Frozen Tundra
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Frozen Tundra


Band Hip Hop R&B


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"Scene of a Rhyme"

Eau Town wasn't ready for Frozen Tundra.

To break into the music scene, the local hip-hop group became a regular during Wednesday open mic night at The Stones Throw, rapping to a handful of barflies. Word spread. Before long, dozens of fans were attending the open mic sessions to watch the b-boys throw it down.

"We were getting people to come see us on Wednesday just to see Frozen Tundra," vocalist Malcolm "Knowda Fame" Sage said.

That was five years ago. Since then Frozen Tundra has ushered live hip-hop into Eau Claire by performing at venues such as House of Rock, Double Days and Fat Boys.

"There was no hip-hop scene in Eau Claire before we started," Ryan "Wordsmith" Davey said.

Frozen Tundra is organizing a showcase Saturday at The Stones Throw. The Black and White Affair will feature Midwest DJs and bands. Eau Claire comedian Rio will host. Frozen Tundra will headline.

Frozen Tundra boasts four rappers. Sage provides RandB choruses.

"I sand out the edges," he said. "I butter it down."

The group plays a spectrum of hip-hop, including dance, party, cruising, hard core and love songs. Members also rap about human rights and world affairs. They dedicate one tune to the trees that became notebook paper for their rhymes.

"It's not like we're gangsta rappers," Davey, 22, of Eau Claire, said. "We're poets."

Meeting through friends of friends, the five members of Frozen Tundra formed in 2003. They quickly developed a rapport.

"We had all just been making mix tapes out of our boombox," said Mason "Mr. Pizzy" Hatleli, 27, of Eau Claire.

Frozen Tundra has a diverse makeup. Hatleli and his brother Levi "Omega" Hatleli are from Colorado. Mike "M Dubbs" Marano grew up in New York. Homegrown talent Davey is a voracious reader with an expansive vocabulary.

"The stuff that comes out of his mouth leaves your mouth wide open," Sage, 31, of Eau Claire, said.

Members make their own beats and write their own lyrics. They often collaborate on songs.

"There's never been any hostility," Davey said. "We've always stayed really tight with each other. It comes so natural of all of us, and I think it's so special."

Frozen Tundra has encountered friction from skeptics who doubt a rap group can emerge from vanilla Eau Claire. But haters typically change their minds after seeing the group on stage.

"We get all crazy up there," Levi Hatleli, 28, of Eau Claire said. "We put on a good show."

For many Chippewa Valley residents, Frozen Tundra is the first rap group they've seen in person. The experience breaks down cultural barriers, members said.

"When people get to hear live hip-hop, it opens their eyes," Sage said.

Frozen Tundra has performed with national acts The Roots, Jurassic 5, Afroman, Insane Clown Posse and Fat Joe. The group is scheduled to open for Nas next month in Milwaukee.

The group finished in the Top 20 of Lollapalooza's Last Band Standing online contest. It also appears in the upcoming Eau Claire movie "Big Star" and has a song on the soundtrack.

Frozen Tundra has released a four-song demo and nine-track EP on Destine Records, which Sage and Eau Claire comedian Mario Hillman founded in 2001. The group released the full-length disc "Kingpens" in February.

Frozen Tundra has started performing with backup band Free Range. The rappers are committed to the long haul, they said.

Now that Eau Claire has accepted them, will the world?

"We all feel that music is our meal ticket," Sage said. "We all have the same drive."

- By Troy Espe

"Chiller In the Heat"

forefathers of EC hip-hop looking to claim their spot in the national scene

Halfway through the summer heat, hip-hoppers Frozen Tundra are refusing to thaw. The longtime local heroes Knowdafame (Malcolm Sage), Wordsmith (Ryan Davey), Mr. Pizzy (Mason Hateli), M-Dubbs (Mike Marono), and Omega (Levi Hateli) are looking to utilize recent successes to take their music to the nation.

Frozen Tundra formed in 2003, when an Eau Claire hip-hop scene didn’t exist. “All egos aside, we are the godfathers of Eau Claire hip-hop,” Mr. Pizzy said. “When we started, there was no one else here.” Now five years in, the group is excited to be part a community growing like a California wildfire and have a lot of respect for the level of talent in all genres of music in the Chippewa Valley. Their particular style of hip-hop features four rotating MCs and one soulful vocalist, Knowdafame. All members make the catchy beats, the kindling for the rapid lyrics in the verses. Members say they get their inspiration from the personal struggles of each of their diverse lives

Over the years, Frozen T has released two discs as a full group and the individual members together have put out six solo discs all, on the local label Destine Records. The latest group disc, Kingpens, is the hottest commodity, benefitting from the professional studio production provided by McLooney Tunes Music and Multimedia Production in Winona, Minn. The studio time was a result of winning a battle of the bands competition in Winona.

