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The best kept secret in music



A thoroughly distracting one-man show, Distrakt and his debut full-length, Distraktions, demands some serious attention. MCs, producers and wannabe mic fiends alike, listen up! Distrakt is preaching wax gospel for the old school. Spin it one time for your mind. You may think it’s over, but the raw energy of this true street presence will keep you coming back.

Perfecting the art of diggin’ the crate, Distrakt comes through with a genuinely hot collection of cuts meshing the old and the new. A vinyl hound at heart, Distrakt weaves polyrhythmic lines with the precision of a surgeon, creating strange, atmospheric conceptions that bob your head for you. A voice from another body entirely, his literate rhymes are not the only thing that will mesmerize you. Quirky, yet sickeningly catchy, beats complement his uniquely piercing vocal style so well one would assume the tracks were “readymade”. But Distrakt does the exact opposite of what his moniker suggests. His music entrances you, gluing your ears to the stereo and your eyes to his liner notes.

After a brief EP with the help of auxiliary producers, Distrakt hits us with his own pure and unadulterated vision. 1 man, an Ensoniq EPS 16 Plus and EMU SP-1200. No filler. No fuckin’ around. With rhymes that deal with the death of friends, poverty of epidemic proportions and the spirit of the hustle, take it from Distrakt himself- “This record is for the survivalist.”

But Distrakt isn’t going anywhere. Public recognition from artists like MF Doom and De La Soul signifies that you’ll be seeing a lot more from Distrakt in the future. Look for his 12”, “Fish Grease,” currently in stores and key in to top tracks like “Money Yo,” “#!*@ Ain’t Sweet,” and “Drugs.” Catch while it’s underground, ‘cause when it comes up, it’ll come up big. - Ben Brundage


My man Omar out in Colorado Springs comes through with a platter of High Plains hip-hip and he is on point. "Sauerkraut" sounds like Funkadelic and Souls of Mischief whitewater rafting down the Arkansas River high on nitrous. Yeeha! - LUCKY 13

"Cross Fire"

Another CD I got given at Scribble Jam and another one that is definitely forking out some cash for. Distrakt, out of Colorado, used to run with Atmosphere’s Ant and this album is proof that he can easily go it alone. Shit Ain’t Sweet is a great track to put on near the start, with its simple but devastatingly effective melody and thumping beat whilst he shows his ability to switch up styles with more soulful vibes like Greed.

The pounding bass of Don’t Get Mad with its “girls pee pee when they see me” sample is a brilliant slice of hip hop and the honky-tonk piano in Too Bad sits nicely off-kilter with his more pushing vocals. Distrakt has put 21 tracks of quality hip hop up on this album, and with his quality beats and solid rapping, he should be checked out without a shadow of a doubt. - The Jektmosphere

"Hip-Hop linguistics"

4 out of 5 rating

Me, me, me!
I gotta be honest with you, man … I’m starting to get tired of some of these hip-hop kids. Those cats that make me go somewhere and take the time to download their albums; then demand status updates; then email me daily; often pressuring me to review their albums. Like I ain’t got a job or something. And then they get all sensitive and pushy when I don’t write a review or don’t rate their albums high enough … never taking the time to say thanks for taking the time. Like they don’t realize that this is all volunteer shit. It’s just “Me, me, me” from these muthafuckas, and I been getting tired of it lately.

I guess the current state of technology and the hip-hop industry are making it harder for artists coming up. Anybody can make an album in their home recording studio these days, and distribute it digitally over the Internet for little investment. The market is overpopulated and often faceless. With this increased competition, hip-hop artists seem to be getting more business-oriented and less personal; more about “me” and less about “us.” Sometimes, I even feel like the underground is becoming a bunch of pushy salespeople trying desperately to get their music heard. And along with being demeaning, that shit is annoying for real.

Instead, I think artists would do better to establish real relationships with their fans. Last week, I received a package from an underground artist called Distrakt from Colorado Springs, which is just an hour and a half or so from where I live in Denver. It contained an entire press kit, a couple stickers, and a nice t-shirt to go along with the behind-the-scenes documentary video intended to give “rare glimpses into the world of Distrakt.” It was a bunch of cool and useful stuff yo, especially the documentary, because it made the act of reviewing the album fun by helping give the artist a real identity that I could relate to. And at the same time, the package helped me out a little ...

