Apollo's Sun
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Apollo's Sun


Band Hip Hop Spoken Word


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"The Happy Masochist Album Review"

Apollo’s Sun ”The Happy Masochist” Album Review
I received this EP with another EP, Coping Mechanisms by Phynite, from Sky’s the Limit Productions, an up-and-coming Pennsylvania-based hip-hop production company. I came across STLP when I reviewed Leaps & Bounds by Artists of Industry. Needless to say, The Happy Masochist is the third hot album to come out of STLP, and judging on the sound and lyrical qualities displayed on each release, I think we can expect great things from this Apollo’s Sun and Sky’s The Limit Productions in the future.

Apollo’s Sun has an Everlast-ish type of flow, combining deep-voiced melodic wordplay with a head bumping sing-rap storytelling presentation. The production is quality, blending simple yet bumping backdrop beats with piano, electric keyboard and guitar interludes. And his lyrics are personal and heartfelt, and tell poetic stories of the MCs experience with common pain and suffering that many people should be able to relate to.

With just one listen, I was able to understand a little bit of the point Apollo’s Sun wanted to make with The Happy Masochist. A masochist is a person who is stimulated, usually sexually, by pain, abuse, humiliation or mistreatment. Since this album was obviously based on pain, it made me think that Apollo’s Sun was expressing the need for pain as a certain type of inspiration or motivating force in one’s life. In other words, the MC made an album about the pain he has experienced, but doing so brought him happiness. Therefore, it could ultimately be that pain that produced his happiness … making him a happy masochist. Maybe not, but that’s what I got from it.

Overall, a quality EP that is definitely worth checking out. If this is any indication of Apollo’s Sun’s debut album or the upcoming projects of Sky’s the Limit Productions, we can expect some great hip-hop to come out of York, PA in the future.

Album Track Listing:

1. Opening the Wounds
2. The Happy Masochist
3. Decree
4. Life Can’t Be
5. Finding Sunshine
6. Too Many Miles
- www.hiphoplinguistics.com

"Rust. Album Review"

I've already made mention of my "top picks of 2007", some of which i've actually really listened to between that time and now. One however, remained conspicuously off the list entirely... until today.

Apollo's Sun -- Rust

Simply put, this man is single handedly redefining my faith in true classic hip hop. If you know me barely at all, you'll know that for the most part, I hardly ever listen to hip hop or rap. It's not that I detest it, or that I don't understand it, it's that -- in my opinion, hardly anybody these days does it well. Arguably it's one of the most difficult areas of music to find a true ARTIST in, someone who seriously speaks from the heart, and couldn't care less about their public image. Maybe that's because it's a genre that rules the charts, that is easy to get into, and is marketed to all hell in all shapes and forms... but regardless of how, it just is.

I first heard of Apollo's Sun through a promo copy of his first nationally realeaed EP "The Happy Masochist". Being involved with college radio at the time, and getting plenty of submissions that you look at in awe of how someone actually put their name to it, Apollo's material was instantly an eye catcher. Regardless of his position within the industry at large, this was a guy who actually took himself seriously. Professional design, packaging, plenty of personalized notes, and kept in close contact to ask for our opinions and airplay. I pushed the disc onto our system and pushed it to the DJs on air, who I never really heard from again. I kept the disc, seeing its potential, and knew i'd keep an eye on his future recordings -- this guy was going somewhere, he was onto something.

So with great anticipation, upon the announcement of Rust, Apollo got back in contact with me. Unfortunately, I couldn't really aid his position, as i'd given up on college radio, and promoting most of the local acts in my area, for my own personal dreams to study audio engineering and hopefully become an engineer/producer of timeless albums. Steadily though, we remained in touch, and I eventually recieved a copy of his newest EP, entitled "Rust".

He claims "Rust" is a sequel of sorts to "The Happy Masochist". In my humble opinion, it stands completely on it's own. From the moment you open the packaging, the disc spills into your hands with the love only a serious artist can give. I'm not talking artist in the sense of "music artist" either -- i'm talking artist in the "visionary who lives it and bleeds it" sense. The cover alone could spark a controversy-filled conversation that could last days, before you even get to the disc. But if you allow yourself to move further, Apollo greets you with the most honest, courageous, and at times brutal artistic statement of HIS human condition.

Where "The Happy Masochist" channels soul, blues, and folk styles just as much as it channels hip hop, "Rust" lives and breathes in the hip hop realm, only softly touching those other sources for a little creative input occasionally. Apollo hardly sings or simply speaks on this album, which was channeled moreso on "Masochist" as well. Instead, his delivery is direct from his core, his hip hop roots. He is indeed a true lyricist. With no apology, through the just over 30 minute duration, Apollo proudly wears his heart on his sleeve for all to see. What's inside sometimes hurts, and Apollo is not ashamed of what makes him who he is. His lyrics channel the range -- from relationships, to hate, loss, inner reflection, and personal history -- with an attitude that makes you wonder how he could be so publicly honest, and why you can't seem to do the same.

