first heard Run-D.M.C.'s King of Rock album when I was 11 years old. I'm not a fanatic, though; my sneering, hip-hop-obsessed DJ friends will tell you that. They just recently schooled me in hyphy, the cartoonish — and kind of silly — Bay Area sound kicked out by artists such as Mac Dre, Keak da Sneak, and Devin the Dude.

Nonetheless, I hit up my share of hip-hop shows, and I especially keep my eye on locals who drop beats and bust rhymes. Except for some notable exceptions, though, checking out these shows too often can get pretty fucking boring. You've got your DJ, one or two MCs, and that's what 80 percent or more of the artists out there are doing.

I'm far more intrigued by outfits such as Who Cares, a group of friends from Sacramento that has a saxophonist, a keyboardist/MPC player, and an MC. Or, locally, Drunken Immortals, who rock the full bass/guitar/drums combo along with a DJ and two MCs. Don't get me wrong: I'm not looking for bands that bust out hybrids with hip-hop unless it's with jazz. I don't want to hear crunchy rock riffs with an MC over the top. Linkin Park can keep that shit.

Drunken Immortals have really come into their own over the last few years, releasing a stellar album (Hot Concrete) and touring all over the States and Europe. If you're interested in that sort of thing, you've heard them already. However, in the live-band hip-hop game, you may not have heard of Antedote the Neato Project (for brevity's sake, and because I think "the Neato Project" is a little silly, I'll call them Antedote for the duration of this column).

If you catch one of Antedote's live shows, like the one the band recently played at Chasers, you'll see some amazing shit. Eight people onstage, with much the same setup as the Immortals (bass/guitar/drums/keys, plus an extra percussionist), but on a much more downtempo, jazzy tip. The group's two MCs, Mesi Goodness and Many Pieces, flow like an oil slick over the waves of smooth funk the band lays down, with two female vocalists singing near-lullabies underneath.

The musicians — Siddha on bass and keyboards, Griff on guitar and keyboards, drummer Dan Val Dan, and percussionist E.B. Magic — bring an improvisational jazz sensibility to the music during the live shows (Dan Val Dan won a Guitar Center drum-off in September of last year, footage of which you can watch on Antedote's MySpace at The result is experimental, but it's all going down within the parameters of hip-hop.

It's definitely feel-good shit — there's nothing harsh to Antedote at all. And while I certainly appreciate some hard rhymes and shit-talking, it's pleasant to not feel aurally assaulted at a hip-hop show. That doesn't mean they don't hype the crowd, though — songs like "Jazz Ain't Dead" and "Upliftment" bounce and ricochet enough to get some hands in the air and some asses shaking.

Though the group is more under-the-radar than its contemporary, Drunken Immortals (with which it often shares the stage), Antedote's far from toiling in anonymity. Since its inception in early 2003, the group has played incessantly at events like Blunt Club, and it released a CD, The Neato Project, Vol. 1, in 2004.

Antedote's working on wrapping up Volume 2 of The Neato Project right now, and recently completed a video for its new single, "Universal." The video, shot by director Fredy Polania, is an arty montage of live footage, local scenery, and color-soaked shots of the band doing its thing. The song itself is an earnest, laid-back paean with funked-up drumming by Dan Val Dan and shimmering, flute-sounding samples whistling in the background.

"Quills in the Parchment" is a live favorite from the band's current repertoire in which Mesi Goodness and Many Pieces trade lines over a subdued bass line and an easy-listening keyboard progression. The spirit is mellow, but it's energetic and groovy, nevertheless.

Now I have a confession — the words "mellow" and "groovy" don't feel comfortable rolling off of my fingers onto the keyboard. It sounds like hippie shit, and really, with the positive, socially conscious, be-dreadlocked attitude and style that Antedote affects, it kind of is hippie shit, and that's not my style at all.

That's why I've got nothing but props for Antedote. The band's positive vibe, jazzy grooves, and laid-back attitude somehow combine to become more than a glorified drum-circle patchouli party. Maybe it's because I've seen the band back up local revolutionary rapper Grime on his cover of Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade," where Antedote got uncharacteristically crazy — actually, I'm sure that I wouldn't be as impressed with the relaxed shit if I didn't know they were capable of freaking out. But I think Antedote's got what hip-hop needs right now: soul. Soul, and real instruments played by real musicians.
- Phoenx New Times


Antedote : The Neato Project Volume 1

Volume 2 : Speak Easy



Antedote was born in the year 2004 by emcee Mesi Goodness, formerly of Dislocated Styles (Roadrunner Records), and drummer Dan Val Dan. Disillusioned with the cookie cutter quality of Hip-Hop music, they decided to create a group that embraced positivity with organic rhythms fusing together elements of Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul, and R & B. To help in their quest, they sought out multi-instrumentalists Travis Von Cartier and Kellin Whitmer, two brothers with both classical and jazz backgrounds, who consequently had already formed a creative partnership producing beats. To aid Val Dan in his rhythmic endeavors, percussionist EB Magic was located bringing his unique percussive abilities to this already formidable might. The five musicians immediately composed a handful of songs, then proceeded to recording and independently releasing their first EP "Volume One:The Neato Project". The EP was met with critical acclaim establishing their name and presence among the local underground Hip-Hop scene in Phoenix.

After the release of Volume One, the organic sounds of Antedote began to evolve, eventually expanding culminating with the addition of emcee Many Pieces, a friend and long time collaborator of Mesi Goodness, and the addition of vocalist Aniana, bringing the soul and passion of a female vocal to smooth out the edges. With the sonic evolution in place, the new incarnation of Antedote arose composed and they recorded their first full length album entitled "The Speakeasy". Antedote successfully self released "Speak Easy" in mid 2007 amid a multitude of hype and extraordinarily positive reviews including a nomination for Best Hip Hop Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards. This album further cemented their reputation as one of the most visionary and innovative sounds emerging from the underground hip hop scene, and after the release party itself turning out a sell out crowd in a national level venue showed that Antedote was on the way up.

Antedote has recorded a video for their first single "Universal" off of "Speak Easy" as well as being nominated twice by the Phoenix New Times for Best Hip-Hop. Their distinctive sound has also allowed them to share stages with Common, Digable Planets, Kool Kieth, Busdriver, Buck 65, Shapeshifters, Pigeon John, Gift of Gab, 2Mex, The Procussions, Crown City Rockers, Scratch (The Roots) , Tim Alexander of Primus lore, DJ Radar, DJ Z-trip, and SolIlloquists of Sound. Currently Antedote is back in the studio working on new material for a potential winter release which will no doubt further expand the edges and boundaries of Hip-Hop and music as we know it.