Portland’s Sapient will lay down some freestyle at Cisero’s | ParkRecord.com

Portland’s Sapient will lay down some freestyle at Cisero’s

Scott Iwasaki
Portland's hip-hop pioneer Sapient, born Marcus Williams will perform at Cisero's Good Time Bar with fellow Northwest hip-hop artist Illmaculate on Sunday. (Courtesy of Sapientkills.com)

Ten years ago, Portland’s Sapient, born Marcus Williams, released his debut solo album, "Dry Puddles."

Little did he know that he would become one of the pioneers of the Northwest rap and hip-hop scene.

He worked with Living Legends’ Luckyiam in the duo the Prime and Portland’s Debaser. Sapient, along with Illmaculate, was also one of the founders of the Sandpeople.

While Sapient doesn’t have a problem being called a pioneer, he doesn’t get cocky.

"I don’t really try to cling to that title, but if people say it, I can see why," said the rapper who will perform at Cisero’s Good Time Bar on Sunday. "I did put my droplet in and contributed to the overall sound."

Part of the reason is because of the amount of hours he put into the studio working on his art.

"Between 2006 and 2009, I just honed my craft and developed my sound," he said during a phone call from outside of Bend, Oregon. "And I definitely have noticed my influence in almost everything in the genre."

When Sapient performs at Cisero’s, he won’t be alone. Illmaculate is on the bill as well.

"We’re going to do our own solo sets, and we’ll do some stuff together to flip it up and blend things because we have done so much together," Sapient explained. "The show is something that we really focus on and we want to convey to people that we really take it seriously. It’s important to us to give our all, because we’re like hand delivering a representation of what we do as artists."

The tour is celebrating Sapient’s new release "Eaters Vol. 2: Light Tiger" and Illmaculate’s collection, "Clay Pigeons."

"Light Tiger" is the follow up to "Eaters Vol. 1: Tusks."

"The (‘Eater’) series honestly started when I was making music on the side with beats," Sapient explained. "I wanted people to hear even the smallest beats that I was stoked on, including beats that I have done that appear on other people’s songs."

So he began compiling the tracks.

"I modeled it after Madlib’s ‘Beat Konducta’ series and it was really a way to find a place for me to put some beats that I can’t find a song to put them on," Sapient said. "But then it took a life of its own. It not only gave me a place to put these beats on, but also a way to put some songs together in a free way. It’s like a mix tape, but with all my own stuff."

"Eaters Vol. 1" got a great response.

"I took the lead from that and did another," the rapper said. "I wanted to do something with animals, so I called it ‘Eaters.’"

Although Sapient has celebrated a decade making and producing music, his first love was visual art.

"I thought I was going to be an artist, because I was into drawing and spent a lot of time doing that in school," he said "I thought I would become an animator or work in comic books."

When he got older, he discovered skateboarding and the visual arts became graffiti.

"That got me into hip hop and changed my thought processes," he said. "I dabbled in becoming a pro skater, but that wasn’t realistic.

"But I noticed something just out of high school," he said. "I was into all this underground hip hop and indie rap and what those artists were doing from a business point was more feasible than making a bunch of demo tapes and sending them out to record labels. That long-shot mentality was going away, when the independent artists started using the Internet."

Sapient realized he could make a modest, but still feasible, living by releasing his music online and playing live.

"I would go to underground hip-hop shows and there would be 300 kids there," he said. "So, I decided to try it."

Creating music does have a correlation with visual art for the musician.

"There is the same satisfaction that I feel when I complete a song that I’m happy with," he said. "It’s the same rush when I learn a new skate trick or when I’m running off before getting caught after doing a graffiti piece."

Sapient and Illmaculate will be at Cisero’s Good Time Bar, 306 Main St., on Sunday, July 13, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available by visiting http://www.ticketcake.com . For more information about Sapient, visit http://www.sapientkills.com .

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