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Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Supergroup to the Rescue"

Supergroup to the rescue
Mr. Parker teams up with Natty Nation to form dumate
'Twas opening weekend for a certain superhero-themed movie sequel, and from stem to stern, the nation was caught in the grip of Spider-Mania. What better time, then, to catch Peter Parker in action?

The posh confines of Club Majestic was the setting last Friday for what looked like a couple hundred or more members of the Madtown young and restless, as Parker (a.k.a. Mr. Parker, Madison's own web-slinging emcee) and the dreadlocked princes of dumate set forth on a mission to liberate minds, booties and hip-hop itself.

dumate, of course, are the highly touted union of Mr. Parker and local reggae wizards Natty Nation. The match was made over the winter and, with a growing body of material in their quiver, the band debuted this spring at a WORT-FM block party.

It certainly seems a can't-miss proposition. The Natties (who have no plans to slow down their own endeavors) get to stretch their formidable talents in a new direction, swapping roots reggae for the Roots. And Parker, whose Smokin' With Superman ended their bountiful run last month, has a fresh set of grooves to support his smoother-than-Astroglide phraseology.

But how did this grand experiment play to the masses at the Maj?

I got through the airport security out front just in time to catch the waning moments of the evening's opening set, supplied by local all-star aggregate Universal Soul. If brief first impressions count, the group lived up to their name with a righteous blend of uptown funk and downtown style.

After a pleasantly short intermission, the three-headed beast known as the Crest threw down a 40-minute set that drew mixed interest from the crowd. With their baggy-trousered bravado, they adopted a decidedly more aggressive stance than their billmates, which led the more timid to keep their distance. Even so, it didn't take long for the trio's booming, in-yer-grill beats and motormouth rhymes to get feet moving and hips gyrating in the most lurid manner.

By the time dumate (pronounced DOO-muh-tay) hit the stage, the audience -- predominantly college-age, casually fashionable and displaying copious amounts of leg -- were well-lubricated and primed to party. And the headliners grabbed hold of 'em right from the first, unleashing a razor-sharp riff that cut through the room like a bolt of lightning. Aaron Konkol, using both Nord and Moog synthesizers, teamed with bassist Demetrius Wainwright and the percussion tandem of Peter Johnston and Paul Willis to lock in muscular and slightly foreboding grooves that Dr. Dre would just love to sample.

It felt slightly odd to hear the normally peaceable Natties kicking so much musical butt, but the bodies in motion that packed the pit and lined the balcony bore witness to the rightness of it all. Aided by the Majestic's superlative speaker system, they cruised everything from g-funk to Stax soul, even lending measured doses of Kingston flava to move things along. Wainwright and guitarist Stefan Truesdell shared vocal duties on a consciousness-raising dancehall number, while a few tracks showcased a more chilled-out, soul-jazz vibe that fondly recalled Parker's Smokin' buddies.

Donning a rasta cap and oversized golf shirt, Parker let his spidey senses guide him throughout the show, orating with a flow that rarely sacrificed substance for style. Unfortunately, the band outlasted many in the crowd who, I'm sure, would be sorry to learn they missed a skintight, Parker-embellished cover of Mary J's "Family Affair," which ratcheted the diehard revelers even higher late in the set.

The band's case was made regardless. With superior musicianship and a positive agenda, dumate ought to prove more durable than any supergroup or mere side project. And those attracted by the rumble of a wicked bass line and the energy of an elastic emcee ought to scribble this band's name on their summer list of things to do.

Written by Al Ritchie - Isthmus

"dumate Delivers"

The Music

JAH Boogie slowly moves behind the drum kit while A2the climbs behind his stack of vintage keys. Heads start turning to the stage, curious, waiting, listening, ready to hear some truth. Bobby Peru swings his upright bass into position as Boogie starts off the first tune. The esteemed Mr. Parker ambles up to the stage exuding confidence and talent. Every other face, both in the crowd and on the stage, is a different color and all of them seem to be smiling. Barefoot hippie girls mix with backpack kids and jazz cats, all ready to vibe with the band. If you’re looking for cultural diversity in Madison, if you’re looking for a vibe that transcends race, if you’re listening for a sound that cuts through the bullshit and delivers a message wrapped in a fierce groove, this is the show and this is the band.

