Dante’s Inferno is a hip hop artist who released their first EP Hot N’ Cold on December 25th, 2017. Their particular brand of rap/hip hop is a mix of personal, sometimes funny lyrics backed by a chill, sometimes lo-fi hip hop sound. The song “Deep Freezin'” from Hot N’ Cold is a great representation of his hip hop sound, which you can listen to here on Soundcloud. Dante’s Inferno distinguishes himself from other artists by taking on the persona of a demon in his music, with frequent references to Hell in his lyrics and a generally dark, gothic vibe.
“Quick lives in the City of the Dead, and pays his rent by finding souls lost in purgatory. Scouring the water-bound city for a red-headed girl named Calliope, Quick finds the soldier who loved her, a pager-carrying bouncer named King of the Birds, and a demon who claims to be toiling for the good of the world. With a live soundtrack of cello, flute, drums, and vocal calisthenics, The Bright River follows Quick’s journey through the dingy underworld – from the bus station of purgatory to the rooftop of creation.
“Deep and dark as the River Styx, this neo-gothic tale of love was first performed by energetic bard Tim Barsky to sold-out Berkeley crowds in 2005. Resurrected from the theatrical graveyard, this musical reinvention of Dante’s Inferno is set for a three month run. With music that thrums through your bones and a story that yanks your still-beating heart straight out of your ribcage, The Bright River is proof that hope comes at man’s darkest hour.” [. . .] –7×7 Editors, 7×7, December 11, 2009.
“The Legend of Mike Smith is a dynamic multi-platform project combining Hip Hop, Dance, Jazz and visual art to explore the permutations of the Seven Deadly sins in modern culture. Written by Soweto Kinch, and directed by Jonzi D it follows the travails of Mike Smith, a young artist as he struggles to navigate his way through a normal day whilst being possessed by other worldly desires and vices. [. . .] The work compares a fantastical world of sin in Catholic texts with a licentious often encouraging attitude towards these things in modern society. Rather than the remote Dantean world of the Inferno, vice often becomes virtue when placed in our contemporary market place, the music industry or political system.” —Soweto Kinch, The Legend of Mike Smith, 2013
“The Bright River is a hip-hop retelling of Dante’s Inferno by a traditional storyteller, Tim Barsky, with a live soundtrack performed by some of the best hip-hop and klezmer musicians in the Bay Area. A dizzying theatrical journey through a world spinning helplessly out of control, the show sends audiences on a mass-transit tour of the Afterlife. Guided by a fixer named Quick, and moving through an urban landscape that is at once both intensely real and fantastic, the show is a deep-rooted love story, a profound meditation on mass transit, and a passionate commentary on the current war in Iraq.” [. . .] —Everyday Theater
See Everyday Theater to learn more, watch video clips, and read reviews.
“A study in blatant subtlety? Maybe, just maybe? GM Grimm gives us “Digital Tears,” the first album since his release from prison last year. Featuring production from J-Zone, X-Ray, Zero Point and Mas this album will probably be one of the most diverse and heavy sets released this year. With Grimm’s ill rhyme flow and incisive lyrics you better buckle up and hold tight as Jet Jaguar the robot is gonna take you on a dark musical journey into the mind of Percy Carey.” –Eric Goldwyn
–Essay by Eric Goldwyn
Contributed by Eric Goldwyn (Bowdoin, ’04)