Personalizing Hip-Hop
I own like thirty t-shirts. But I only like three or four of them, and I mainly sport the same shit weekly. So a nice new t-shirt is like the greatest thing you could give me. I rocked Distrakt's tee a couple times in NYC, and this weekend when I got back.

Also, my car is one ugly ass grandma-looking ride … I got it from my grandparents and, ironically, I still haven’t been able to completely remove the nursing home parking sticker in the right rear inner windshield. So well-designed stickers are always a great way for me to accessorize.

And while we’re being real here, I ain’t got no social life, dogg … shit, why you think I sit here writing reviews all the time? I’ll take a documentary about a local hip-hop artist any day to help fill the void. Distrakt made my week yo, and showed me that not all hip-hop artists are turning into these "me, me, me" cats.

Mainstream hip-hop seems to revolve around these impersonal, image-based rap stars. But I think the underground, and hence the future of hip-hop, more revolves around locality, community, and a sense of connection, relation or identity between the artists and their fans. Distrakt has this approach, and did a great job gaining the attention of the HHL crew with simple extras that made a big difference.

But even better, the album, entitled “Distraktions,” turned out to be one of the hotter and most comprehensive underground releases of the year. The production is refreshingly original and energetic, and seems to mirror the mood of each song to fit the lyrics perfectly. The subject matter is broad and relative, and displays interesting range of vocabulary and structure. And I just like the way Distrakt flows, mixing Mos Def-ish baritone staccato vocals with creatively aggressive flow and pace. I’m now a member of large local following of Distrakt, which flows throughout many cities in the state of Colorado.

So check out Distrakt from the Springs and his exceptional self-produced release “Distraktions.”

I’m Broke, Beyotch!
And start sending me shit muthafuckas! Me, me, me. If you want your album reviewed, I need clothes, stickers and shit to watch on TV. I’M BROKE, BEYOTCH! Peace.

- Nathaniel Long


Interviewed by Brian Kayser
What's up?

I'm feeling great. I got a lot on my plate today. I just got done working on some beats and now I'm getting ready for a little gig tonight.

What's the Distrakt 101?

I'm the dude that's trying to keep it concrete. There's no artificial flavors. Just straight up, real hip-hop. That's what I'm about. I just want to keep it real. I'm not doing what everybody else is doing. I'm just doing me.

What's the scene like in Colorado Springs?

It's starving and cats are all trying to find their position. When we do get something, we get it last. Cats out here have skills because they have to entertain themselves. There's really not too much to do out here.

What's the hardest part about trying to come up being based in Colorado Springs?

The exposure. On the East or the West, there's always people around and there's always an event to get into. It's not really like that out here.

How would you describe your style?

I strive to be different. I strive to be expressive and bring feeling. I don't put myself in a box at all. I don't do anything hard or anything soft. I just let the lyrics flow. I just let everything come. When I got words, I just let it come. I'm the same way with my beats. I like to mold things like clay. I grab as many sounds as I can and just mold them. I do the same with my rhymes. I grab as many words as I can and just put them on the paper.

Are you happy with your debut album Distraktions?

I'm impressed with it. If I'm not impressed with it, nobody is going to get it. I have to be impressed with it. I made this record for me. People told me I had to make it for what's hot now, but I said, Nah. I have to feel good about it. It has to be something that's natural and organic. It's not something that I'm doing because someone else is doing it. I'm pretty happy with my project.

How's it doing so far?

I can't complain. It's an every day grind. You have to work even harder after every little success. I got a deal through Fat Beats and that was great to get noticed all the way out in New York, but I can't stop. I have to keep doing these shows and recording. I see progress and I see higher heights with every step.

You did everything on this album from the producing, writing to mixing. Why did you go that route?