Apollo isn't out to change lives, he's out to be honest with himself, and it's an incredibly admirable artistic statement in this age that someone could release an album with this much emotional depth. As you reflect however, you come to remember that all Apollo is speaking about is simply life, and how can life get this complicated?

Simply put, from a musical standpoint, the disc is unbelievable. So much thought and care has gone into the entire package, and it's evident from the moment you take off the shrink wrap to the moment the disc has finished its runtime.

I wish everyone could be this unapologetically honest with their art. This is the kind of thing that makes real artists, not just rappers or lyricists or musicians. There are other lyricists or rappers who have the same "content and creativity over cash" mindset, but Apollo's Sun for sure has his own path, and it's a great one to be a fan of.

Tracks of Note:
1. IV
2. Break Free (Feat. Davis Love)
5. Cabinet
7. I Never Thought - Adam Croft

"Apollo's Sun"

There may not be as many underground hip-hop artists in middle America as there are struggling indie bands, but there are more than you might think. York ’s Apollo’s Sun is one of several in the community who work together, building each other up with pride.

This paints a glaring counterpoint to the economic behemoth of mainstream rap – larger-than-life personalities who build their careers on self-aggrandizing lyrics and arrogant posturing. Meanwhile, the hidden stepsister of this fantasyland of bling – the honest, hardworking underground – is a world where artists are interested in building their legitimacy together.

Apollo’s Sun speaks proudly about the movement, never seizing opportunities to elevate himself higher than the burgeoning scene on the whole. He speaks in terms of “we,” not “I” – a rarity with any solo musician.

“The hip-hop scene in York is still in its infant stages,” Apollo says. “It’s still in its blossoming stages. It hasn’t fully developed its flowers yet. I think we can only go so long before someone’s gonna have to listen. If people give an ear to the local scene, it could really do something equivalent to what Live did for the alternative scene in York . There’s a lot of talent in York .”

While mainstream rappers like 50 Cent and Nelly rake in millions by flaunting bullet wounds and gold teeth, Apollo’s Sun is carving out his own niche. When I spoke with him, he was eager to separate himself from that familiar world of sex and violence.

“Mainstream hip-hop music is in bad shape,” Apollo’s Sun says. “It really is. I can’t even listen to the radio. Everything I listen to is underground stuff from the internet.”

Apollo’s Sun is proud of the distinction between mainstream and underground, although he admits to feeling a bit frustrated that the underground doesn’t get more recognition. He recognizes this as evidence of the old adage, “It’s who you know.”

“If we had the machine behind us that a lot of these big guys have, I don’t see no reason why [underground hip-hop music] wouldn’t sell,” he says. “I mean, Britney Spears’s husband is putting out a record! He calls himself K-Fed when he raps! He’s a prime example of what’s wrong with the entertainment business.”

While Apollo’s Sun may laud underground hip-hop as under-appreciated, his own music just may become a crucial part of the underground movement. But while he has been playing regional shows, writing and recording for years, he hasn’t released anything, officially or unofficially, in about seven years. Apollo’s Sun is in no hurry to release anything prematurely. “Instead of me going out and just wasting somebody else’s time,” he says, “I sat back and decided, OK, before I do anything else … I’m young, I have time, I’m just gonna work on my own craft and carve my own niche.”

His niche is heartfelt, sincere wordplay propelled by driving yet simple beats that are backlit by plaintive melodic keyboard, piano and guitar textures. Apollo makes no apologies for the serious, decidedly unjiggy nature of his themes.

“It’s difficult when you come with conscious content. Because ideally people say that music is to escape,” he says. “Escapism isn’t really the key to solving anything. That’s why I write about problems, instead of putting them under the rug. A lot of people are searching for something, something other than what they see. You’re not going to find it talking about how much better [hip-hop artists] have it in this world than you do. Showing off their wristwatches – I mean, do you know anybody that has a diamond-encrusted Rolex?”

Apollo’s Sun chooses to tell stories that explore rape, depression and addiction – in short, pain. Music that resonates with listeners can only do so by touching on universal human experiences, and many mainstream musicians choose the easy routes to this commonality – infatuation, lust and fantasies of wealth and power. Apollo’s heartfelt pain may be the less popular route, but it’s no less universal. The cover of his forthcoming EP, The Happy Masochist (due out this summer), features a painting of a young man slumped in a corner of a trashed room, surrounded by his own blood. He has just committed suicide … not very jiggy.

Apollo’s Sun breaks down the themes by saying, “Basically the concept of the record is pain. Everyone is addicted to some sort of pain or some sort of drama. We all represent some sort of masochism and we’re OK with it. We don’t even know it.”

In the song “The Happy Masochist,” Apollo raps, “I’m not here to make you sad; I’m here to relate.”

