Range rovers 

The Springs' most revered hip-hop act, The Procussions, visit home with hopes still high

click to enlarge Stro (left) and Mr. J. Medeiros    are now a marching band - of two.
  • Stro (left) and Mr. J. Medeiros are now a marching band of two.

They're the prodigal hip-hop sons of Colorado Springs, and though they've been in California for five years, the members of The Procussions still consider themselves Coloradans.

"[Los Angeles] doesn't feel like home," emcee Mr. J. Medeiros says. "My apartment feels like home, but outside of it, not really."

Home, Medeiros says, is still the Springs which is why when The Procussions return to town next week, Medeiros will be staying 10 days longer than his tour schedule demands.

The fact that Medeiros is in Los Angeles, of all places, certainly has something to do with this sentiment. There, Medeiros says sarcastically, "everyone is about to blow up."

To be fair, he adds, The Procussions were no different when they first arrived. Hell, stardom is why the group moved out there in the first place. The old "If you want to be successful, you've got to leave the Springs" adage had gotten to them.

But five years later, do they have anything to show for it?

Yes and no. Though the Procussions aren't exactly household names nationally, the members have had some successes. They've been praised within the hip-hop community for their good-time sound, which comes off like a fresher, modernized take on De La Soul. They've worked with some major icons in the industry like Talib Kweli, who guest-spotted on "Miss January," a song on the group's 2006 album, 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents. And Medeiros' recently released solo album, Of gods and girls, has earned acclaim for its social consciousness, earning airplay during national news segments on CBS and NBC.

But even reaching this level hasn't been easy.

"I wasted so much time giving people free beats," Medeiros says of his first two years in L.A. "And then doing guest spots and doing a bunch of free concerts."

He actually filed for bankruptcy, and says that for a whole year, he was homeless. Today, things aren't that dire, but there is a new issue. This winter, Procussions member Rez left Medeiros and Stro, saying that his passion had shifted from music to graphic design.

But Medeiros isn't worried.

"As horrible as the industry is," he says, "if you don't have a true passion for this, you will not last."

Medeiros says he's thankful for there being some money in the music industry. He no longer needs a day job music has become just that for him and Stro. And, recently, they've only become more encouraged.

Medeiros says The Procussions' 200 performances a year are generally well-received across the country. And the early praise for his solo project has him only further seeing the glass of a musician's life as half-full.

Audiences, he says, are starting to demand the kind of conscious hip-hop that he and Stro produce. He points to Common's recent critically praised release Finding Forever, which is being sold in the most mainstream of markets: Starbucks coffeehouses.

"People want conscious music," he says. "People are tired of the fantasy."

The Procussions are just warming up for theirs.


The Procussions featuring solo sets by Mr. J. Medeiros, DJ Vajra and Samir
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Thursday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $10; visit ticketweb.com or call 866/468-7621.


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