On the verge of releasing their first album, dumate rite (the known knowns), with a vastly talented group of professionals at the helm, dumate is ready to break. Melding members of Natty Nation, Smoking with Superman and El Clan Destino, this is an intense and inspiring group of intelligent, passionate and politically motivated musicians who constantly strive to deliver that vibe.

“We’re all hip-hop heads,” keyboardist A2the proudly professes. “That’s what it comes down to. We all have the motivation to load all those damn keyboards and drums in and out, upstairs, downstairs, in and out of clubs, because we love it. We love this shit.”

Let’s be clear: dumate is about more than throwing rhymes over beats. This is a live band, creating their groove from scratch and cultivating their sound from show to show and beat to beat.

“Nothing beats a live band,” drummer JAH Boogie explains. “But it takes a certain emcee to deal with it. I think Mr. Parker can deal with a live band better than a lot of emcees.”

“It’s a whole different thing,” adds Parker. “When you have a band, you have to be an instrument, too. You have to blend in, know when to come hard, know when to pull back. It’s like playing an instrument; it’s more than just rapping.”

“And it makes the show change every time,” A2the interjects. “There’s no way we’re going to play the song exactly the same every time. There’s going to be a different energy no matter what. Whatever’s going on that night is affecting all of us. You can feed off the crowd. There’s just more of that than playing the same track every time when the only variable changing is the emcee. With us, there’s a lot more to focus on than just the emcee.”

This isn’t to say that the boys in dumate have anything against the more traditional hip-hop structure with a DJ supplying the beats. They’ve just found that the freedom and camaraderie of a stage full of musicians lets them vibe off the crowd and jam in a way that playing pre-produced tracks won’t allow. However, this band does strive to emulate the elements of hip-hop that have been crafted by turntablists cutting beats over the past thirty years.

“Hip-hop really started with DJs,” A2the argues. “That’s what brought it into the aesthetic of what it is right now. It’s people taking a beat, taking a break from whatever record, and looping it. It was all the DJ doing that, creating that music. We want to try to create that same aesthetic, like a sample-based aesthetic with a band.”

They accomplish this in many slick, savvy ways. The technique Boogie uses on his snare, popping it out and slamming it in, is reminiscent of the cutting styles of hip-hop jocks while the keyboards maintain a loop- based feel through many of the band’s tunes. Bassist Bobby Peru uses the DJ’s improvisational style to inform the subtleties of his performance.

“What’s interesting is that with turntables, a lot of times DJs will improvise with space,” Peru explains. “They have all these sounds going on out there at the same time, so they can improvise by pulling the fader back and using space. As a jazz player and playing a lot of Latin music, what I get most out of this band is using space in my playing and experimenting with that.”

The different styles of music that the members of this band have worked with, from dub and reggae to Latin and jazz, all find their way into this eclectic mix. That’s the thing about hip-hop: it is always open to new ideas and new structures reforming the mold. In a very real way, the ingenuity and inventiveness of hip-hop comes from its proclivity to take any groove that inspires and cast it into something new.

“I think with hip-hop, it’s very eclectic in itself in how it was formed,” Peru continues. “It does come from roots and reggae; it was all through music that has migrated. So it seems natural that, because we play hip-hop, we are going to sample from as many genres as possible because that’s what it is. It is samples. That’s what hip-hop does.”

The Message

Everybody is moving to the beat now. The bass is humming, the kick thumps through the room and the keys dance delicately over the groove. But as hot as the band sounds, with the music building and flowing and mutating and growing, there is something else going on here. Every once in a while you see the expression on someone’s face change and you can tell that a touch of the wisdom flowing through Mr. Parker’s microphone is hitting its mark. This is a message that’s opening minds and souls. “because political rap is the only thing that I know / the only spit that i flow, trapped and i won’t let go / ignorance is bliss, my knowledge is abyss / i’m keen to the ways of the world and straight pissed.” The room is locked into the moment. This is genuine emotion, a genuine point of view. “95% don’t know to exist, beyond what is led they get caught up in the mist / my people fought hard to resist, wars over divine rights they call scripts / brainwashed into Christ and all of this / religion is a way to keep us all stiff / keep us in line with will to achieve / if they hadn’t stolen Africa, my people wouldn’t believe / that’s why my name is laduma, not Ricky or Steve / my last name is not Jones, Williams or Lee / i’m an African native willing to be / a voice for my whole tribe if they give it to me / while the rich get richer, the poor get burned / money makes power, Bush gets new terms / a hungry child waits for food with no shoes / celebrities lose some weight and make news.”

