Robert Edward Stewart II (pka “Beans”) was born and raised in the New York suburb of White Plains. Born in 1971, Beans witnessed the birth and development of rap, finding particular inspira- tion in the records of Public Enemy, KRS-One, and Rakim. In the mid-1990s, Beans started to attend poetry slams, where he met High Priest, M.Sayyid, and Earl Blaize. The four of them would go on to found the left-field rap act Anti-Pop Consortium. After releasing three mixtapes on their own Anti-Pop Records label, APC were signed to 75-Ark, where they released the critically acclaimed album Tragic Epilogue (2000). On their debut LP, Beans presented a style that was marked by rapid, stoccatoed rhythms and a poetic mixture of braggadocio, stream-of-consciousness, and fragmented narrative, which he delivered on top of progressive and disorienting electronic-infused beats. After releasing Shopping Carts Crashing (2000), Arrythmia (2002), and Antipop Vs. Matthew Shipp (2003), and touring with the likes of Public Enemy and Radiohead, APC disbanded.
After the break up of Anti-Pop Consortium, Beans went on to release numerous solo albums. The first of these records, Tomorrow Right Now (2003), was released with Warp Records and showed Beans becoming increasingly confident in his proclivities for experimentation. The album’s minimalist, glitchy beats allowed him to show off his range of styles, as each track features him comfortably shifting between the clipped rhythms of old school rap, the drawn-out melodies of boom bap, and the fractured and overpacked styles of the avant garde. After his solo debut, Beans released Shock City Maverick (2004), Thorns (2007), Flourescent Black (2008, with the reunited Anti-Pop Consortium), and End It All (2010), with labels as eminent as Anticon and Big Dada.
In 2017, after more than a five year hiatus, Beans returned with a trilogy of records: Wolves of the World, Love Me Tonight, and Haast. The albums affirmed Beans’s pioneering stakehold in the world of rap, while reasserting his exploratory and anti-mainstream bent. That same year, Beans also released his first novel, Die Tonight: a 226-page sci-fi story about Eric Ford, a teenage loner who gets possessed by a record, goes on a killing spree, and finds himself. Since the trilogy, Beans has remained prolific, releasing Nights Without Smiles, Nibiru Tut, and Someday This Will All Be Ash, all in 2018, and, recently, completing the album Ace Balthazar and his book of poetry and prose, I Came For Blood.
I CAME FOR BLOOD
WHERE TO FIND BEANS
Paul Loverro (aka “Uncommon Nasa”) was born in Patchogue, Long Island and raised in Staten Island, New York. After cultivating an interest in groups like Public Enemy, Gang Starr, and Company Flow, Loverro turned his connection to music into a source of creative inspiration and applied himself to DJing and sampling. A few years later, Loverro started attending the Institute of Audio Research and interning at the Ozone Recording Studio. There, he contributed to sessions by artists as various as Mike Ladd, Anti-Pop Consortium, and Saul Williams. In 2000, Loverro began recording, mixing, and engineering for the record label Definitive Jux. His involvement in Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein (2001), El-P’s Fantastic Damage (2002), and Aesop Rock’s Bazooka Tooth (2003), among many others, solidified his place in New York’s indie hip hop scene.
By this time, Loverro had adopted the name “Nasa” and was performing alongside Cirrus Minor in the the rap duo “The Presence.” The group released their first recording, Advanced Bloodbath EP, in 2001, introducing a sound that was combative, energetic, and experimental. By the release of their full-length, Common Man’s Anthems (2005), Nasa and Cirrus were capable of ricocheting raps off one another with ease, setting off verbose attacks on mainstream politics and culture.
During the mid-2000s, Nasa became increasingly self-assured and autonomous in his craft. After breaking his ties with Def Jux, he founded Uncommon Records and started focusing on solo material, releasing recordings under the monikers “Nasa” and “Adam Warlock.” His first major solo effort, Land of the Way It Is (2013), saw him settling into “Uncommon Nasa”: a personality that was introspective, questioning, and nuanced, often willing to give up comfort and popularity for sake of the truth. In 2014, the album New York Telephone was met with much critical acclaim, praised for its ability to integrate New York rap’s sonic history with a refined sense of poetic and productional experimentation. Since then, Nasa’s work, particularly Halfway (2015) and Written at Night (2017), has only become more adroit. In 2017, Nasa received The Serling Award from the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation for his album Mink Swimming Pools (2017), which was released earlier that year. Alongside his musical endeavors, Nasa also works in broadcast media and hosts the Dope Sh!t Podcast with Samurai Banana.
