Click the link below to hear the latest interview of Keyote on Bolgtalk Radio!! 10-11-2007
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/MentalSalvation/2007/10/12/is-the-blackman-really-a-threat Find more music like this on Sojournals Find more videos like this on Sojournals
Keyote (born Steven Jones) is a DC native who grew up on ‘Chocolate City’s’ own brand of soul, funk, rock, and go-go. Those sounds eventually gave way to hip hop, which Keyote says, “most readily spoke to my individuality, freedom of expression, and energy.” Hip hop’s original fusion of style and improvisation, with meaningful lyrical content, were elements that captured Keyote’s attention. These elements spoke of integrity and became the embodiment of a style that can be seen both in his recordings and the theater of his live performance.
Keyote has been honing his craft since he published his first work of poetry at the age of nine. Writing naturally evolved into vocal freestyling and by 1993, Keyote was a full-fledged b-boy battling crews up and down the East Coast. After graduating from the College of Wooster in 1996, where he hosted hip hop and talk shows on WCWS (90.9 FM), he returned to DC and began working as an intern at WPGC (95.5 FM). As an intern, Keyote’s skills were put to the test, rhyming on and off the air with visiting artists such as Common, Missy Elliot, Nice and Smooth, Redman, and DJ Premier. A member of the legendary Freestyle Union, a performance oriented workshop collective, Keyote was not only expanding his skills but also gaining notoriety as one of DC’s noted “up and comers.” Under the guidance of Toni Blackmon and Opus Akoben, Keyote became a touring member of the collective, performing at many of their improvisational freestyle shows.
With so many life lessons to share, Keyote’s debut EP release Said and Done showcases his vibrant storytelling, unmatched word play, and exacting flow. In this project, Keyote offers glimpses into the episodes that have contributed to his musical self and understanding. The first single, “Sometimes,” communicates some of his more intense urban experiences, while the track “Grand Scheme, Part I” uses chess as an allegoric reference for avoiding the pitfalls that life often presents. “Call to Arms” places Keyote’s poignant and political word play over funky beats that draw the listener in as he questions political stances that leave people out of policies. The final track, “Strange Fruit,” is a dose of authentic, lyrical swashbuckling that pays homage to the old days of hip hop. For Keyote, “studios make recordings; shows are one of a kind.” A great example of the entire package, Keyote bases his visceral approach to stage performance on his understanding that it is in the moment when music, art, and audience come together that MCs are made whole.
"Keyote's wordsmanship has an up to date flavor that smacks of Old School. You cannot imitate substance, and his goes wide and deep."
Washington, DC: Velvet Lounge, Studio Theatre, Café Nema, Barnun, Twins Jazz Club, South Beach (Bethesda, MD); New York: Elbow Room, Baktun, Nuyorican Poets Café,; Iceland: Prikkid, Kaffi, Hljomalind; Netherlands: Club Magazijn.