A new movement is gaining momentum in modern hip-hop. While rock rehashes old news and pop sluts push the status quo, hip-hop is taking back the socially relevant roots from which it grew. While divergent paths took hip-hop through the pain of gang life and the materialistic muck of “bling,” the ability for street poets to educate, elucidate and entertain is being reclaimed by a new generation of urban musicians. While Kanye and Common may be the most visible leaders of this new movement, dumate has immersed themselves in a defined consciousness and stand on the front line, speaking truth and slinging beats like so many bombs.

“Soldiers are beating on the tanks and rhyming about killing in Iraq ,” Boogie explains as he beats out a groove on the steel table in front of him. “Hip-hop is so wide, man. They’re listening to hip-hop and firing off shots.”

New battle lines are being drawn in the wake of worldwide strife and dumate are standing strong. Speaking truth is never easy. Rapping truth is damn near impossible. So much money and fame corrupt the message, with record labels peddling songs that denigrate and destroy so much that’s been accomplished.

“First and foremost, we’re artists,” Parker states. “But at the same time, when you have a forum like hip-hop has, to be able to say something, with its roots based in social consciousness, there’s a moral obligation, more than an artistic obligation, to use that power to express words that you know are true. You know that people are watching the news and getting false prophecies from false prophets ?that’s from a Natty Nation song. It’s a moral obligation to make it happen so that people understand that hip-hop won’t stand for the way the world is. That hip-hop won’t take it lying down. Then there’s the issue with money and the fact that you can be so much more comfortable about the world being messed up in a Bentley than in a Ford Escort. If the world is all messed up and the world’s all fucked up and the President’s fucking up, you can be a lot more comfortable with that in a hot tub with Cristal than outside in your kiddie pool drinking Kool-Aid.”

While the pimp-centric and misogynistic message of mainstream hip-hop may still be the music of the masses, the voices of socially conscious emcees are beginning to break through the din. But it’s going to take more than just an important message to get the words into ears that need to hear. It’s going to take smart marketing, inventive positioning and an intelligent approach to business to break their message into the mainstream. dumate will be supporting their new album with the goal of playing the world. You aren’t going to see this band playing every other weekend at every damn club in town. They are thinking big-picture.

“Don’t play one market over and over and over again” A2the advises. “Just don’t do it. There’s no way to get what you want and get people to come to your shows if you’re playing all the time. People will say ‘I can catch them anytime?they play every week.’ And if you’re not playing in town all the time, you should be playing out of town. That’s how you’re going to be successful. That’s how people are going to hear your music. That’s how people are going to buy your music, which is what everybody wants. You want to be able to quit your day job and just do this all the time, because this is what you want to do, right? So take care of the business end.”

Then there are the more basic elements that can make all the difference between the audience hearing the message or missing the point. After all, if we’re talking about the message, it just has to come through loud and clear.

“This is a general statement for all emcees out there: Do not cup the microphone,” Parker demands. “It may look cool, but if you hold a microphone the right way, which is no fingers on the coils, it’ll sound better every time. Because it is not dope, I repeat, it is not dope. Do not cover the microphone up. We want to hear what you’re saying. That goes to everyone reading this. I love you all, but don’t cup the microphone.”

The Future

The new album drops in the next month (see review in sidebar). After working with Beau Sorenson at Smart Studios to generate the final mix, the album is finished and, as of press, is on its way to be pressed. But just as hip-hop is constantly evolving, so is dumate. By the time the new CD hits the streets, the sound and presence of this band will already have reformed into something new.

“The new dumate is not what’s on the record to me. We’re already past that,” declares Boogie. “But that’s what makes hip-hop dope. You just keep evolving. You can’t just stay still.”

