Welcome to An Archaeologist's El Dorado, a monthly segment that brings you 3 - 5 artists you have had hypersomniac over. El Dorado, or commonly known as the lost city of gold, in this case are the artists you have been searching after. A lucky archaeologist such as yourself, now has the ability to study the specific human activity below through the recovery and analysis of the material culture I have provided for you. I now present to you the files of December 2014: Matt Easton, Jutes, Jackson Breit, Carlton Zeus, & Niko IS.
Originally from Libertyville, IL, Matt Easton is a producer and artist that is now apart of Chicago's booming music scene. As a kid Easton use to listen to such artists as Eminem and Ludacris which opened the door to the hip hop world for him. He had a keen ear for not just the lyrics, but for beats as well, which really made him "feel" the music he was listening to. In high school is where Easton started to tap into his creative juices by writing rap songs with his friends just to test the waters because he thoroughly enjoyed adding rhythm to poetry and the pure process of creating music.
After high school, Easton attended the University of Kansas and really began to focus on music. He started producing freshman year in the dorms and began releasing his own material a year later. As a fan of Easton's work, I do feel as if his production (he produces all of his own music) tends to get overlooked. He really is in one of those different lanes, if you will, and you can hear it in all of his music that he isn't trying to be like anyone else. Matt hones all of this through his inspirations from classic artists that you probably won't hear the usual rapper mention; Jimi Hendrix, The Temptations, Sly And The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder + anything Motown. Taking it even further into the non cookie cutter influences comes his favorite artists to listen to at the moment which include Bill Withers, Slightly Stoopid and Rage Against The Machine. Something you wouldn't expect for sure but perhaps makes sense when you listen to some of his music. Easton also enjoys blending in the occasional jazz and blues sounds which he draws energy from David Sanborn, David Benoit, Miles Davis and Muddy Waters.
With such a broad variety of inspirations that influence Easton, it almost comes as a shock that he doesn't actually read music. Everything he does, he plays be ear and has taught himself to play every instrument from the guitar to the piano to the harmonica. With all of this in his back pocket, Matt tends to work with Brian Francis Taylor (helps write lyrics) and Wes Powell (guitar player) to help polish off his music. In one of the most creative and well done projects of the kind, Easton teamed up with Wes for a hip hop/rock album, The Grey Area that really showcased the versatility of the rap artist.
Matt Easton is currently in the works on a 5 track EP that is due out very soon. This marks the first time he has ever worked out of a professional studio. The actual date and name of the project will be released soon.
I found out about Jutes when he released his Space Highway tape about a year and a half ago. The perhaps ModSun look alike shares his positive outlook on life and enthusiasm but is a little more of a rapper. His style isn't defined as just hip hop or just pop, but rather a combination of the two as well as rock, electronic and alternative. He captures the ears of new listeners and fans alike with catchy beats and keeps them listening with slacker-friendly philosophies through his fast rap.
Back in October, Toronto-based, Jutes teamed up with long time friend and guitarist Rubber Buzzard and created Breadcrumbs. The album is the epitome of Jutes' writing skills and shows a massive improvement that he has undertaken in a year. Throughout all of his music and whatever he does Jutes always tries to promote happiness and really tries to give people a life that is made to live for through music.
When not listening to artists such as Kid Cudi or Red Hot Chili Peppers for creative juices to start flowing, the daily life of the broke rapper consists of ingesting Red Bull, Tostitos with hummus and Mio Vodka. Sounds like a bona fide catch right ladies? He is available.
Jackson Breit a.k.a. (quite possibly the BEST moniker ever) Baby Marmalade. The one artist you wish you listened to earlier. The one artist I haven't had someone say they didn't like when I showed him to them. The one artist that will have you singing along to whatever song you are playing by him.
Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, Breit lost the capability to hear in his right ear at an early age; he had a tumor as a young kid and basically lost his eardrum in that ear. While growing up, the sounds of Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana were always buzzing in his mind as his father constantly blared their sounds (which isn't a bad thing at all). Jackson found his way into hip hop with the Marshal Mathers LP which he had an older kid buy for him at the time. When his mom found out about said CD, however, he had it snapped in his face; which only made his hunger for Eminem and the genre of hip hop and rap as a whole grow.
