Blue Scholars’ Cinemetropolis: An Album for the Fans, By the Fans

After years on the road touring, writing and filming, our favorite local hip-hop duo is back on the scene.

With their new album Cinemetropolis, Blue Scholars are kicking-off their first headlining tour in Seattle at the Showbox  on September 17th, and fans have a greater interest in this album not only because of the time passed between their last release, but because many have personally paid for this one to be created.

The 98118 boys have signed a record for the fans, by the fans. “Since our last album dropped in ’09, we’ve been all over the place,” said Geo, Blue Scholars MC. “We slowed down touring in 2010 to concentrate on spending time with friends and family and focus on recording. Sabzi moved to New York last year, and we’ve been recording remotely ever since.”

While on the road, the duo found filmmaking to be a huge inspiration for their music. During late nights and long drives on a tour bus, they found themselves creating an album that is a collaboration of what they experienced while traveling. They also came to the realization that signing a record label for the album would mean things (deadlines, release parties, etc.) that would take away from the creativity of the project.

Cinematropolis emerged as a record deal with the people; an album for the fans, funded by the fans. “Living in Seattle, we’d heard about Kickstarter, the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world through people working for Google, and Microsoft, but we were skeptical,” said Geo.

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Kickstarter allows creative types to post projects with a set goal, and is funded with an “all or nothing donation” meaning projects must reach their goal for funds for the money to change hands. “It took a while for Kickstarter to start being used by filmmakers and authors, and working with a hard medium such as that gave us the courage to give it a shot. Music shows instant success through live streams/downloads, so we knew it could be done.”

The pair created a campaign for the album, including a pledge video to the fans, asking for help to release their music independent of label, away from the standard music industrial model. Fans passed the word along, and came to the rescue; within 45 days, Blue Scholars reached their Kickstarter goal of $25,000, and have since risen to more than $62,000.

The album is available for download on their website, along with one short film (a Seattle Super Sonics documentary with Slick Watts) that has been released, co-directed by Blue Scholars themselves.

“We are grateful and humbled to be at a point where we are headlining our own tour, and are confident we wouldn’t be where we are today without the support we have from Seattle,” said Geo. Bring your energy to the Showbox on Saturday, September 17 to help them kickoff their first national tour.