Withering is Paul Loverro (Uncommon Nasa's) debut collection of poetry and short stories. The 44-page chapbook contains twelve poems, two short stories, and an intimate preface written by the producer of Nasa's album "Halfway" (2015), Black-Tokyo. While the poems span a large part of Nasa's career, they reveal a coherent vision, continually willing to expose the inner workings of his social and personal realities. The two short stories not only add an unsettling lucidity to Withering, but also highlight Nasa's ability to manipulate a number of literary forms.
In his debut collection of poems and short stories, Uncommon Nasa writes with a tone of harsh wisdom. As he attempts to break through the facade of mainstream culture and politics—its social relations, its stereotypes of race and class, its negligence for art—, Nasa’s writing twists and complexifies, reflecting the arduousness of his analytical approach to life. His tendency to cerebrate, in fact, is relentless. Nasa routinely turns his mind inwards to examine, question, and expose the inner workings, even the contradictions, of his own personality. While Withering is dark, Nasa brings his readers into this uncomfortable territory for a genuine purpose: to discover the truth. Permeated with a sense of the value of sincerity and contemplation, "Withering" provides both a model and fellowship to those willing to pursue the same.
WHERE TO FIND NASA
Lance Patrick Caldwell (aka “sach illpages”) was born in Gardena, California and raised in Vermont Knolls, South Los Angeles. In the mid-1980s, Caldwell made his first foray into hip hop and soon turned his entire attention to writing, turntabling, and beat-making. By 1989, Caldwell, then known as “Nouka Basetype,” formed a group called The Nonce with Byron Onassis Jackson (aka “Yusef Afloat”). Taking care of their own production and rhymes, the duo developed a sound that was mellow, jazzy, and smart. They quickly became mainstays of the Good Life Café and Project Blowed, where they made a name for themselves alongside groups like Freestyle Fellowship and CVE. In 1995, The Nonce released their debut full length, World Ultimate, on Rick Rubin’s American Recordings / Wild West label. The album continues to be held in high critical esteem, with its hit single “Mix Tapes” ranking as a classic of West Coast rap.
In the late 1990s, Caldwell took on the name “sach illpages” and began working on solo material. His first solo venture, Seven Days to Engineer, revealed a maturation in his style: the beats were lo-fi and experimental, the rhymes obtuse and unorthodox. The premature death of Yusef Afloat in May 2000, put a pause on sach’s creative output, only to be sparked again by a collaborative effort with the producer Omid. Since then, sach has been extremely prolific. In addition to his associations with Global Phlowtations and Name Science, he has released over half a dozen records and made countless feature appearances. On one of his most recent projects, fIDELITY (Hit+Run, 2014), sach revealed another development in his musical approach, finding a balanced mixture of his signature abstractions with hi-fi production. He currently lives in California where he produces, writes rhymes, paints, reads, and spends time with his family.
RHYME BOOK BIBLIOMANCY
Rhyme Book Bibliomancy is an attempt to capture the many facets of Lance Patrick Caldwell’s (sach illpages) creativity. The 46-page chapbook contains twelve of his poems and three of his watercolours. The poems in the collection span the latter part of sach’s career and, in turn, capture his writing at its most mature. While nine of these twelve poems are readily available on record, three appear here for the first time. Sach’s three watercolours are abstract pieces that highlight his concern for balancing spontaneity and symmetry. They also appear in public view for the first time in Rhyme Book Bibliomancy. The versatility of sach’s creative output is captured once more in the acrylic painting of a peacock featured on the chapbook’s cover.
Rhyme Book Bibliomancy is a look inside the composition book of West Coast legend sach illpages. This collection of “writtens” finds the MC in various modes: as a young boy falling in love with hip hop, as a mythical king, as a hermit-scientist, as a space-traveller, and as a prophet. While sach easily shifts between voices and forms, his vision remains clear and consistent. Sach not only sees the value of art as a balm for the mindlessness and consumerism of his age, but is also aware of its capacity to connect humankind with ideas and forces that are usually beyond its grasp. Underpinned by a sense of care and concern, Rhyme Book Bibliomancy provides words of instruction and inspiration to the reader willing to read, think, and apply.
WHERE TO FIND SACH
Bandcamp (sach illpages): https://sachillpagesmusic.bandcamp.com/
Bandcamp (Name Science): https://namescience.bandcamp.com/