Monday, June 12, 2017

My 501st Legion 9th Anniversary

Nine years ago today (June 12, 2008), I became an approved member of the 501st Legion and participated in my first troop! And a year ago yesterday (June 11, 2016), I completed my 200th 501st Legion troop. It has been an incredibly fun and rewarding experience thus far. The 501st does a plethora of amazing things which have a positive effect on so many people, and so many communities, throughout the world. I am truly honored to be part of such a great organization. As a member of the 501st, I’ve had countless great experiences, on both a charity/community level, as well as on a Star Wars level. Through the Legion, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and form relationships with awesome people, locally and across the globe. I’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of troops/events that have raised money for multiple charities, and help to create smiles and memories for countless kids, families and adults. And lastly, I’ve had opportunities to serve the Legion, my garrison (Central Garrison), and my squad (Wolf Pack Squad), in various elected and volunteer positions and roles.

Next year, for my 10th anniversary, I’ll share my full 501st Legion story, post my 501st resume, release a ‘The First Ten Years’ video, as well as a few surprises. But for now, I’ll just keep it short and sweet.

501st for Life!

To learn more about the 501st Legion, please visit

Sunday, June 11, 2017

This Week in Manifesters History

June 5 – June 11, 2017

1st Anniversary of Far Beyond
On June 9, 2016, Australian producer, Oxcyde, and I released our debut EP, Far Beyond. Our first album together was a project that was eleven years in the making. In 2004 I received an email from an Australian emcee named MC Cejas out of Melbourne. He had come across Manifesters/Versifier online and was digging our sound. Cejas and I then traded emails back and forth for a while and began discussing a collaboration track. Before we could get a collab together off the ground, Cejas asked if I’d be interested in doing a verse on a song for his crewmate’s (Oxcyde), debut LP.  Oxcyde was an up-and-coming emcee at the time, and hadn’t started producing yet. I was all about it, so Cejas put me in contact with Oxcyde. Oxcyde and I then began emailing back and forth. In 2005 Oxcyde sent me the beat for his song, Global Poets. So I wrote my verse, went to the studio to record it, and then emailed it to Oxcyde. The song turned out great. In fact, to this day, it’s one of my favorite all-time verses I’ve ever written! A few months later, Oxcyde released his album, The Second Coming, which featured Global Poets. Over the next two years, Oxcyde and I recorded a few more tracks together. Although none were ever released in an official capacity, a couple did make it onto BandCamp and SoundCloud for a brief time period. The coolest thing about these tracks was that they were all done remotely, via email and DropBox, with Oxcyde in Melbourne, Australia, and I in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As the years went by, Oxcyde and I remained in contact via email. Oxcyde had transitioned away from emceeing and into producing. In October of 2014 Oxcyde emailed me and was like “Yo, how do you feel about you and I doing an album together?” I was completely with it, so we began planning. The album was to be a seven-song EP featuring Oxcyde’s beats and my rhymes (plus a guest feature from Hypnose). We decided to go with a 90’s NYC Boom-Bap sound and feel, with a modern twist reflecting both of our styles. The entire EP was produced and written throughout 2015, and was recorded, mixed and mastered in 2016. Oxcyde would produce and format the beats in his home studio in Australia, I would write and scratch track in my home studio, and the recording and mixing was done by Big Jess at his studio. Early into 2016, Oxcyde and I also managed to squeeze in a side project. We collaborated with Australian vocalist, Joel Imber, on his single, Walk Through The Night. Walk Through The Night featured production by Oxcyde, vocals, guitar and bass by Joel Imber, lyrics by me, violin by Doug Coghill of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and mixing by Big Jess. The single was released on March 31, 2016, and is a fantastic song!

By late May of 2016 all seven tracks of the EP were mixed, the album was mastered, Master Wong had completed the gorgeous cover graphics and art, and online promotions for the EP had begun. Then, on June 9, 2016, Far Beyond was released on iTunes, Spotify, Oxcyde’s BandCamp, and Manifesters’ BandCamp, with releases on Amazon and Versifier’s BandCamp the following week. The album turned out great and was a lot of fun to make. It’s always a blast working with Oxcyde.

To this day, despite two valiant attempts during Oxcyde’s two trips to the United States, Oxcyde and I have never met in person. So our (now) thirteen year working relationship, which has yielded an EP and a handful of collabs and singles, has been built and maintained from two opposite corners of the globe. However, be it in the US, Australia, or some other country, Oxcyde and I do plan to meet one day, and hopefully even perform together. Looking ahead, we are planning a remix of the track Melbourne to Minneapolis which would feature multiple emcees from both locations. Oxcyde is producing beats for some upcoming projects of mine, as well for the debut DayBreakers (Hypnose and I), EP. And we have thrown around the idea of a Far Beyond sequel…!

Download Far Beyond here:
Or on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Manifesters’ BandCamp or Oxcyde’s BandCamp

Follow Oxcyde and Versifier on Twitter at @OxcydeAndVersifier