Meet the Band: Phrazes (vocals, production), Stoke (vocals, production) and Jordan M. (vocals, production)
A Tale of Three Producers: The three members of this up-and-coming hip-hop group met in high school in Cleveland Heights. Phrazes and Jordon started working together first and then they brought "the kid" Stoke into the mix. "It's a collective of everything," says manager Wallace Settles who serves as the group's spokesperson. "They do beats, production and graphic design. The name means everyone is welcome to our movement, and we try to work with all different types of media."
The Basement Tapes: The band has released a few singles and EPs but its new album, Aurora Borealis, is its first official release. It's a DIY project. "Everything was recorded in house," says Settles. "This is a complete movement. It's revamping the '90s. We are working like the Native Tongues. This is way deeper than one group. We are trying to revamp where hip-hop has gone for the past six or seven years. You've heard the bad music. We want to shine a light on the good music coming out of Cleveland. For the upcoming Grog Shop show, we've put together a very diverse night." The mini festival is dubbed Cruel Winter Fest. "Winter in Cleveland sucks and it's horrible," says Settles. "This is about spreading a little bit of happiness in advance of all the snow and cold that's coming our way."
Why You Should Hear Them: The group's old-school approach recalls acts such as Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. The title track features siren-like sounds while the three rappers trade turns on the microphone. A jazzy guitar lead cuts in and out of the track. "Yellow Train," a tune featuring a guest vocal spot from local soul/hip-hop/R&B singer Lorine Chia, goes for something soulful. "She's part of our movement," says Settles. A piano melody drives the tune "Rush," another soulful track. "We're not going down the normal hip-hop trail to get a deal and get a bunch of change," says Settles. "We want to enhance hip-hop. You don't have to listen to 107.9 FM and try to imitate what you hear there."
Where You Can Hear Them: cmmnave.bandcamp.com
Where You Can See Them: Common Ave. performs with Ahptimus Prime, JMO, Joey Sap, Chevy Sosa, Dem Hipsters, Holy, Archie Green, Russ Hall, Zac Matthews & Brian Baker, Aloof, Mellow, Drastic, Matthewmaticus, Wild Life Soundz, KBM, Circle Side, Retro Artistry, Dre Mickel, Majik, New America, and Mook the Mastermind as part of Cruel Winter Fest at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23, at the Grog Shop.