Apollo also understands that, for all the lofty goals of relating pain’s commonality, hip-hop is also expected to be entertaining. “It’s definitely scary, man, to go out there and just be like, I got this song about a girl who was raped,” Apollo says. “OK, I gotta go out there and perform that but at the same time entertain people with it.”

Nonetheless, Apollo’s Sun is unwavering in his refusal to simply get booties shaking. He is resolutely unwilling to allow his beats and rhymes to be the pulsing, morally anonymous soundtrack for pain-numbing drinking and dancing. He promises, “Anytime I do a show, anytime I perform, anytime I record, I never act like something I’m not. … You won’t ever hear me talking about getting jiggy … because I don’t get jiggy.”

Apollo’s Sun works with local DJ The Visiting during live shows, but trusts only his own instincts to create his EP. “For this particular album, it’s so personal to me that I tried to keep it just between me and my beat machine in my basement,” he says. He then brought in friends and fellow artists from the area to play various instruments and sing vocal parts and hooks.

While Apollo may not have a multi-million dollar recording budget that places the London Philharmonic, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Mary J. Blige at his disposal, he still works much like Kanye West did on his last album. Melodies, beats and instrumental parts crystallize in his mind. Then, he commits them to tape by humming. This way, everything springs from Apollo’s imagination.

The resulting sounds and songs are fresh, though not unfamiliar to anyone already initiated to underground hip-hop. Apollo’s craft and his influences are inspired not only by hip-hop, but anything that gets the creative juices flowing. He turns to Adam Duritz, Chris Martin and Thom Yorke for the emotionally poignant bent of his music, saying “That stuff definitely inspires me to keep grounded in writing from the heart.”
Most inspiring to Apollo’s Sun seems to be the nature, the struggle and the comradery of the scene itself. “The whole underground scene in general inspires me, just because I’m there, [in] the grind of it all – the fact that you don’t have everything you need, the fact that you have to come out of your own pocket to get your CD out.” - Keith Wilson (Flymagazine.net)


Falling Becomes Great - Coming August 2010
After.Words "Before the War" - 2009
Maybe Maxi Single - 2009
Rust. - 2007
The Happy Masochist - 2006



Hailing from the underbrush of the back woods town: York, Pennsylvania, Apollo's Sun wrote his first rhyme at the age of 13. After releasing two half assed demos by the influential age of 16, Apollo decided to master his craft and carve his own niche in the often cliched world of hip hop.

Armed with an MPC2000xl, a handful of talented musicians, and a cunning live DJ, Apollo has been performing live since the age of 16. Opening for hip hop recording artists: Louis Logic, Listener, The Pharcyde, Reef tha Lost Cauze, King Magnetic, Method Man, Black Sheep, KRS-ONE, Mr. Complex, and Bone Thugs N Harmony, Apollo's live set incorporates live instrumentation and back up vocalists ultimately funking up misled hip hop heads all over Pennsylvania. Apollo has performed with underground hip hop acts such as: Phynite, Artists Over Industry, Unit 13, The Visiting, Name, Actual Facts, Alpha Rhythm, Paradise Movement, Image and Steele, Repeat Offenders, Death Before Dishonor, L.E.S. Crew, Elakwents, 8 BZA G, and Dante among others. Apollo has rocked stages ranging in states from New Hampshire to Ohio. Not a stranger to multiple media outlets, Apollo has been featured numerous times in local newspapers and has made an appearance via a video clip on MTV's very own Direct Effect.

In 2006, Apollo released his first commercially available EP titled, "The Happy Masochist." The album features an eclectic mix of talent in the form of VanArsdale & Platts and has gained critical acclaim from local press. Quoted as being "haunting,'' The Happy Masochist was the foundation for a still unsure future. One year and nearly eighty shows later, Apollo's Sun recently released his sophomore EP, "Rust." in November, 2007. The album is a sequal of sorts to "THM" and is his most personal effort to date. Heart wrenching stories of life and loss with glimpses of hope create a balanced listening experience for "Rust.".

Apollo's crowning achievement came in 2008 when Japanese power house hip hop label, GoonTrax, picked up his ode to single mothers, Finding Sunshine for distribution on their highly successful "In Ya Mellow Tone 2" compilation. The record went on to become a #1 seller in Japan, as well as itunes, and is one of the biggest selling hip hop albums in Japan of all time.

August of 2010 sets the stage for the release of Apollo's first full length album, Falling Becomes Great. Falling is Apollo's most focused collection of recordings that will hopefully extend his already growing fan base.

Apollo's Sun is a breath of fresh air to the cluttered genre known as hip hop, offering an alternative perspective to the usual shoot 'em up, booty shaking anthems currently tormenting radio listeners all over the world. His live show is as intense as his recordings and he plans on continuing this trend for 2010 and beyond.