Blue Scholars is a hip hop duo based in Seattle, Washington, created in 2002 while the members, DJ Sabzi and MC Geologic, were students at the University of Washington.
The name "Blue Scholars" is a play on the term "blue collar," which is an idiom for workers who often earn hourly wages for manual labor. Their music and lyrics often focus on struggles between socioeconomic classes, challenging authority and youth empowerment, as evidenced in the songs "Opening Salvo," "Blink," and "Commencement Day." These themes are often specifically addressed in relation to the Seattle region, as in "Southside Revival", "North by Northwest", and "The Ave."
The duo has performed across the United States and made appearances at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in 2005, 2006, and 2008, and Bumbershoot opening for Kanye West in 2006. They have opened for and shared stages with such artists as De La Soul, Slick Rick, Wordsworth, Kanye West, Hieroglyphics, Immortal Technique, The Coup and Masta Ace. On September 6, 2008 they played at the Gorge Amphitheater, Washington date of Rock the Bells, the international hip hop touring festival, sharing the main stage with A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Mos Def, The Pharcyde, MURS, Jedi Mind Tricks, De La Soul, and Little Brother.
In 2006, the Blue Scholars received top honors in the hip hop category of the Seattle Weekly's Music Awards Poll, and were also the top vote-getters overall; in earlier years, they had been recognized in the categories of Best Hip-hop Artist, Best Local Single, and Best Album.
The music video released for the song "Back Home" makes a very personal call to support the US troops by bringing them back from Iraq. The video, produced by Sabzi's brother Zia, has received critical praise from blogs across the web. The video was followed by the November 2007 release of a video for "Joe Metro," which features Geo riding Metro's route 48 around Seattle and walking the city streets.
On the group's website, they announced that 2 EPs would be released before the end of the 2007: Joe Metro EP and Butter & Gun$ EP (essentially an EP for the song "Loyalty"). Each features the EP's "title" track, a remix of the "title" track, videos, and a few other remixes and new songs.
In 2007, the duo presented and headlined several shows for a Seattle hip-hop showcase they dubbed "The Program". The 5 shows all took place at local venue Neumos from December 18 through December 22, 2007. All shows were closed out by Blue Scholars with several other local groups performing each night, including Common Market, The Saturday Knights, Dyme Def, and many others. The lineup for the first show of "The Program" included a "Secret Special Guest". The group opted to hold a series of shows instead of a single year-end celebration in order to showcase the best that hip-hop has to offer and because they were "sick of working on New Year's Eve."
Also in 2007, Geologic, representing Blue Scholars, went on tour with Kiwi and guests to promote the Stop the Killings Tour to bring awareness to the deaths of regular people in the Philippines.
Geologic (born George Quibuyen; also known as Prometheus Brown, Geo) is the vocalist for the Blue Scholars and has also performed as a spoken word poet. In the 2007-2008 city-wide election for Seattle's Poet Populist Quibuyen placed sixth with ninety-six write-in votes, the highest total for a write-in candidate in the nine year history of the competition; although, the record was subsequently broken by Seattle poet Ananda Osel in the 2008-2009 election.
The son of Filipino immigrants, Quibuyen lived in various locations along the west coast and Hawaii as a child until his family settled in Bremerton, Washington. Geologic attended the University of Washington and worked as a community organizer with isangmahal arts kollective, both experiences which have influenced his lyrics.
Sabzi (born Alexei Saba Mohajerjasbi; also known as Saba) is an Iranian American jazz-trained pianist and previously performed with and wrote music for a punk and ska band before his work on beats and turntables with the Blue Scholars. He attended Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Washington before attending the University of Washington. He met Geologic as a result of an initiative to foster more youth-accessible hip hop on campus and throughout Seattle. Sabzi is also the DJ for Common Market, another Seattle hip hop duo. Sabzi is a Bahá'í by religion, and their album Bayani contains a Bahá'í prayer chanted by Behnam Khoshkhoo as the first track. The songs on Bayani start with track number two.
Opting to create their own record label rather than sign with an existing company, Blue Scholars members Geologic and Sabzi, along with MCs RA Scion of Common Market and Gabriel Teodros, launched MassLine Media in 2006. The label's mission statement includes the goal of using hip hop as a means of grassroots community organizing and youth outreach. MassLine entered a joint venture with legendary hip hop label Rawkus Records in 2007 for the release of the June 12, 2007 release of their new album Bayani; the name derives its meaning from two different languages. In Tagalog it literally means "heroes of the people" and in Persian "Bayan" means "the Word." The June 12 release also commemorated the anniversary of the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898. In July, 2009, Blue Scholars worked out a distribution relationship with Seattle coffee chain Cafe Vita and a record deal with Duck Down Records in which the label signed to the band. Geologic was featured on the remix of fellow Duck Down artists KRS-One and Buckshot's "Oh Really" (off of Survival Skills) alongside Talib Kweli. The duo also remixed Owl City's number one hit "Fireflies" on their song, "Paul Valery."
Official Website: http://www.bluescholars.com/