July 3, 2008

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Granite State means hip-hop
Group finds universal themes to rap about
By Brian Early bearly@hippopress.com

When Granite State released their debut album, The Breaking Point, their song “Gone with the Wind” made it to Sirius Satellite Radio’s Top Five Hit List on the show Hip Hop Nation. To put out a second album, they had to top their previous efforts.

So on their forthcoming release, which has no official release date, as the hip-hop group is looking to get signed to a label to help release and promote it, the duo of Doug York and Bugout (Brian Ladd), had underground hip-hop legend Evidence of the Dilated Peoples to produce beats for a single — he even contributed a few lyrics to the piece.

“It will hopefully generate the buzz that we expect,” York said. “It’s a big deal. To work with him, it’s a big deal. His name carries enough weight.”

Evidence produced the beats, and the duo recorded their tracks over them at a studio in New York. On Thursday, July 3, the Granite State, along with Apeshit, LB, Phase 3, Undu Kati and A Masstapeace, will play many of their new creations for a show at Rocko’s Bar and Grill in Manchester.

“We’ll have some classics in there too,” Bugout said. They hope to introduce many of the songs to their fans so when the album is released, they’ll know the music.

It took about a year and a half to produce the last album, compared to a year for their first one. They spent a lot of time tightening lyrics and reworking rhymes.

“We wanted to give the fans something more, a little bit extra,” Bugout said. “We wanted to raise the bar for ourselves.”

The new album is titled The Re:public. They hope to release the album by fall.

Bugout and York’s friendship extends back to early in their lives. There mothers were friends, and thus they became friends as well. By the time there were in their early to mid-teens, there were hosting a show on the Phillips Exeter Academy radio station, even though there weren’t students at the school. They say there are still some early recordings of their work floating around, and someday they might add a track or two as a hidden track on one of their future releases.

“It’s funny, I don’t even think we were bad back then,” York said. “We knew what we were doing, but not what we were saying.”

“Our rap was all battle style,” Bugout added. “You could see how we gradually evolved.”

They write about the same situations other hip-hop artists write about. And even though New Hampshire is more rural than the big cities from which hip-hop grew, there are universal hardships and situations.

“You’re getting the same thing you do in the inner city, but it’s just spread out,” Bugout said.

Whether they’re writing about relationships, family drug issues or work, they hope to be a positive influence on those who listen.

“You’re not alone. There are a million people going through the same thing and there’s a way out,” York said. “You can’t follow somebody else. You have to blaze your own trail. That’s what we try to portray in our music.”

And the shows are high-energy.

“We know people pay hard-earned money,” York said. “We want to give something they see and have a good time.”


Granite State
Where: Rocko’s Bar and Grill, 253 Wilson St., Manchester
When: Thursday, July 3, at 8 p.m.
Ages: 18-plus.
Tickets: $10”