Meet Park Hill Shortbus, a global, Park Hill-based hip-hop consortium
Whether or not these Park Hill natives rode the short bus to school is irrelevant, because there is no doubt that these crazy bastards are the ones your mom told you not to play with. This eclectic group of MCs, producers and DJs use Shortbus as their outlet for their outlandish and truthful expression.
The collective has extended well beyond its namesake East Denver neighborhood, now reaching overseas with artists from all over representing. In 2009, the outfit released a three-disc mixtape, Us, the Motherless Children of the Petri Dish, that showcased an impressively diverse array of talent.
Though some members such as Yonnas, Ichban and Deca have gained more notoriety with their other projects, Shmeeze holds his own in the group project with an almost deranged style and rugged flow that make him impossible to ignore. We recently caught up with Shmeeze and spoke to him about the collective's origin, performing in Europe and what's next for the crew.
Westword (Nicole Cormier): First, introduce yourself and the other members of Parkhill Shortbus?
Shmeeze: This is a difficult question to answer with much clarity, but I'll attempt to do so anyway: We have been the Shortbus for about thirteen years now. Originally, the Shortbus was comprised of a group of us that grew up together in Park Hill. Myself [Shmeeze], Yonnas, Deca, Geezle Shakti, Ichiban, Pablo Key, bdb, Jaam C and Jagwire -- who didn't grow up in the Hill but was always around.
Initially we all would use Shortbus as a forum beyond our side and solo endeavors to compete against the dopest rappers we knew -- which happened to be each other. Every song was a carnivorous whirlwind of wordplay, cadence and melody, with every word trying to top the others that were also fighting to out rap everybody on a track. That's always been the Shortbus way. Go hard or go home.
Shortbus, however, goes beyond music. There a lot of people not involved with the music at all, who sit at the heart, driving the pulse of this beast just the same as us. We are a family, without the similar DNA. We have, for a majority of our lives, lived a tribal existence, depending on each other for help and support in various aspects of our lives.
Shmeeze in Amsterdam
Shortbus has, over the years, expanded far beyond our little east Denver neighborhood. Seattle, New York, Cali, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Germany, Australia, France, Sweden, Brazil, England and Chile all boast a Shortbus presence. Due to an insatiable appetite for travel and a very diverse melting pot of cultural origins we have been able to expand our brand by feeding off the artistic abilities of some extremely talented people all over the world.
Basically, I guess, the answer is Shortbus is a group of people too large to mention individually. Everybody plays a vital role in whatever their talents encourage -- clothes, art, photography, movies and video, music, dance, poetry, promotion, sports, etc. If it's created from the mind, imagination, vision, voice or soul, we have our fingers in it.
Ww: Why shortbus?
S: [Laughs] Ahhhh ... I'm pretty sure Yonnas can be credited with the Shortbus name. Many years ago, in an underage drunken frenzy, he said we were and odd group of people worthy of the Shortbus. He was referring to our unique and bizarre mix of personalities. We have never been considered "normal" people. That's probably what has kept us close all this time.
So somehow sprouting from a drunken statement made for laughs at a party was the Parkhill Shortbus. I guess we all identify with the concept of being different and embrace that. [Laughs] I wouldn't be shocked if a couple Shortbusians actually did ride the Shortbus to school! [Laughs]