This month we bring you new music from hip-hop artists Katana Da Don, At'Eaze, and Nahkeem. Also, discover the solo work of YONNAS (ዮናሰ), formerly of The Pirate Signal and BLKHRTS, the latest from soul and jazz singer DZIRAE GOLD, and the debut single from Denver's William Dusan. We have the latest from musician/producer CRL CRRLL who we featured a few years ago when he was a part of local supergroup The Grand Alliance. After being called a "top hip-hop artist to watch out for" by Westword we will also share new tracks by Chris Cart3r and a project championed by Knwlxdge born in Georgia and based here in Colorado. We also welcome back Duke Justice returning to the Local 303 with new music. A Hundred Drums returns songs from her EP Enough Is Enough, which was birthed out of the pandemic as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement and her own struggles with being Black in America. Finally, Jaiel rounds out this month's Local 303 with her happy pop music.
Join us at the end of the month for our Local 303 Meetup. The event gives space to celebrate Colorado musicians and music fans from our community with our Music Meeting that previews new Colorado music that you can vote on and there will be a very special performance from one of this month's bands! For aspiring musicians, we will also host a Q&A about how to get your music on the radio; and get entered to win concert tickets.
The Local 303 Meetup is at Mercury Café, on Monday February 27th from 6:30-9 p.m. It is all ages and open to the public. Mercury Café is located at 2199 California Street in Denver.
Are you a Colorado musician who wants to be featured in the Local 303? Send us your music.
Meet February's picks:
A Hundred Drums
Colorado Home: Originally from Redondo Beach, California, and has lived in Denver for the past 3 years!
Formed: 2015 is the official inception of the A Hundred Drums project, but she started DJ'ing and learning the ropes in 2014 before starting it.
Latest Release: "Deep Space" (Single), DeadBeats, Oct. 12, 2022
Band Bio: Thunderous low end and pulsating rhythm embody the powerful music of A Hundred Drums.
Stomping the stage in a tangle of hair and a blur of motion, her high-octane live show is the result of years of searching for that perfect primal pulse that connects humans on the dance floor. Gabrielle Watson has been cultivating a sound that moves with the times but also continues the narrative of the scene from the birth of electronic music to its journey across continents, vanguards, and movements. After a decade of crafting her sonic signature in cutting-edge spaces, A Hundred Drums has emerged onto the main stage to bring the sounds of the underground to the masses.
In early Summer 2021, A Hundred Drums released a politically potent EP on ZEDS DEAD’s Deadbeats label. Enough Is Enough outlines the struggles of being Black in America, set against the backdrop of police violence, systemic racism, and the protest movement still pervasive in a world one year removed from the death of George Floyd. Unlike anything the powerhouse bass label has ever released, a mini-documentary companion piece gave fans an inside look at the making of the record. Through it, Watson tells the story of her own mistreatment at the hands of the police and the genesis of the music and message she so desperately needed to convey. In an industry saturated with vapid party anthems, A Hundred Drums chose to use her platform to deliver substance alongside sound.
Watson cut her teeth in dark and sweaty basements showcasing icons of the UK dubstep and drum & bass scenes, and has traveled to far flung psytrance festivals to hone her mixing skills. ‘AHD’ now gets to share lineups with some of the biggest acts in all of electronic music and collaborate with some of the most sought after producers and vocalists across a multitude of genres. She kicked off 2022 as a handpicked support act for REZZ’s blockbuster North American tour. She then went on to an unbelievable run through the summer festival circuit including Okeechobee, Lightning in a Bottle, Summer Camp, Electric Forest, Shambhala, and double dates at the Gorge at Beyond Wonderland and Bass Canyon, among so many others. A series of singles, collaborations, and mixes stack up in the pipeline, and a brand new chapter-defining body of work is coming soon. A Hundred Drums has arrived and with her comes the promise of a new generation of bass producers in ascendance.
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: "Outside (feat. Tre O’Neal)," Jun. 10, 2022
About: At’Eaze might be the greatest hip hop artist you’ve never heard. Everything you didn’t know you needed to experience within your music library. Someone whose gift with words, ear for cadences and melodies, and endless creativity could be compared to some of greats who have paved the way for plenty of artists to come. At’Eaze is known for his inspirational messages within the songs he releases. They bring life, they tell stories, they empower. Not to mention there are no (Absolutely none) degrading nor demeaning lyrics. Nothing promoting drugs or alcohol, nothing disrespectful towards women, nothing about killing any and everyone who looks like him that he doesn’t like, just real.....good.....music. Aside from the “N” word being used tastefully within songs, there is not even any provocative language in his music. This is an artist who wants to challenge himself to use more of his vocabulary rather than cursing. Although, there is so much positivity in his style, it is authentic. He speaks on the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. The pain, the passion, the light, the dark, faith, anger, joy.....the real. But don’t just take these words for it, experience it for yourself. The catalog of At’Eaze is waiting to give you something new to digest. Enjoy.