Still burning bright from their battle success, they recently they got to the top 20 in the Lollapalooza Last Band Standing competition, which started with thousands. They made it through a round of fan voting and a round judged by a panel including Perry Ferrel (frontman of Jane’s Addiction and founder of Lollapalooza) before being eliminated by fan voting in the third round.

With a professional level disc, years of experience under their belt, and some national exposure, the gang is looking to take the act to the rest of United States – something they have hesitated to do.

“We don’t want to do it half-assed,” Knowdafame said. “To do a full tour you have to be prepared. A lot of groups want to hit the road right away and get out in front of a lot of people and think that will bring them success. But there are a lot of things on the business end to consider. You have to market yourself correctly and you want to leave the best possible impression on the audience.”

The group also cited family and job schedules as logistical challenges. Up to now, Frozen has forgone traveling tours, preferring to play around Wisconsin and Minnesota opening up for national acts such as Jurassic 5, Fat Joe, and an upcoming show with N.A.S. But within the next year they plan to hit the road, hopefully as an opening act for an already established performer.

Meanwhile in Eau Claire, they strive to improve the scene which they helped start with a new kind of show. The Black and White Affair on Aug. 9 at the Stones Throw is a concert intended to keep the audience there from start to finish. The attendees are require to wear black and/or white for admittance (appropriate attire will be available for a small fee at the door) and will be treated to full lineup featuring DJ BeZe, DJ Smiley, Max Power and the Feedback, Dirty Dozen, Rio, Fathom, Hyder Ali, and Blinded. Local business will also be showcased. The idea is to create a classy party in a smoke-free environment which allow people to dress up or down – a unique experience from other concerts or club scenes in the area.

Things seemed to be heating up for Frozen Tundra, but they won’t forget their fans or where they came from, promising: “Be ready and support, and we will represent where we are at.”
- words by Chris Henson/VolumeOne Magazine


2002 Chapter One The Beginning EP
2003 Mans Destiny EP
2004 Repin Midwest
2008 Kingpens



Destine Records Inc recording artist Frozen Tundra are redefining hip hop and r&b for the 21st century. A raw blend of hard rap lyrics mixed smooth r&b verses. Their hooks & choruses are sure to grab immediate attention. Frozen Tundra's music is designed to make you think, feel, and believe in the power of hip hop and r&B. Their debut cd "Repin Midwest" was released in 2004. Before Repin Midwest Frozen Tundra group members Knowda Fame, Wordsmith & Mr. Pizzy released solo cds. In 2002 group member Knowda Fame then referred to as Malc released an ep entitled "Chapter One The Beginning" This cd includes the hit song never fall which quickly turned to a hit at live shows. In 2003, Wordsmith & Mr. Pizzy released an ep entitled Mans Destiny. This cd included the hit song "Mans Destiny" which was an internet favorite. To hear the above listed earlier tracks go to In 2004 Frozen Tundra members M-dubbz, Knowda Fame, Wordsmith & Mr. Pizzy released their debut cd "Repin Midwest" This cd brought new sucess to the group. This cd includes 6 banging tracks with each member being able to showcase their own skills while aslo sharing the microphone as one. While all songs are banging there are three that stand out, "No He Didn't" with its catchy chorus sends crowds into a frenzy. "Ay Pappi" is a club favorite and has been constant rotation at the clubs. The last song "Freedom" is a fan favorite to see live, as it pure emotion. This cd can be previewed at Frozen Tundra reputation continues to grow with their 2008 release "KINGPENS" feat. Wordsmith & Mr. Pizzy of Frozen Tundra. Standout songs to check out are "Kingpens", "Delegation", "Dance & Learn", & "Keep Following". Be sure to check them out right here on sonic bids. Since forming as a group in 2003 Frozen Tundra has performed with Grammy nominated artist Fat Joe & Terror Squad, Drag-On of Ruff Ryders, Jurassis 5, The Roots, Insane Clown Posse, Afro-Man, Public Annoucement, Rhymesayers own POS, Heiruspecs, Doomtree, Carnage, Down Lo, The Crest, Rusty P's, Fat C, Orestus, The Blend, & Irie Sol. In 2009 & beyond Frozen Tundra is looking to bring their live show to a larger and more diverse audience.