See How Nas Created His Masterpiece

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Photo by Danny Clinch/Sony Legacy
Nas in 1994.
By Ian S. Port

One rhyme in particular crystallizes the genius of Nas' 1994 classic, Illmatic. It comes in the song "One Love," which takes the form of a letter to a friend in prison: "Congratulations, you know you got a son," Nas raps. "I heard he looks like ya, why don't your lady write ya?"

Did you get that? In nineteen words, Nas swings from the perspective-upending pride of fatherhood -- a new human who is part you! -- to the heartache of separation, loneliness, disloyalty. He whispers the knife of betrayal into our gut with a simple question: "Why don't your lady write ya?" Nas paints not just a man in prison, yearning for the outside, but a whole web of relationships decaying in his absence.

See also: The 50 Best Rap Lyrics of All Time

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The Costume-Based Guide to This Year's Halloween Concerts in Denver

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Kenneth Hamblin III
DeVotchKa performing at a Halloween show at the Gothic Theatre last year.
Halloween changes as you get older. It starts off with the excitement of candy, which fades into the excitement to get dressed up to get drunk. Once you're old enough to do that outside someone's basement, but before you're old enough to be dressing up kids of your own, Halloween is a paradise of live music.

But which of the many, many holiday shows is right for you? Follow this guide based on your costume choice to see which one is suited for your suited-self.

See also: Concert Calendar: October 31.

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The Sidewinder Tavern Is For Sale, Faces an Uncertain Future

Categories: Hearsay, Tip Sheet

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Tom Murphy
Bludded Head (Denton, Texas) at the Sidewinder Tavern | October 8, 2014
The future of the music venue and bar known as The Sidewinder Tavern is currently up in the air. The building housing the establishment is on sale, two years after Sidewinder opened its doors. The hundred-year-old building has been home to numerous bars over the years.

Both the business and the building itself went on the market near the beginning of October. The property itself is listed at $350,000 and the business entity at $205,000. The current leaseholders (the owners of the Sidewinder Tavern) have the first option, and prospective buyers would have to come up with a sum of $555,000 to buy out the lease. According to Fernando Guzman, son of co-owner Kyle Ramirez, a few people have come to check out the property but there are no firm offers at this time.

See also: From Late 2012: Local Musicians Take Over the Sidewinder Tavern in Globeville

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Denver Musicians Pay Tribute to Ikey Owens: "His Voice Screamed Through the Keyboard"

Categories: Music News

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Ikey Owen's vigil at La Raza Park

As the sun set over the Denver skyline, a small group gathered at La Raza Park to pay tribute to Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, who passed away in Mexico yesterday while on tour. Though not a Denverite himself, Owens, who has played with the Mars Volta and was on tour with Jack White's band, spent plenty of time with Denver musicians. It showed in the faces of everyone circled in silence around the makeshift altar containing a photo and candles. At one point a sudden wind knocked over the picture of Owens, breaking the frame. Kayln Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp just laughed and said, "What's up, Ikey?"

See also: Rubedo Is the Voice of the Music Culture of Today

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How Local Radio Stations Help Denver Bands

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DeVotchKa. Courtesy of OpenAir
Dragondeer is a quickly rising star among Denver bands, playing sets at SXSW and Red Rocks (for Film on the Rocks) earlier this year. But when members Eric Halborg, Cole Rudy, Carl Sorensen and Casey Sidwell stepped into OpenAir's spacious studio last winter to record a live session, they had none of those accomplishments on their collective résumé. In fact, they'd only written a couple of songs and didn't have any recorded material. "We were pretty new," says Halborg. "But they had seen us play live and asked us to do an in-studio [performance]."

Since it started in October 2011, OpenAir (1340 AM) -- a branch of Colorado Public Radio with a focus on the local music scene -- has hosted more than 300 bands in its Performance Studio, sharing the resulting audio recordings with listeners on the air and videos online.

See also: OpenAir Live & Local Is a New TV Show Featuring Some of Colorado's Best Music

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Highlights of the Underground Scene During Denver Music's Dark Ages

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Tom Murphy
The Emmas at The Squire Lounge | October 19, 2002
Editor: Please see the Author's note on this new photo-driven series at the end of this article.

In this second part (read part one here) of the Underground Bands of Denver Music's Dark Ages, we're going to use a few bands of the era to spotlight some of the important venues. Not every band played every venue and as a band you often had to seek out new places to perform if you wanted to play to a different crowd or more than once per month. By November 2003, the hi-dive opened its doors and provided a place for bands playing original music. More venues with similar mindsets opened, and more bands formed to play them, effectively ended what is somewhat humorously referred to here as Denver Music's Dark Ages.

See also: The Underground Bands of Denver Music's Dark Ages: Part One.

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Yazoo BBQ on Broadway Will Now Host Rooftop Concerts

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Danielle Lirette
Yazoo BBQ Company's rooftop bar.
Last summer Yazoo BBQ Company owner Don Hines expanded his 700-square-foot spot at 2150 Broadway, which he opened fourteen years ago, to close to 5,000 square feet, adding to the kitchen and interior dining area, as well as building a patio and rooftop deck. About a month ago, Hines secured a cabaret license for the spot and he's celebrating with a show on the rooftop bar this Saturday, October 18 with Faceman and Jim Yelenick.

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Naoko Yamano of Shonen Knife on Why Shows Start Earlier in Japan

Categories: Interviews

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Courtesy of Good Charamel Records
In the late 1980s, it was nearly unheard of for Japanese underground rock bands to play in the United States. But Shonen Knife, appearing at the Oriental Theater this Thursday, October 16, played a show in Los Angeles in 1989.

By then, the band's music had already spent several years circulating in the U.S., thanks to a 1983 visit to Japan by Beat Happening frontman and K Records founder Calvin Johnson. While overseas, Johnson found Shonen Knife's second album, Burning Farm, on cassette; he reissued the album the following year on his label. The group's original take on punk rock, and its surreal, straight-faced send-up of pop culture, struck a chord with artists in the English-speaking world, including Sonic Youth, Red Kross and, famously, Kurt Cobain, who invited Shonen Knife to open for Nirvana on the U.K. leg of its tour for Nevermind.

See also: Why DIY Venues Are Vital Are Vital to the Health of the Entire Music Scene

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Decadence 2014, Snow Tha Product, Johnette Napolitano Shows Announced

Categories: Mile Highlights

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Britt Chester
Bassnectar will be at the Colorado Convention Center on Tuesday, December 30 as part of Decadence 2014.

Decadence returns to the Colorado Convention Center for two-night New Year's EDM extravaganza on Tuesday, December 30 and Wednesday, December 31 with Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Armin Van Buuren, Kaskade and more acts to be announced. Two-day general admission passes, which start at $65, and VIP passes, which start at $135, are on sale now.

Rapper Snow That Product headlines Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom on Friday, December 5, and tickets ($22/$25) go on sale on Friday, October 17 at 10 a.m.

Concrete Blonde frontwoman Johnette Napolitano, who performed at the Soiled nearly a year ago, returns to the venue on Saturday, March 7. Tickets ($23-$26) are on sale now.

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Rufus Baxter 's Blast From The Past

Categories: Rufus Baxter

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