State of the Arts
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State of the Arts


Band Hip Hop R&B


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Sun Ra Used to Say - 2007 SOTA Records
available for digital downloads via iTunes


Feeling a bit camera shy


Synergy - combined effort being greater than parts Artist collaborations happen all the time. Different artists get together all of the time to make a song together and keep moving. It is rare and special when those artists create such a synergy that it makes a more permanent partnership necessary.

In the case of State of the Arts, that is exactly what happened. State of the Arts (SOTA) was born out of a collective vision to fight the present underachieving, uninspiring environment in the creative arts, especially music, especially hip hop. Hip hop, the music, culture and way of living that captured the world a long time ago through its authentic capture and analysis of our lives, is suffering and on the verge of being lost and disrespected to a point where it is no longer recognizable. It is already being shunned and viewed as cause of destruction and plight instead of being a source of unity, community strength, and artistic expression.

SOTA is composed of 2 separate and well established artists/groups. Blak Salaam and Kalife from Circle of Native Vibes, and Jafar from Raw Earth, realized almost immediately upon recording the first “collabo” that this was something special. The artists have long known each other and moved in similar scenes in the Baltimore/DC Metro area underground music circuit – all making noise and earning respect of fans and other artists.

Salaam and Kalife of CNV have long been seen as originators and are remembered for rocking numerous shows and going against the grain of Baltimore rap. With several independently released albums and countless shows and public appearances, Salaam and Kalife have kept the name Circle of Native Vibes ringing out since the mid 90’s.

Jafar is an artist in every sense of the word. He is an emcee, pure lyricist. But even as his lyrics hit the listener, the fact remains that his rhymes are sometimes overshadowed by the banging tracks he is spitting over. He has been providing beats and music direction to various artists for over a decade and is often compared to some of the best producers in hip hop by anyone who hears his work.

The "Sun Ra Used To Say" album features solo artist Stephanie Lightfoot. The album is a hip hop classic and is an introduction to the world of the State of The Arts. "Sun Ra Used To Say" is a movie of substance in the form of music. Until you have seen a SOTA stage show, you won’t fully understand the magnitude of the group and what it brings to the world stage. High energy with a crisp mic talk will make you wish that the show never ends.

“Performing on stage is like meditation” --Blak Salaam SOTA is a brand that will be around for a long time.