The band has already supplied their fans with live CDs and even a DVD and they plan to continue to release live material that shows their forward motion. The new album, however, will reveal how polished and clean this band can sound with the power of a full-scale production. As Parker explains it, this new album “is just the shiny Cadillac that pulls out front to get people to say, ‘Okay, who’s that?’ But then when they open the door, we got all sorts of other things going on. But we definitely need the prized piece that’s pristine, you can play it anywhere and it sounds crispy and crackly and moist and all that shit.”

Luckily, Madison ’s hip-hop community has moved away from the backstabbing and infighting that plagues so many in the music scene. Parker hails from Maryland and appreciates the dramatic differences between the pressure of the East Coast and the support he feels here. “You can get some local love in Madison , which can help you move forward. On the East Coast, it’s hard to get that local support. The vibe is different. Out there it’s dog-eat-dog, you need to get this show and it’s about money, money, money. The art gets a little lost in the dogfight. I like Madison hip-hop, dammit.”

What these boys want is to take that momentum that they’re building locally and use it to take over the world. In the hip-hop scene, the only way your message is going to find a voice is to make it into the exclusive club of the platinum elite. That’s the prize. But while money and fame are a big part of the deal, for dumate it’s more important to be part of the growing presence of conscious, intelligent hip-hop pioneers. Dreaming of success and waiting for the day when incredible talent is recognized and rewarded on merit alone is… well… naive. Working every day, building up your tools and your talent, creating and crafting and rehearsing and pushing is the only realistic way to expect your message to make it through all the noise.

“This is the real world,” A2the says. “You have to embrace reality, not realize it and run away from it.” - Rick's Cafe's Tim Thompson

"rite of passage: dumate comes of age on its debut CD"


Laduma Nguyuza was 15 and working in the bakery of a Giant Food store in Silver Spring, Md., when a customer told him something he's carried with him ever since.

"A lady saw my nametag and told me 'duma' meant profound thought," says Nguyuza. "She said the verb form of the word was 'dumate,' meaning to have a profound thought."

Today, Nguyuza is a 27-year old UW-Madison African American Studies major who MCs (under the pseudonym Mr. Parker) for dumate, the Madison hip-hop band bearing the name of that Giant Food moment.

This week, the band released its debut CD, dumate rite (the known knows), and its verses contain no shortage of profound thoughts. Politically, it confronts the greed and emptiness of commercial rap while embracing the promise of hip-hop culture.

"We're not out to hate anything," says Nguyuza. "But hip-hop and rap are inherently different. Rap is an industry and generates products for the purpose of sales. We view hip-hop as a way of educating. There are many underprivileged communities that listen to this type of music, and we want it to speak to vertical consciousness, meaning to be conscious not of what is, but what could be."

Nguyuza knows something about being an outsider. He is a black male born into South African citizenship (which he still maintains) in 1978. Since his parents moved to New York when he was 6, Nguyuza has resided as a non-citizen in the United States. He is now the only member of his family not to have elected American citizenship.

Nguyuza and his MC persona, Mr. Parker, are not new to the Madison music scene. Mr. Parker began performing in Smokin' With Superman in 1999, a year after he first arrived here from Maryland. dumate is his collaboration with members of Madison's longstanding reggae band Natty Nation. It was born on a fateful night in January 2004 when Natty spontaneously invited him on stage during a show at the King Club.

"My perception of Natty was reggae," says Nguyuza. "But Demetrius ("Jah Boogie" Wainwright) said, 'We're hip-hop first.'"

"Most rap is whack" is a running theme in dumate rite. But the recording emerges in more personal terms as a coming-of-age narrative. With Mr. Parker front and center as protagonist, we hear an MC gaining awareness of the evil surrounding him, assessing and testing his capacity to fight back, to preserve his own integrity.

It's a journey laden with conflicting emotions. The title track, "dumate rite," is an exhilarating victory lap in which the artist claims his inalienable right to "write what dumate likes" and realizes the power therein. But "hold on" faces the fear of not knowing "if I can take the pressure" or "if I can maintain."

Somewhere in-between, reflections on the meaning of art and vocation unfold. The must-hear track on this album is "mercury rising." Here, Aaron Konkol's contemplative keyboard instrumentation beautifully underscores Mr. Parker's musings. If we give the people what they want, he asks, "what would be the point?" It is soul with a soul.

