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Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Pop Hip Hop


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The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) for local theater ended with August’s final awards ceremony, but the CEAs for music are still going strong. The nominees for this year’s 14th annual event are in and you can vote now here. This year’s trophies will be given out on Nov. 21 at another sure-to-be legendary CEA party at the Madison Theater in Covington.
The 2010 class of CEA nominations features the usual mix of veteran artists and newer, up-and-coming acts..........

.........While those categories are voted on by the public, the three “Critical Achievement Awards” are chosen by the CEA nominating committee. In the “New Artist of the Year” category, Pop Empire, Fists of Love, No No Knots, Soapland, 20th Century Tokyo Princess, Oxford Cotton, UZI and The Skeetones are nominated. Many of those artists will perform at Nov. 13’s 10th annual BRINK New Music Showcase, which this year is moving to four venues in Northside and will be completely free (look for more details next week).......
- CityBeat Cincinnati, Ohio

Uzi. It’s a gun, yeah, but hang on: This band isn’t about violence.

Instead, there’s a positive slant to the tunes. Here, only the electronic, smooth sound of the word applies and the gun ref becomes just another ironic twist. No bullets, triggers, etc.

Mixing mainstream-worthy appeal with underground tricks, Uzi spins out kickin’ dance beats and cool raps, sneaking in guitars. Between layers and effects. There’s a lot shooting out here, but they’re ear-catchers.

In two short years, the Cincinnati group has performed with big cats, such as Grammy-nominated LMFAO, Big Sean and Mike Posner. Sure, Uzi’s new. The members record at home and some tracks are busy as all get-out, but these four are working out a sound that’s no small deal.

“Pipedreamin,” “Fallen” and several others scream out with that “hit mentality,” and the chosen beats and arrangement are damn good. Sexy and energized, with constant movement. Just envision some hot people playing these tracks in the car, jamming along, wearing big-ass sunglasses.

From Los Angeles, Gabe (vocals) smiles a lot and digs the word “absolutely.” Picture cammo shorts, scattered chains on his neck and wrist. Wide-set eyes, orange Adidas shoes. Sensitive, medium-toned voice.

When Mom moved him to Cincinnati, culture shock hit and, yeah, he stood out. Gabe wrote about “suburbia stuff.” Suddenly, he couldn’t believe life’s snail pace.

“Kids grew up so much faster in California,” he says. Rapping at lunchtime for fun, he later hooked up with Tone, and they decided to do some podcasts.

Tone (vocals) wears a bright blue Polo and comes across as serious, but a sensitivity lurks about him. Can’t help but notice his neon green watch. Like Gabe, he rapped in high school freestyle.

“It was natural for me. I always had something to say,” he says. No fear here.

Uzi members are aware of this do-it-yourself generation, and they work it all out alone, from music to Web graphics to lyrics.

“I just fell in love with creating music with my friends … absolutely," Gabe says. "Everyday life experiences. I’ve never been really good with coming up with bullshit raps. A lot of rappers just talk shit about themselves. I’m better at writing shit I’ve been going through, more in a conversational tone. We’re just trying to share our story. We hope people can relate to that.”

One curious black curl droops across guitarist Mike’s forehead, hiding his right eye. Dark, sharp features, gold chains, expressive brows, long ’burns.

Also in charge of beats, Mike explains, “It’s more storytelling than Rap.”

Piano, tuba, bass, drums — he’s been all over the map, literally and figuratively. Mike lived in Japan for a while.

“Listening to music in different countries subconsciously seeped into my psyche," Mike says. "In Japan, they’re a lot more embracing. They get fired up about opening acts as well. Here, the opening bands get no love at all.”

Back in the States, he wrote beats and met Tone. Improvising, they held live jam sessions with a laptop and mic, then did some insane live video work, adding Gabe in on the mix.

“As soon as we got together, we felt like we were doing the right thing," Mike says. "That’s the message. Wherever you are, whatever walk of life you come from, you can relate and come together and listen to Uzi.”

Gabe agrees. “Absolutely. Things are definitely changing … these are concepts that anyone can relate to, from the suburbs or the ghetto or the country or whatever. I want Uzi to be known as a band that takes kids from all these different scenes and they all come together and come to our shows and relate to us socially.”

Cameron (drums) has lionish long, dark hair, a Rancid T-shirt and chomps gum. Playing live only, he says, “I always wanted to do music as a career, not a hobby. I saw what they were doing and I was very excited about the opportunity.”

Last year, Uzi contacted Michigan’s DJ Benzi, who soon agreed to put his stamp on Uzi’s first CD.

“It filters us from 99 percent of up-and-coming artists, because it has his official stamp on there,” Gabe says.

Uzi’s 13-track CD is finished, but they're waiting a bit to release it. Some things are all about the timing.

Radio play, touring, fan base — they’re hunting it all down. Smartly, they aim for what they know. And they’re patient. Rather than trying to create unfamiliar urban Rap, they come from the inside, digging out a familiar beat.

On planet Uzi, they’re all about target practice. Absolutely. - CityBeat Cincinnati, Ohio


Extended Play : Hosted by DJ Clockwork (EP)

DJ Benzi X DJ EV Present: Uzi

No radio airplay yet.



Enter Planet Uzi and find yourself surrounded by hypnotic synth melodies, rapid paced snares, and euphoric rap vocals worthy of cruising Lake Shore Drive in the Delorean.

UZi's unique blend of Indie/pop/rap are the constants and the base on which Planet Uzi survives.

Constructed by the minds of Gabe Tone & Mike are the blueprints for Planet Uzi, which all began with the simple urge to push the boundaries of music, and evolve into something more than the typical rap/or indie rock group. They allowed their minds to leave earth, eventually reaching their euphoric and eclectic destination UZi. A planet created to commence a revolution for generation y.

Having opened for Mike Posner, Chip tha Ripper, Young Dro, Grammy nominated LMFAO and other UZi is well on their way.

UZi live applies the attributes of a garage rock and roll band to a contemporary new wave of hip hop. Allowing them to fit in, yet stand out amongst any type of audience.

UZi invites you to open your mind to their multi dimensional indie/pop/rap sound.

All Songs/Beats are Written/Produced by Mike Bastian of-UZi
All Song Lyrics Written/Performed by Tone of-UZi and Gabe of-UZi

Mike Bastian of-UZi Plays Guitar during Live Shows
Came of-UZi Plays Drums during Live Shows