Pigeon John likes to add a fresh flair to his underground hip-hop grooves.
This is one artist that isn’t afraid to show off his rap and singer-songwriter skills — all in one concert. Tuesday, Boulder gets to check out Pigeon John’s talents at the University of Colorado’s Club 156.
Who: Pigeon John, with DJ Abilities
When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Club 156, University Memorial Center, CU campus, Boulder
Pigeon John has been creating music since the age of 12, and he’s gone on to share stages with top-name acts such as Matisyahu, Lyrics Born and RJD2.
These days, Pigeon John’s flying solo to promote his new CD, Dragon Slayer. Hitting stores Tuesday, the album is the performer’s first solo project in four years.
“I moved to L.A. when I was young,” Pigeon John said. “I would listen to this hip-hop station that played all kinds of music, from hip-hop, to soul to pop. That’s how I started blending the sounds when I was growing up.
“I was also big into the skateboard culture and it kept me out of trouble. I started rapping professionally at this open mic in South Central. It was held every Thursday and it was like a positive social club for kids.”
Pigeon John practiced his craft at the open mic and it helped him create his soulful blend of sounds.
“It made me want to perform the kind of hip-hop I grew up listening to — like early De La Soul,” Pigeon John said. “My kind of rapping blurs the lines. My favorite thing is to work with artists and producers that let me do a fresh take on the songs.
“My latest collaboration has been with Eligh from Living Legends. And I have DJ Abilities from Rhymesayers backing me up on this tour.”
Pigeon John’s new CD doesn’t come out until next week, but the musician’s anxious to get his fresh material out.
The artist worked with General Elektriks’ Herve Salters on the project. The CD gave Pigeon John a chance to create his own instrumentation, instead of relying on samples.
Dragon Slayer’s songs show off Pigeon John’s multi-faceted tastes. “The Bomb” fuses together edgy rock and hip-hop grooves, while “Before We’re Gone” is a beautifully polished acoustic-pop tune.
“These songs just ran out of my hands and grew up like children,” Pigeon John said. “Control went out the window, and the songs stood on their own two feet without my help.
“The song lyrics fit the title of the record, because they’re about going through changes and conquering different hills and valleys. This record’s about coming of age for the second time in my life.”
Pigeon John’s campus concert is going to be a rare treat for Boulder. The hip-hop artist’s being backed by DJ Abilities, so this going to be a one-of-a-kind show.
“DJ Abilities works off the cuff like I do, so this will really feel like a band,” Pigeon John said. “It’s going to be a really fun show.”
Wendy Kale’s Club Notes runs every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the Colorado Daily.