Localized: Knoitalls, The Bad Apples and Kinnetik – October 2008

Salt Lake has seldom been brought to tears or violence by a Localized showcase, but it may very well happen this time around. October comes with a hardon for this month's Localized at Urban Lounge with some hip hop acts, for once. Local acts Knoitalls, The Bad Apples and Kinnetik will be on display showcasing their vocal wares. As usual it will be on the second Friday of the month (Oct. 10) and its only $5. It's a steal of a deal considering the sheer quality of band for your buck. Peep "the skinny" below.

Johnny Utah - MC
Facts -  MC

Photo: Patiri Photography

SLC's Knoitalls could be one of the rare acts who actually live up to their name. These cats aren't slouches and back up whatever shit they need to talk with facts. They're not "gangsta" MCs with "gats." They're just some genuine talent from Salt Lake carving a niche. Johnny Utah and Facts "not Fax, assholes," make up this team that have been collaborating for about five years. Both of them have been concocting cyphers since their early teens, sometimes when it wasn't all that popular. "I was only one of five people in Utah County that rapped," says Facts. The mid-90s were not too friendly toward white kids trying to shake the Vanilla Ice image he says.

The duo first appreciated each other's stripes performing within various groups in the early doubleots: Facts was in The Agents and Johnny in Broken Silence, until reciprocal mix-tape spots were suggested to each other. "He has really smooth skin and dresses real nice," Johnny says when asked how he got interested in Facts. All joking aside, Johnny says that they wrote a tight 16-bar song in less than two hours during their first collaboration and "the chemistry was really good." Thus, The Knoitalls began their combined quest for more insight to earn their moniker.

The Knoitalls are balls deep in the process of mastering their latest LP Kiss The Ring: continually fighting the stereotypes of "where from" and "what" makes an MC, and have no qualms about representing Utah to the fullest. Their new lyrics are peppered with Salt Lake references and both think the concept that "the city by the salty lake has no talent" is outmoded in the extreme. "From the national standpoint there's still a stigma. You have to win their respect. I did an MTV MC battle and the hip hop guy judging was shocked I was from Utah. When he heard me rap, he was like 'Oh, wow.' Because hip hop is more judgmental than other kinds of music, it can be tough," Facts says.

Both MCs are still involved in other projects and struggle to juggle families, multiple jobs and the constant hunt for beats. Both dudes rep the ideal of the "hardworking MC" well. I tracked down Facts on a Friday cutting a track with Dusk from Mindstate and Brisk (Johnny's favorite producer in SLC) at the boards. Facts had his work and personal phones constantly buzzing as he meticulously laid down verses and a hook for two songs. With no notes and no preparation for the second track, Brisk dug up a work-in-project for some spontaneous polishing. It was impressive.

Heads up: The new release from Knoitalls could be out next week. "More or less, the project's done," Facts says, and they're waiting for a solid date that will be sooner than later. Check their MySpace, www.myspace.com/theknoitalls. The LP may very well be available at the Localized show. And these MCs want the audience to bring high expectations to Urban. "We have a tendency to get a little rowdy on stage," Facts says. Sometimes, bar management has had to intercede. "If nothing else, you're going to see two guys using every inch of the stage," he finishes.

"You won't leave a Knoitalls show saying you weren't entertained. If anything, you're going to see two assholes running around stage, spilling beers, kicking speakers and jumping into crowds," Johnny guarantees.

The Bad Apples:
Sir Louis Wildamiss - MC
MC Mike Booth - MC/Producer

Photos: Adam Dorobiala

In a small space (close to 9th and 9th) in Salt Lake City sits Bad Apples headquarters and home of Penalty Box Records. The group consists of MC Sir Louis Wildamiss and producer/MC Mike Booth. When I joined up with Booth at his studio, he was deep in deliberation regarding track listing and order for the latest Bad Apples release, How Ya Like Dem Apples, Part 1. It's an album rooted in traditional rap/hip hop staples evoking a good time and showcasing some very decent local talent, like Pace Won, Ben Grim, Verse1 and many others.
The Bad Apples represent more of a collective, something akin to San Francisco's Quannum Records collaborative where MCs and DJs guest and star in similar hip hop projects. Penalty Box Records has that same West Coast collaborative energy rushing through all of its artists and projects. Penalty Box is the brainchild of Mike Booth, Las Vegas native and former graff writer, who punishes in the box with headknockin' 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 created a buzz here and elsewhere," Booth said. "And the next album is about capturing our live show." Songs that have been Bad Apple's fan favorites, here and elsewhere are being slated for the LP as of this writing and are set for the Oct. 10. Localized, at the latest, 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 garner support, is active on social networking sites and has this philosophy on the group's upcoming tour: "All you need to hit is Salt Lake, Idaho, Colorado, Portland then Seattle, then you have your region." From there, he plans to conquer the rest of the US one juicy bite at a time.

Such an effort would have been impossible years ago, in terms of making a huge impact in other markets, but technology friendly Penalty Box loves the new music distribution model. "It gives everyone a chance. We're playing on a level field," Mike says. Unfortunately and fortunately, "It's still all money based. You have to have huge dollars to play with the big boys," Mike says. "But I can hit as many people as Universal, 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 The Knoitalls, 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 got better MCs here."

Mike is interested in other artists in Salt Lake, more than just those on his label, and showcases them in the radio program. He sometimes feels like playing some old Ice-T or some Too Short among the local acts he plays. They'd love to get some more listener support as well. "Hopefully we'll get enough listeners to get some calls and generate an audience," says Hades, another Penalty Box artist who happened to be kicking it, Support local artists and get insight into some more obscure hip hop at http://weekendrapup.mypodcast.com. I scoped a recent podcast of the program and found Knoitalls' MC Facts kicking it with Booth in the studio, Small Lake City at it again.

"We need enough people to recognize everywhere else that their is a lot of great talent here that seems untapped," Booth said. That would be where the local fan base would come in [that's you]. See if the Penalty Box hype is real this October at Localized.

On Friday, October 10th the Bad Apples, Knoitalls and Kinnetick will all be at the Urban Lounge and so should you. Don't forget the date on this one (its happened to the best of us, but this is not one to miss). Cover is $5 and please don't bring your kid sister, this is a private club. See you in October.