In a small space (close to 9th and 9th) in Salt Lake City sits Bad Applesheadquarters and home of Penalty Box Records. The group consists of MC SirLouis Wildamiss and producer/MC Mike Booth. When I joined up with Boothat his studio, he was deep in deliberation regarding track listing and order for thelatest Bad Apples release, How Ya Like Dem Apples, Part 1. It's an album rootedin traditional rap/hip hop staples evoking a good time and showcasing some verydecent local talent, like Pace Won, Ben Grim, Verse1 and many others.
The Bad Apples represent more of a collective, something akin to San Francisco'sQuannum Records collaborative where MCs and DJs guest and star in similarhip hop projects. Penalty Box Records has that same West Coast collaborativeenergy rushing through all of its artists and projects. Penalty Box is the brainchild ofMike Booth, Las Vegas native and former graff writer, who punishes in the box withheadknockin' beats and handles promotions for the outfit.
"We did the first album and we didn't think it was going to do anything, but it createda buzz here and elsewhere," Booth said. "And the next album is about capturing ourlive show." Songs that have been Bad Apple's fan favorites, here and elsewhere arebeing slated for the LP as of this writing and are set for the Oct. 10. Localized, at thelatest, for a release date. Don't doubt the reach of the steadily growing Apples fanbase,either. Booth broadcasts a global weekly radio program from SLCC to garnersupport, is active on social networking sites and has this philosophy on the group'supcoming tour: "All you need to hit is Salt Lake, Idaho, Colorado, Portland thenSeattle, then you have your region." From there, he plans to conquer the rest of theUS one juicy bite at a time.
Such an effort would have been impossible years ago, in terms of making a hugeimpact in other markets, but technology friendly Penalty Box loves the new musicdistribution model. "It gives everyone a chance. We're playing on a level field," Mikesays. Unfortunately and fortunately, "It's still all money based. You have to havehuge dollars to play with the big boys," Mike says. "But I can hit as many people asUniversal, it just may take five years to do it."
If you're not schooled on the local hip hop, you're not alone. Here's your primer.Mike can list, quite easily, a number of local artists he respects: "You've got TheKnoitalls, Mindstate, Adverse, Brisk, Hades, all these cats that we're working with.When you stack it up versus other places like Boston, pound for pound we've gotbetter MCs here."
Mike is interested in other artists in Salt Lake, more than just those on his label, andshowcases them in the radio program. He sometimes feels like playing some oldIce-T or some Too Short among the local acts he plays. They'd love to get somemore listener support as well. "Hopefully we'll get enough listeners to get some callsand generate an audience," says Hades, another Penalty Box artist who happenedto be kicking it, Support local artists and get insight into some more obscure hip hopat http://weekendrapup.mypodcast.com. I scoped a recent podcast of the programand found Knoitalls' MC Facts kicking it with Booth in the studio, Small Lake City atit again.
"We need enough people to recognize everywhere else that their is a lot of greattalent here that seems untapped," Booth said. That would be where the local fanbase would come in [that's you]. See if the Penalty Box hype is real this October atLocalized.
On Friday, October 10th the Bad Apples, Knoitalls and Kinnetick will all be at theUrban Lounge and so should you. Don't forget the date on this one (its happened tothe best of us, but this is not one to miss). Cover is $5 and please don't bring yourkid sister, this is a private club. See you in October.