I look at my project like a newborn baby. When you bring something into the world, you want to make sure it has the proper nourishment. You want to have your hands on everything. You understand that you have molded something that is truly an expression. I tried to grasp the form of expressing myself and that's why I handled everything from the album cover to the engineering of it. I can get in a million dollar studio, but that may not be the sound that I'm going for. It's like cooking. I put all my own ingredients in and some of my ingredients are ancient family secrets that you can't share with anybody. I had to do it, especially being out here in Colorado. If I wanted to get something done, especially with being out in Colorado and not having a lot of people that do what I do, I realized I had to do it myself. That's why I was wearing so many hats on this record.

Did wearing all the hats take away from the project?

Not at all. I'm almost done with the next record. It's a way of life for me. It's like therapy for me. It's like an escape for me. I'm able to sit down after I make some beats and write some scripts up. I enjoy that. It's natural for me.

What was your inspiration for "Fish Grease"?

A lot of my songs come from experiences. "Fish Grease" came from when I was frying some fish and I got popped with some grease. I was watching C-SPAN and I was rubbing the burn from the grease and I see the war and all the foulness going on in the world. It seemed like every time I blinked there was something else burning people up in the world. I was inspired through that whole element from when I got splashed with the fish grease to when I was watching TV and seeing the crazy things going on in the world.

You addressed a lot of issues on "Stereotypes."

"Stereotypes" was a song I felt I had to do. I have zero tolerance for racism. I love all people. I've experienced some things that were real harsh and some people don't understand it. You can't force them to drink but you can lead them to the lake. I thought it would be a good thing to reverse the concept and show "what if this was you?" It wasn't me blaming anybody. I was just saying, Stop it. I'm trying to do my part to end racism on all levels. I love everybody. I just felt it was my duty to give people something to think about. If you're going to distract somebody, you might as well give them food for thought. I wanted to give cats a vision and give them some food for thought.

A lot of the songs on Distraktions are short. Why is that?

I like to get in and get out. Another thing is people's attention spans is like a finger snap. The beats are straightforward and grimy. I'm banging out the drums and the basslines and they make people want to rock when they hear it. It's like going to a race track and as soon as that gun shoots off, the horses are right out the stables. That's how I wanted to approach this instead of massaging people. I want this to be an edgy jumpoff.

What do you use to make your beats?

I work off an SP1200. I record my stuff into Cubase and that's pretty much it. I tinker around with a couple of instruments like the bass guitar and a Wurlitzer electric piano. I mess with the ASR10 sometimes. I try to mess with all different types of machines to get all different kinds of sounds because I believe each machine has its own sound.

Are you looking to do outside production?

I'm in the process of building a couple of projects with some up-and-coming groups. My first love is production and right now I'm just producing me because I have to get that off my chest. I love to share the visions I have that I can't use for myself. I would rather use that for somebody else that would be a better fit.

How's your next album coming?

It's coming great. I'm just sitting here absorbing everything. I'm doing a lot more shows and meeting a lot more people. The sounds and colors that I'm envisioning and splashing together now is different. It's always going to be something different. That's always my attitude when I approach records. I really want people to catch on that Distraktions is a great record, but my next record is going to be another record that's different but it's going to have that same great quality. I don't want to have sequels. I just want everything to be great. It's like thrillers or horror movies. They're both movies, but they're different genres. I think when people hear my next record, it's going to be a different genre than Distraktions. It may not even have a title for the genre yet. I always want to come different and I don't want to bore people. I don't want people to get used to me. People have their signature sound. I want my signature sound to be something you never get used to.

When are you looking to drop the next album?

Next year. I'm striving to get some nice features on the next one. I've been building with Prince Po from Organized Konfusion. I've also been building with POS from Rhymesayers. You'll never see me saturate my record with all these features. I want everybody to realize I am about the beats and the rhymes and I'm not dependent on anybody else. Back in the day the game was about you representing you and holding down your square. That's how I am. I'm also approaching this as a fun record. That's how everybody should approach their albums. This is history and you're documenting your state of mind.

What's your focus going to be for the next couple of months?

I'm hitting the road and I'm still striving to push this record. I'm still working on introducing new songs from the record and getting people familiar. I need to generate more awareness around the map and get out there hard. Hopefully now when the next phase comes around, more people will know what I come with and I'll have new ideas based on my travels. I just want to get out there and grow, meet people and do these shows.

What do you want to say to everybody?