Plans For 2023: Ideally, an album to be released in mid-late spring, videos, singles, and plenty of performances.
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: 2019 began recording/releasing music
Latest Release: FOREVER LOST EP, Self-Released, Oct. 25, 2022
About: CHRIS CART3R is a recording artist from Louisville, KY. based in Denver, CO. Named as a top hip-hop artist to watch out for in 2023 by Westword and Project Filo. CHRIS CART3R is known for his lyricism and moody sound.CART3R's confidence on the mic has captivated an audience since 2019 with his debut track "Money on My Mind". CART3R's voice cuts through the noise with an ease that keeps his loyal fan base coming back for more. Heard on notable tracks like "Missed Calls" on his debut EP "RTG" or fan favorite "LOST". His passion for music has been prevalent in different forms throughout his childhood in the occasional talent show or writings but mainly shown through his absolute addiction to music discovery. Which now influences his motivation for versatility in his own art.
Plans For 2023: Shoot a music for one more track from FOREVER LOST. Perform some more of the tracks live for the first time. Starting with Feb. 12 opening for RJMrLa at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom at 7 p.m. with a brand-new set.
Website: https://www.chriscart3r.com/ and https://www.chriscart3r.com/cart3r-club
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: “Hold Tight (Single)" released in spring 2022 featuring Felix Fast4ward & V the Poet formally known as SurEllz.
About: "From the first time I picked up a karaoke machine as a kid in Denver, I knew that music would be my life. For nearly two decades now, I've been making, producing, and engineering music and audio projects that I'm proud of. Along the way, I've been lucky enough to be a part of some truly innovative projects, and I've learned so much from the many talented people I've worked with. But it hasn't always been easy – plenty of challenges and obstacles to overcome. But through it all, my passion for music has kept me going, and I'm excited to see where it takes me next."
CRL CRRLL, also known as Carl, is a multi-instrumental producer and DJ from Denver; among his music, he’s been known to create work behind other acts, recently producing The Grand Alliance project working with The Reminders, Yasi, and more recently, South of France with his unique and soulful style of production, characterized by textured and layered soundscapes. This sound has allowed him to perform with respected organizations such as Red Bull Sound Select and Pabst Blue Ribbon Sound Society.
Carl is also known for his engaging live performances & Dj sets; he has shared the stage with notable artists such as Anderson .Paak, Sango, Washed Out, Broods, Xavier Omar, Tokimonsta, Jamie XX, and more. These experiences have established Carl as a talented and noteworthy act.
Carl's unique experience and sound continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with funk, soul, and electronic music. His future projects will surely be just as innovative and exciting as his past work.
Plans For 2023: I am currently working on an Audio/Visual project that showcases the talents of artists from across the country. The project aims to connect with audiences through relatable themes and emotionally evocative content. I believe that in light of recent events, it is crucial for us to have access to art that can bring us peace and restore a sense of humanity. I am particularly excited about this project as it allows me to share my passion for the soulful music I grew up listening to, which I believe is seeing a resurgence in popularity in the samples and influences used by many contemporary artists. I have been meticulously working on this project for a while and am eager to unveil a cohesive body of work. Finally, I have no particular release date, but you will see hints of the project rolling out across my website and socials soon.
Get Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud, BandCamp
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: Late 2020
Latest Release: "Radio Silence" (Single), Self-Released, Feb. 1, 2023
About: Duke Justice is a musical shapeshifter. His ability to effortlessly blend and bounce between music genres is seemingly only matched by his talent to jump from one instrument to another with ease. From dreamy synth-pop to art rock to indie-folk and everything in between. Duke Justice has been described as a “sonic chameleon” although according to the duke himself “it’s all pop to me.”