The fact that Mr. Parker's persona is inspired by Spiderman's alter ego (Peter Parker) further reinforces the coming-of-age theme. Peter Parker is a character who exercises his secret powers with ambivalence, responsibility and skill. Growing into his own powers, Mr. Parker shares similar emotions throughout dumate rite.

"Mr. Parker is a smooth-performing, keep-it-cool type of guy," says Nguyuza. "Laduma is just a goofy, nerdy guy who likes to read and likes computers."

The CD's lyrical tension and soulful instrumentation combine to make it a heavyweight achievement. It is true to the most liberating verses and electrifying beats of old-school hip-hop, reaped from a stranger's "profound thought" across the counter of a bakery long ago. - The Isthmus' Rich Albertoni

"dumate keeps it real"



For dumate, the moment the band finished mixing their first song after a several hour mixing marathon session at Smart Studios wasn't just satisfying – it was downright spiritual.

"We all felt it – everybody was just looking at each other but nobody said much," keyboardist Aaron "A2the" Konkol said. "I'm not a big crying type of guy, but this was as close as I ever got to crying from just pure emotion."

Lyricist Mr. Parker – who would later deem the experience comparably intense to when a Christian becomes born again – walked out of the room to catch his breath, his eyes welling with tears. "It felt like it was a train of positive energy that swept us up and took us on this ride," he recalled.

Konkol admits that it sounds cheesy, but Mr. Parker isn't bashful talking about it. He says he's learned the importance of appreciating moments like these, and there's nothing contradictory about an emcee embracing sentimentality.

"You don't have to be hard and masculine to be a hip-hop artist," he explained. "Lyrically speaking, we wanted to show to the world that you can be conscious and smart and witty and funny and serious and political and not take yourself seriously, and be all those things, and also be a hip-hop artist."

The state of rap music and hip-hop culture (which, in the spirit of KRS-One's teachings, the band spells Hiphop Kulture) is the most dominant lyrical theme on dumate's first album, dumate rite (the known knowns), although plenty of other social and political issues are also tackled. The record documents a band that, while positive-minded and progressive – the "d" in their name is left un-capitalized as a statement against capitalism – is never preachy. They strive for something a bit more grounded, topical and "real" than the over-the-top positivity of Arrested Development.

The actual sound and feel of dumate riteowes much to the '90s albums recorded by hip-hop's seminal live band, the Roots.

"Musically, we were going for a live feel with the right studio sound – an authentic hip-hop sound," explained drummer Jah Boogie, the longtime Natty Nation frontman who founded dumate as an outlet for some hip-hop ideas he had that didn't mesh with his band's reggae vision. "We wanted to make sure the beats are banging and that the rhymes are just out of this world."

To guarantee they achieved that classic sound, they took the record out to New York to be mastered by Tom Coyne, an industry veteran who's worked on classics by the Roots as well as De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Common. In between putting his distinct touch on dumate rite, he regaled the band with anecdotes from his days mastering Wu Tang Forever as Ghostface Killah pulled a gun on him and Ol' Dirty Bastard, having just been shot in the stomach the day before, came into the studio chugging a bottle of gin.

The band celebrates the release of dumate rite, which hits stores Dec.13, with a two-day CD release party at The King Club on Friday and Saturday. The shows will be an opportunity for audiences to see just how the group's sound has evolved since they recently added their newest member, bassist Bobby Peru. Best known for playing Latin music with local staples El Clan Destino, Peru is also a familiar, smiling face at local jazz jams. He's a relative newbie to the hip-hop circuit, but his bass work makes it clear that he's clocked his share of time listening to the upright bass-driven raps from A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory.

After the release party, the band will begin a process every bit as exhausting as actually recording the album: marketing it and finding distribution. The group's strategy is a long-term one: Instead of just promoting themselves and their music, they're trying to spread awareness of hip-hop culture.

Reaching out to youth is particularly important, according to Mr. Parker, who cites hip-hop as an effective educational tool and has a long history of working with kids. Every Saturday morning, he and Konkol pull themselves out of bed to volunteer at the African American Ethnic Studies Academy.

The band admits that dividing their time between their musical endeavors and their collective day jobs, community commitments, academic pursuits, families and girlfriends isn't always easy.

