Toes (Parts 1 & 2)
Shasa Ward, a.k.a. Hashbrown:::one-man band, used to stand out (and get in trouble) in elementary school for making noises, sound effects and humming with his mouth subconsciously. While an accomplished rapper himself, throughout high school and college, ciphers of rappers all across Illinois relied on the musicality of his beatboxing abilities. Then he saw a guitarist use a loop pedal in 2002 and everything changed. Today, Hashbrown channels the layers of sounds in his head to listeners via a loop pedal and a bass guitar, keyboards, drums, percussion and anything that makes noise. The influences of afro-beat, rock, hip-hop, folk, world and soul are shamelessly present. The music of Hashbrown explores many genres…some have labeled it “experimental folk-soul” or “weird indie-hip-hop-gospel-rock”and he is o.k. with that. Hashbrown (formerly known as “Ben Butter”) is a musician, hip-hop lyricist, DJ, graffiti artist, poet and teacher-by-day who has improvised live with Donald Byrd; opened for Nikki Giovanni; competed in National Poetry Slams; recorded with hip-hop label Galapagos4 and Nacrobats crew; played bass guitar in indie rock bands, neo-soul bands, and churches; been a lead vocalist of 10-piece acid jazz band Vertikal; performed three times as both an emcee and turntablist in the WBEZ/Steppenwolf production “The Blues/Hip-Hop Intersection;" performed on radio, TV, and stages—from bars, clubs, auditoriums, theaters, pavilions, and concert venues to churches, parks, community centers, libraries, bookstores, coffeeshops, schools, and universities—across the Midwest and U.S.
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