The Saint Paul Almanac is pleased to announce the fourth in its 2013–2014 season of acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams, which celebrate the rich literary history of Minnesota’s capital city and the widely popular genre of spoken word.


The “Let the Bars Breathe” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. RSVP on Facebook

“Let the Bars Breathe: A Night of Unplugged Hip Hop Exploring the Poetics of Rap”

Featuring performances by Guante • Desdamona • Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures) • Metasota • See More Perspective

Come listen to five singular voices in the world-renowned Twin Cities hip-hop scene share their writing. Performing either a cappella or accompanied by vocal percussion, the artists present an “unplugged” rap show that will highlight rap as a unique, dynamic poetic form with its own rules, values, and philosophies. The aim of the performance is not to divorce the voices from the beats in an attempt to compare and contrast rap with other forms of poetry, but rather to decontextualize the words in order to hear them from a new angle and gain a deeper appreciation for the craft of rapping.

All ages, no cover, donations accepted. Food and beverages for sale.

Listen to/Download the Reading Jam

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Download MP3 (right click on Windows/Ctrl + click on Mac and Save As to your hard drive)

Watch SPNN’s video of the Lowertown Reading Jam

About the Performers

(Photo: Hoainam Tran)
(Photo: Hoainam Tran)

Curator GUANTE is a hip-hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist, educator, and writer. He and/or his work has appeared on Upworthy, MSNBC, MPR, The Progressive, Racialicious, CMJ, Feministing and beyond, and he’s shared stages with artists like Talib Kweli, Brother Ali, Saul Williams, Dead Prez, Sage Francis, Andrea Gibson, and many others. Guante also founded the MN Activist Project and Hip Hop Against Homophobia concert series, writes a column at Opine Season, and facilitates writing and performance workshops for youth. Check out for more.


desdamona2012DESDAMONA has been featured on Rhymesayers projects by Brother Ali, Musab, and DJ King IXL. In 2007, Des toured the Southwest, West Coast, and Canada with Jamaican Grammy award–winning living legends Sly & Robbie, and has collaborated with the duo numerous times. Des has rocked stages with the likes of Saul Williams, Brother Ali, Atmosphere, Boots Riley (The Coup), Les Nubians, Zap Mama, Guru, Digable Planets, Bahamadia, KRS ONE, and many more. Des has also toured France extensively with jazz-fusion group Ursus Minor and as part of the duo Ill Chemistry. Des has three full-length releases as well as the new self-titled release (Ill Chemistry), with partner-in-rhyme Carnage the Executioner, on French label Nato Records/Hope Street. All of Desdamona’s music can be found on iTunes and other download sites.


kill-the-vulturesKill the Vultures have a nocturnal, urban sound, which is undeniably avant garde, yet rooted in the traditions of hip-hop. In addition to their American audience, vocalist CRESCENT MOON and producer Anatomy have cultivated a sizeable fan base in Europe, where they headlined four successful tours, garnered praise from Rolling Stone magazine, and had a “Hip Hop Album of the Year” cover story in respected Italian music magazine Blow Up. Before KTV, Moon and Anatomy were part of the hip-hop group Oddjobs and members of the Third Earth crew along with Jean Grae, Mr. Len (Company Flow), and Juggaknotts. They have toured with rap acts De La Soul, Talib Kweli, DJ Shadow, Buck 65, Lyrics Born, and more. Kill the Vultures recently returned from tour with Atmosphere and are currently working on a new album.


metasotaMETASOTA is the definition of an emcee who believes in his craft and wants to bring it to as many people as possible. He says, “I truly believe that my music is relatable to a large number of people. My main goal is to reach as many of those people as I possibly can. If I can live comfortably doing what I sincerely believe I was born to do, I consider that successful.”


see-more-perspectiveLast September, Twin Cities hip-hop artist, poet, activist, and educator SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE released his new spoken-word album The Cosmos According to Your Closed Eyes. The album, made possible with funds provided by the VERVE grant, intentionally breaks from the current wave of Twin Cities slam poets, forgoing the highly structured, sometimes formulaic, narratives associated with the form for a more musical, less regimented approach. Equal parts mythic and working-class, intimately detailed and big-picture-conscious, the project is See More’s first spoken-word project in a long history of quality musical releases. As a producer and as a writer, See More’s influences color his work in subtle and surprising ways.



The “Let the Bars Breathe” Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul.

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