Born Justen C. Howard in Manhattan, New York City. Justen had seen every major Broadway musical by age ten and started studying music at the world-famous Harlem school of the arts at age seven. Since then writing, recording, and performing have been the only constant in his life. He has always approached music as a story where every style he immerses himself in is a new page to add to the book. This philosophy has taken him from all-night sessions in R&B and Hip-hop Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, to bluegrass jams in the backwoods of Tennessee. He’s earned awards as a blues guitarist in Texas, worked on film scores, and played in jangly brit rock bands in the clubs and venues of London, England. The musical journey eventually led him to Denver Colorado where after establishing himself as a known entity in the rising Denver music scene as the founding member, principal writer, and guitarist of the highly decorated Indie Dance-Rock outfit All Chiefs. who were often headliners of beloved Dever music staples like Westword Music Showcase, and The UMS. After the band's demise In 2018, Justen decided to embrace the Duke Justice moniker fully and strike out on his own solo for the first time. Hitting the streets and playing in every venue and open mic that would have him. By 2019 Duke Justice was on the rise. Then came 2020 and the shows stopped, and collaboration became difficult. Just like the rest of the world, uncertainty became the new normal. And like so many of us with nowhere to go, Duke Justice took this as a time to bet on himself, so he set up a little studio in his apartment. And started writing and recording his début release.
Springboarding off the success of his first single, late 2020's "The Turn" which gained immediate airplay. Duke has been in attack mode throughout 2021 and 2022 releasing two more singles “Startup” and “Chasing Hollow Points”. All while putting on a series of well-reviewed live shows at multiple venues and festivals such as The UMS and Westword Music Showcase and performing, writing, or producing on collaborations with multiple local and national artists. In 2023 Duke Justice has no intention of slowing down. Opening up the year with the single “Radio Silence” and with several more releases set for the year, Duke Justice has already hit the ground running. Keep your eyes and ears open to find out what's next.
Plans For 2023: I plan to release several more singles this year (possibly even another suprise single in February)Also doing some collaborations with other local artists like the cover of glycerine that I did with Isadora Eden that you currently play(thanks) and of course as it warms up live shows!!!!
Get Social: Instagram, Spotify, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Bandcamp
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: "If You Do (Water Me) (Single)," Self-Released, Jun. 24, 2022
About: DZIRAE GOLD is a Denver based Soul and Jazz Singer. Her sultry vocals have been described as "smooth as liquid gold" that shines and shimmers both on the jazz classics of yesterday and the Pop Hits of tomorrow. Her technical vocal skills demonstrate her classical training while her emotive expression exhibits her passion for her craft and her Chicagoland upbringing. Since 2020 DZIRAE has been recognized as "Denver's Golden Girl" for representing the beautiful, multifaceted culture and history of Black music. Plans For This Project in 2023: I intend to reccord and release a few different projects this year, ideally a short live album at Color Red Studios here in Denver, as well as an extended album at Mighty Fine Studios. All TBD!
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: After singing in groups and bands I officially went solo under my own name in 2018.
Latest Release: I released my latest EP “The Magical World of Black Girlhood” on April 22nd, 2022 in honor of my paternal grandmother’s birthday :)
About: Jaiel is a singer, songwriter, dancer, model, and actress based in Denver, Colorado. Getting her start singing and dancing in church and school, Jaiel grew up always wanting to be a performer. Anchored in her faith and her belief that art and media can transform the world, her pop sound gets audiences grooving and moving, while also challenging them to believe in what’s possible.
After graduating with honors and becoming the first Black woman to graduate from Colorado College with a degree in Music, she released her debut EP Black Girl Songs in May of 2018. The EP was released alongside her senior thesis entitled “Black Girl Songs: Black Women’s Storytelling in Music” which highlighted the healing and resistance practice of songwriting.
In 2015, she became the lead singer of the band Promiscuous Stepsister and went on to win 3 consecutive Battle of the Bands competitions. The band became highly requested favorites at Llamapalooza Music & Arts Festival. Since moving back to Denver in 2019, she’s performed all over the state frontlining bands and as half of the duo PB and J.
In July 2021, she signed with Wilhelmina Denver and can be seen featured in global campaigns for numerous brands such as Crocs and Rumpl. She is founder of Little Light Entertainment, an entertainment company whose mission is to tell stories that heal, awaken, and celebrate women and girls who are evolving! Most recently she released her follow up EP “The Magical World of Black Girlhood” in April of 2022 and made her live solo debut for a sold out crowd.
Plans For This Project in 2023: I am so excited for 2023. I’m looking forward to touring this summer and connecting more with my fans. I’m also excited to be back in the studio working on some brand new bopz to release! My niece was born last year and it inspired me to write some fun, girl power anthems that I am dying to release!! hehe On a serious note, I’m also interested in what will happen in the industry regarding the American Music Fairness act. I’m hoping this sparks some significant changes for women in music all around! I recently linked up with Women in Music Denver and am also looking forward to all they have in store for this year.
