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Beats Lyrics Leaders In Production For Native-Influenced Album

OPB | June 13, 2014 12:47 p.m. | Updated: June 14, 2014 11:32 a.m. | Portland

 Beats Lyrics Leaders is kicking off an IndieGogo campaign to produce a full-length record in 2015.

The project leaders include J. Ross Parelli, a recording artist originally from California, and two Portlanders: percussionist and educator Chaz Mortimer, producer, engineer and MC Yamio 263. They've done some some work with kids in the Yakama Nation, and in Oregon too.

When Parelli signed a record deal with Universal Records this year, she negotiated a side agreement to get the next Beats Lyrics Leaders project distributed.

Scott Kalama, born and raised in Warm Springs, has worked with Beats Lyrics Leaders for some years now as a mentor to younger people who come to the program's workshops and other events. He's also an MC, writing since he was in middle school.

We talked to Chaz and Scott about the project, and got a nice surprise: quality time with SlimKid3, one of the frontmen of the legendary L.A. alt-hip hip group The Pharcyde. Tre and local legend Mic Crenshaw came to the studio at Chaz's request to talk about writing with Scott and others in the program. Tre had things to say about finding writing voice and original sound amid the craziness of the modern musical universe.

Scott Kalama says even as he's mining his own experience for lyrics, he looks to icons like Tupac Shakur for inspiration and authenticity.

Scott Kalama says even as he's mining his own experience for lyrics, he looks to icons like Tupac Shakur for inspiration and authenticity.

April Baer / Oregon Public Broadcasting

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