"We do this because we love this, but all our girls hate us right now," Konkol said.

"Or they're expecting that when we do pop," Parker added, "they'll be compensated accordingly." - Core Weekly's Evan J. Rytlewski

"Benefit at Orpheum aids Katrina victims"

He said it was the least he could do, yet laduma nguyuza's 35-minute hip-hop set meant a great deal to the 200 or so people who spent Monday night at the Orpheum Theatre listening to a half-dozen bands, dancing, drinking beer and in the process raising money for Hurricane Katrina relief.

There was possibly no one it meant more to than hurricane victim Bryan Burgess, who gave nguyuza a big hug as the singer exited the stage.

"We get some good music in New Orleans, but this band is awesome," said Burgess, 25, one of 13 Hurricane Katrina evacuees who arrived in Madison Friday on a bus from the Astrodome in Houston. Burgess and three other evacuees made an appearance at the event and said a few words from the stage, sharing their experiences and expressing their gratitude to the community for such a warm welcome.

"I think I've found a new home," said Burgess, a cook, who already has a restaurant job lined up. "I love Madison. It's nothing like New Orleans. It's way better."

Burgess said he is most impressed by "the way the community sticks together."Ronald Hampton, a 36-year-old heavy equipment operator and fellow evacuee, said he has enjoyed sightseeing here and is surprised by Madison's "modernness."

"I'm still overwhelmed," said Hampton, who is mulling job offers from Oscar Mayer, Subzero and Caterpillar.

Nguyuza, whose band dumate volunteered its time for the benefit, said that as a poor college student, performing music was the only way he could help.

The audience grooved to his song, "Political Rap" with the chorus:

Rich get richer,

Poor get burned

Money makes power

Bush gets new terms

A hungry child waits for food with no shoes

Celebrities lose some weight and make news.

"We live in a country that is very biased in terms of who gets aid and who matters," nguyuza said afterward.

"When the right kind of lifestyle is threatened, aid comes out of the woodwork and it's not the same for poor black people. It's not the same at all."

Orpheum manager Jesse Holst pulled the benefit together in less than two weeks with no money. The only publicity was word-of-mouth and promotion on community radio station WORT/FM 89.9, which broadcast the event.

The benefit raised more than $1,400 for the Red Cross' Katrina relief, plus whatever amount radio listeners donated. They were urged to call 1-800-HELP-NOW or to visit www.networkforgood.org, and make donations to dozens of nonprofit groups helping Gulf Coast victims.

Holst, who also serves as a bartender and projectionist, was pleased with the Monday night turnout and was grateful to the evacuees for showing up to put a human face on a humanitarian crisis.

"It helps make it real to people who only see it on TV," Holst said.

"The whole experience is really going to open a dialogue between the two Americas," he said. "Not North and South, but the people that the status quo takes care of and the people that it doesn't take care of."

Rita Adair, the Dane County social worker who spearheaded the effort to bring the 13 evacuees to Madison, said at the event that it is going to take many efforts to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the disaster.

"We have to all get together," she said. "The Red Cross can't do it alone. I can't do it alone." - By Samara Kalk Derby


dumate rite (the known knowns)-CD

Live on the Urban Theater Vol. I (4.21.05)-CD
Live on the Urban Theater Vol. II (9.8.05)-CD
Live on the Urban Theater Vol. II (9.8.05)-DVD



dumate (pronounced DOO - muh - tay) is a Hiphop band. we concentrate on social/political rhymes and original, hard hitting beats. reminicent of Hip Hop before all the ice and lame hood stories.

dumate is Hiphop. deeply influenced by the life and energy of Hiphop Kulture, the members are at odds with the media's depictions of rap music (the only element of Hiphop Kulture that gets any media attention).

dumate erupted on the Madison Hiphop scene in 2004, playing a string of explosive live sets to critical acclaim. with Mr. Parker on the rhymes, and a full band of Madison all-stars behind him, the group quickly secured a place in Madison's ever growing & maturing Hiphop scene.

by combining old-school beat making approaches with innovative studio techniques, vicious, politically charged rhymes, and a slammin' live set, dumate is the next step in true-school Hiphop.