Get Social: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter
Katana Da Don
Colorado Home: Aurora
Formed: 2006 back in the Myspace days
Latest Release: “MOVE” off the album “The Constellation” produced by Cassieopia (Dj, Producer from Minnesota). The album was released on March 28th, 2022. The video was released 11/11/22 / “Queen” the album “Timestamp: Compilation #3” through Free People Records. Released July 15th, 2022.
About: Katana Da Don was born in Pittsburg, California, and lived between Cali and Minnesota most of her life. She landed in Colorado in 2018 and made it her home. Katana’s music explores human nature, mental health, addiction, love, and overcoming obstacles. Forever reimagining her approach to music, she has delved deeper into her Alternative Rock bag and has a full-length album that’s set to be released in 2023. Her goal is to continue to expand what Black women are capable of doing musically and to inspire the next generation to go above and beyond!
Plans For 2023: I'm releasing a Hip Hop Album entitled, “No Apologies”. “Queen” is part of a 10-song Urban Rock album entitled, “Black Rock.” Both albums will be released this year.
Get Social: Facebook, Instagram
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: Started dropping music in 18'
Latest Release: Control Prod by Bboy Severe/ released Dec.14th under Freedomteam12 LLC
About: Georgia born, Denver living artist who goes by the name of Knwlxdge. He has a laid back flow combined with metaphoric and story telling rhymes. Besides streaming, you can hear his music on 104.7 The Drop (located in Denver co) as well as Denver Open Public Media Radio. His consistency and well polished flow has earned him a light in the Denver music scene.
Plans For 2023: Dropping a ep this coming summer
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Fan Page
Colorado Home: Denver
Formed: I started taking music serious in 2019. I’ve done shows with Dababy, Sleepy Hallow, Ace Hood, OMB Peezy & Seddy HENDRINX along with headlining a few shows myself.
Latest Release: “Diamond” Dec 31st 2022
About: My sound hits everything from Hip-Hop & Rap to R&B & Soul. I try to stay as versatile as possible through my music and hit every emotion in the book.
Plans For 2023: Start dropping singles and videos I've been sitting for years, headline a couple shows at some venues here in Denver and keep perfecting my craft!
Get Social: Linktree
Colorado Home: Denver
Latest Release: “Everyday” single release June 10, 2022
About: William Dusan is a queer American Veteran, singer, songwriter, and visual artist from Houston, Texas. His music fuses the rhythms and soulful lyrics of classic R&B and Soul music inside a contemporary soundscape. Dusan's melodies seamlessly bridges orchestral arrangements with modern vocal stylings to paint sonic pictures with every note in ways mere words could never convey.
Although music has always been Dusan’s first love, he put music aside the answer the call of service to his country serving in the United States Marine Corps. During his tour of duty, Dusan realized the military provided stability and a sustainable career path, but he could never truly be fulfilled without music at the center of his life.
Since that moment, Dusan has dedicated his time to honing his craft. He has evolved into an artist whose passion, imagination, and soul permeate every song he creates. Dusan is poised to bring a new edge to today's music landscape.
Plans For 2023: I am excited to complete and release my first album entitled “Make It Rain” later this year. In the meantime, a full length music video for “Everyday,” a new single, and an accompanying music video for the new song are in the works. Stay tuned for more details on exact dates.
Get Social: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter
Colorado Home: Capital Hill, Denver
Formed: September 26, 1982
Latest Release: My debut LP, FÉVEN, came out on 11-23-22
About: The son of Samiel and Elsa, Eritrean immigrants who fled war, walked across the Sudanese desert for nine days, conceived him in Rome and birthed him in Denver, Yonnas Abraham is a confluence of miracles. Spending twelve of the past twenty years making indie rap in The Pirate Signal and BLKHRTS respectively, and the past 8 in his bedroom conceiving this: Dream Pop For Black People. Nick Bassett’s (Whirr, Nothing, Deafheaven) guitar and production acumen mix with Yonnas’s skillful sampling, soulful yet spectral singing and hard-ass beats to form a heady stew of Dream Bops. Dreamy Soul For Black Liberation. De-Colonized Rock music. The bright, shiny Black future.
Plans For 2023: I'll be performing the album in its entirety at Industrial Arts (2165 S. Raritan) on February 17th, 2023. After that we will continue to release music videos and visuals based on the album. I'm also writing the follow-up LP, THE BLACK GAZE, and planning to record and mix it the top of next year with producers Nick Bassett and Jeff Ziegler.
Get Social: Instagram, TikTok
You made it!
You love learning about new music and the Denver music scene. We have a weekly newsletter for you -- Inside Track. Sign up here to stay in the know about the hottest Colorado concerts and how you can score tickets!