However if you are absolutely unfamiliar with Jackson's sounds, he isn't necessarily a white rapper, not one bit. He has the capabilities to be one sure, but he raises the bar in a very unique way. For one his main inspiration, Gavin Degraw, is where he harnesses his powerful singing voice from. Songs About Jane by Maroon 5 also plays a huge part in Jackson's life as it is his top album ever. Try to imagine taking those artists and adding the soul and flavor of New Orleans with a twist of baby marmalade.
What's the "twist of baby marmalade" you may ask? Breit has a background of blues/jazz/reggae rock and hip hop from his high school days and his early pre-law/marketing days at Tulane University.
Currently Breit's life is focused around his music, his dog, and sports. Musically, he usually produces and writes all of his own music and grows everyday at his craft. When times isn't spent on making people's brain dance with his catchy and up beat music he spends it with his dog, Cassius, a greyhound/pitbull mix, as well as focusing on sports (favorite thing in life besides music). Breit is actually quite a gifted athlete participating in tennis, soccer, basketball and boxing.
Although Breit sounds ridiculously polished and an expert already at what he does, he is currently unsigned. Just recently, in order to enhance his sound, he has started to hand the producing reigns off to others so he can experience and achieve new heights with different sounds.
Carlos Servando Cavazos was born overseas in Madrid, Spain, Carlton Zeus was raised on the border of South Texas in Brownsville. Zeus' music combines a smorgasbord of sounds ranging from a slowed down almost country vibe to a high energy, heartbeat racing hip hop vibe. In order to wrap your mind around that, get a witch's cauldron and water or chicken broth for added flavor and drop in such artists as Hall & Oates, The Fugees, Sublime, Jay-Z, Michael Jackson, Selena, and Slick Rick, give it a good stir and you're left with a tasty KillSwitchZeus stew.
Zeus also shares many of his reflections of odd living through his music. With a life of growing up among peers and pushing everything from Jesus to spare food stamps to everything you can fit into a northbound commute, you're going to have some stories to share. Listening to Zeus' music is like traveling through time as he takes you through the past, present, and future only to deliver you at moments of leisure passion and clarity.
With every year that grows by, the Texan is growing and enjoying life as he gets to connect with more and more people. Wherever his music takes him in life, it's all a win for him.
Presently, Carlton Zeus is just trying to stay sharp, physically and mentally as new challenges arise everyday. The recent new house owner has been caught living in his studio at times and writes anywhere from 3-8 songs a week while working on his second album, KillSwitchZeus with platinum producers, Steveo Valdez and Ace 1.
As a firm believer in putting in hard work and letting the future reveal itself, the breakfast taco & chile relleno loving Carlton Zeus is trying to peel back and live a little so his music stays sincere and not feel rushed at the sight of deadlines. With his sophomore project on the rise in the distance, things are only looking up for the Alpha Child.
Nikolai Paiva was born in Rio de Janeiro and moved to Florida with his mother in pursuit of a better life at the young age of seven. Music came to Niko IS when he was in high school and it was something he knew he wanted to take seriously immediately. He would often pick music over school, sometimes known for getting receiving detentions so he could sit in peace and write rhymes for hours on end. He got buzz from his school mates by breaking out into spontaneous freestyles and would later work with producer Thanks Joey and release a number of popular mixtapes and singles.
2012 was really the year things took off for the young Brazilian. He released his Chill Cosby and with it one of the catchiest songs you will ever hear with "Steffi Graf" a collaboration with Action Bronson. With this record, he gained considerable recognition and only propelled Niko further into the hip hop scene. With co-signs from Southern Smoke and Vibe Magazine, Niko IS recently inked a deal with the legendary Talib Kweli's Javotti Media. With one of the most recognizable accents/voices out right now, Niko IS stands out of the normal crowd with just that alone and will soon have people opening for him instead of vice versa.
The name, Niko IS, is a conceptual idiom symbolizing the many personas and identities one experiences and is reflected through his albums. The name stems from Niko's own belief that a rapper shouldn't solely limit himself and his fans to just one identity and instead should be in a constant evolution. His distinct and standout sound and style has allowed him to be recognized as a notable songwriter, witty lyricist and one of the best up and coming freestylers in the game.