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“Real hip-hop” is a phrase that gets thrown around far too loosely these days by anyone associated with the hip-hop genre. But I would not hesitate to say that Proximity represents that phrase to the fullest. DJ J Steele sets the tone for this group while emcees Provoke and Grafik excel at presenting profound lyrics while also keeping the crowd enthused. I think that Proximity’s lyrics are what separate them from most hip-hop acts. They offer conscious lyrics touching on important social and political issues that are very relatable from the average citizen’s perspective. The group that Proximity reminds me of the most is the great underground crew “Sweatshop Union”. My favorite Proximity tracks: “This is Us”, “Lead by Example”, and “Self Imprisonment”.
-Underground Hip-hop Community ( - Underground Hip Hop Community

"Proximity steps up production on next album"

Hip hop trio Proximity first started in 2003 as a duo of emcees, Graftik and Provoke, adding DJ Steele after their first album in 2005. They came together in Boulder, and they've stuck around since. We'll let Shane Steele explain the rest.

What have you been up to lately?

We've been working on our third album. It's called Lead By Example. Also we've just been doing shows and stuff, too. Pretty much around Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder areas.

You place a lot of importance on your name - What's the significance of “Proximity”?

The definition of proximity is immediate nearness, so we focus on, you know, speaking to the fans on a more of a personal level and trying to include the fans in the shows and having a little more crowd participation and kinda getting more involved in it than just sitting there bobbing you head. If you listen to most of our songs, they're pretty personal. They're more of a conscious hip hop, so to speak, rather than you know, talking about ourselves. Most rap artists out there are pretty, I guess, vain - more kind of rap about themselves rather than speak about issues in the world, personal things, life in general. Our name being Proximity kind of helps us to come up with ideas that are more on a personal level.

The hip hop scene in Boulder isn't huge, what's that like for you?

It's died down quite a bit. It used to be huge when I was growing up. I'm in my early thirties now. There was a lot more hip hop, there were a lot more groups coming through Boulder than there are now.... It's definitely died down a lot in the last few years. I think it's coming back, though. We've been asked to do more shows in Boulder this past year, so I think it's gonna kinda creep back here a little bit.

How do you the three of you work together?

I do all the production, so I make all the beats, I produce, I have all the equipment to record with and on top of that I emcee as well. So a lot of it's, basically, I'll come up with a beat, I'll email it to the other members, they'll listen to it. We get together once or twice a week and we just go over things that need to be done in the group and if there's a new beat that I sent out, we talk about that. Usually a new song comes together every month of two.

Any plans for the new album?

We're really going in a different direction. The older albums are kind of - the production is not up to what it could be. I've gotten a bunch of new equipment and the sound quality is going to be way better. It's going to be way more put together, it's going to flow better, it's going to be more up-tempo and a little on the brighter side... We're trying to kind of catch a wide range of an audience here with the new one ... some electonica type of beats mixed in with traditional hip hop. We're excited about it. It's definitely going to be the best one yet. We're hoping [for the release] around sometime this summer. Probably July or August, is what I'm hoping for myself. - Media News Group Visit our other sites


Proximity Minds 2005
When Push Comes to Shove 2007
Lead by Example Ep 2013 (spotify)

Self Imprisonment Feat Input (Jango Radio)
Impossible Odds Feat Mr. SOS (Jango Radio)
Lead by Example (Jango Radio)



Proximity, the Hip Hop conglomerate from Boulder Colorado, is a group driven from their own life experiences and strong passion for music. Consisting of two emcee’s and a DJ, Proximity manages everything including lyrics, production, artwork, and all aspects of promotion. In 2003 “Provoke” (Eli Cordova) and “Grafik” (Shane Steele) pulled their talents together to make “Proximity Minds”, an 18 track self titled freshman album that sold over 500 copies locally in it’s 2005 release.

Opening for national acts such as Jurassic 5, Swollen Members, and Nas. Proximity added J Steele; a talented DJ with growing skills joined the group and provided the cuts to match the emcee ability. The group now had a DJ as the third member and backbone of Proximity, allowing them to move forward with the release of their second album, “When Push Comes to Shove” two years later. The release of the second album already exceeded each group members wildest dreams and the love from the fans was never appreciated more.

Proximity’s journey has been a long and tedious one, filled with long nights in the studio and countless hours of writing and practice. It’s taken a long time to get where they are at presently and there are no plans of turning back anytime soon. They are independently working on a third album, “Lead by Example”, which has a main focus of setting a good example for the audibly malnourished generation of Hip Hop listeners. “We have to eat to live, it’s what you feed the kids”…