I hope they can be inspired by Distraktions. Have no fear. There are people out here representing real hip-hop. I don't let anything dictate my creativity and you should never let anybody else dictate your creativity. Suggestions and advice are cool, but just do you and you'll be a lot more happier, I believe.

http://myspace.com/distrakt - Brian Kayser


4 out of 5 star rating
Distrakt wears his influences on his sleeve. From soul to classic rappers like Bambaataa, BDP, and Gang Starr, Distrakt was raised listening to the best. He’s a natural crate-digger, and it shows in his jazzy beats. On “Few Bars,” upright bass and horns glisten as Distrakt weaves clever rhymes: “I strike like Mega Force, flame like a torch in a booby-trapped Egyptian temple.” “Fire Escape” brings out funky guitar and an old-school chorus. Distrakt varies his flow, which keeps things fresh despite not having any guests. On “Don’t Get Mad,” he adopts a sing-song style which fits the bumping bassline.

Distrakt’s lyrics are creative too. On “Stereotypes,” Distrakt powerfully addresses racism, using white for black to make listeners really think about it. “BIC” is an a cappella ode to Distrakt’s ball-point pen. “Dirty Record” describes a crate-digger’s dilemma, “The experience of a dirty record, do I pass or do I collect it?” He wraps out with shout-outs to his favorite producers.

Even in this age of home studios, there are few MCs who produce their own beats. This album must have taken an enormous commitment, but it was worth it. This is a strong debut. - Jacob Arnold


1999 See Thru the Dirt
2002 Calculate Depth Thru Introspect
2006 Distraktions


Feeling a bit camera shy


Distrakt ’s first experiences into the entrancing world of music began in his childhood at his grandmother’s jook joint. He’d listen to the jukebox pump out hypnotizing sounds from BB King, Bobby Blue Bland, Aretha Franklin …and the list goes on. His boom box bumped Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force, BDP, Run-DMC, Gangstarr and many more.

Distrakt started rhyming, making beats with pause tapes and collecting records from all his family members in his junior years.The drive for beats and navigating samplers lead Distrakt across town by city bus. He took one day’s ride for just one hour of making beats with Steve The Vocalist and DJ Tony who is now known as Ant from the group Atmosphere. These cats were shopping demos with Jazzy Jay and Afrika Bambaataa. Distrakt met these gentlemen through Cori Edges, who was a golden glove boxer. Two weeks into recording 4-track demos, Cori Edges was brutally murdered. This changed the flow, which halted production.

By the grace of God, Distrakt kept grinding and got a hold of an Ensoniq EPS 16 Plus and an EMU SP-1200. He went his way as a solo force and started to network. A summer in Canoga Park, CA gained Distrakt production and engineering wisdom from Art Stewart. Mr. Stewart produced and engineered for Motown Records. His works are marked in musical history with legends such as Marvin Gaye, Rick James and David Ruffin.

In ’93, Distrakt landed in Minneapolis, Minnesota at a warehouse that housed several producers and DJs. They threw parties in the warehouse to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. They hosted a party nearly every night. “There were enough records in that spot to open up a record store. Crate digging was like a beat maker’s utopia.” Distrakt told one interviewer.. He noticed that to make things move he needed to handle business, so he attended the Colorado Institute of Art. He continued to develop his skills in beats, rhymes, the music business and multimedia.

In ’99, Distrakt released his first tape, “See Thru The Dirt ”. Then in 2000, he did beat production for Geffen record affiliate, General Horror Show. In 2002, Distrakt released “Calculate Depth Thru Introspect ”, the self authored Enhanced CD EP. Distrakt is hitting the East Coast, to the bay, to Japan. He was the local spotlight on KS107.5 FM in Denver, Colorado. His hits also bumped on the underground hip-hop station 1190 AM Basementalism in Boulder, Colorado.

“Fish Grease ” is the title of Distrakt’s first 12-inch EP album, in stores now. He drops his debut CD "Distraktions;" entirely self-produced and distributed by Brooklyn, New York heavyweights Fatbeats. His subject matter reflects the jealousy, worldly bizarre and Distraktions that keep a man off balance. This record is for the survivalist. HE’LL DISTRAKT EVERYBODY!