Iowa City’s Finest Artists: Top 10 Voting – 7 DAYS LEFT

Don’t get too comfortable if you are listed.   The write in’s are FLOODING the polls right now.  7 DAYS LEFT UNTIL THE POLLS CLOSE.


Poor Broke Rappers Mission Statement

“To provide a blog that showcases talent, upcoming artists, and music from the local scene to a nationwide audience.”

Since our launch less than 2 weeks ago, we have received 1,000+ views and counting.

But why is this site called Poor Broke Rappers?  It’s a question that seems to be filling our inbox.

The name has NOTHING to do with the artists we cover.  Nor does it have anything to do with their status as a musician, artist, producer, or brand.

Our name is designed to catch attention of audiences and to promote labels to consider signing artists that currently have no big bankroll or financiers.  Consider that “richwealthyrappers” isn’t exactly going to turn heads in the highly competitive blog world.

Please, if you dislike your material on our blog, send us an email at   It will not offend.

Fresh Traxx: DJ 500 Benz – “Shimmy”

DJ 500 Benz is on an assault to pour out content.  His latest offering is a southern-fried conglomeration of music genres.



It’s not unusual to see producers dropping beat-tapes these days.   In this sense, there’s nothing totally new about local Iowa native producer DJ 500 Benz.   Except… well the guy is dropping tracks at the rate of Lil B.  He recently posted “Shimmy” late Thursday evening.

In November 2012,  500 dropped his first ever solo instrumental EP,  Geometrics.   It was a relatively modest project, which could have been regarded a little too lo-fi for most listeners.  However, eight more free beat tapes proceeded it just shy of three months later.    (Recently, Little Village mag reviewed Geometrics II, his 5th release.)  It seems 500 may have refined the formula.

500 is gearing up for his tenth project:  Commercial Break 2.   We’re really digging this new track, which feels like Southern Rap gumbo of EDM.  Tell us, what you think?

2013 Top 10 In The Big 10: Who is #iowasfinest?

Vote for your favorite artists/producers of this year…  Iowa’s finest.  Check the top contenders or enter your own fan favorite for the 1st Annual Top 10 in the Big Ten.


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This is Poor Broke Rapper’s first annual “TOP 10 IN THE BIG 10.”  Below is the poll that ends in 10 days.   There’s choices in there, but you can add someone if we missed them.  Make sure to send all your followers here to vote for you.  The top 10 will be profiled here on March 11th.

NOTE:  If you vote for a member of a crew, his/her votes go towards the group as a whole if not enough scored by members individually.  One vote per IP Address, so it’s all fair game.

The Making of: Rahlan Kay – Relationships: A Sucka 4 Luv Story (2012)

Rowland Gibson a.k.a. Rahlan Kay is an Iowa recording artist.  Rahlan Kay methodically created a concept album about the most over-state theme in music – love & relationships.  Rahlan was held up in Elastik Labs Recording Studios, which is far from a basement studio, with engineer and owner Austin Switalski.  It’s where Rahlan Kay and Austin knocked out eleven tracks effortlessly in-studio.  Those sessions ended up being “Relationships.”

The album is currently available on iTunes.  It received positive reviews from local media outlets.  This is a reflection on the sessions by those involved:

Recorded at Elastik Labs Recording Studios in Cedar Rapids
Tracks 1,4,5,7,8,9,10 produced by 500Benz
Tracks 2,3,6 produced by Josh Michalec
Track 11 produced by Austin Switalski
Guest Appearances by Phoenix the MisfitMike Page, Al X Ander, Damu, & Royce Bell

“Break the Chain” 

Rahlan Kay:  It was a concept I always wanted to do.  Relationships. A universal theme that everybody can relate to.  Young, old, whatever race or creed.  Everyone has been in various relationships.

“Break the Chain” lyrics were driven by the hook in the song.  When I listened to it, I wanted to let people know it’s a hip hop album, it is a concept, and it’s about my relationship with hip hop.   Wherever hip hop allows me to go career wise or not, I love hip hop no matter what.

“U” (feat. Mike Page) Produced by Josh Michalec

Rahlan Kay:  I had originally met Josh through Austin, at Elastik Labs.  There’s this guy that has some nice beats.  So he invited me to one of the sessions Josh was at and that’s how we met.  He brought some instrumentals.  I was like, “Man, we got to collab.”

Me and Mike Page had some dialogue about a record together.  So Mike and his producer Big Show came to the studio to check what I was doing.  We had Austin put the beat on.  Show and Mike were nodding their head.  Austin had that song bass-ed up like it was hott.  I asked him to get on the track.  We came up with the hook together wrote our verses.  My verse was talking about the type of girl that I need.  His verse was like, “I can’t believe I’m doing it for love.  I’m a sucka for love.”  It’s two different approaches.

Josh Michalec:  I had four or five beat tapes online, and Rahlan picked a gang of beats from them.  The ones he used were older, I make like 4-5 beats every day.  I made sure to mix them before I gave them to him.

I was in the studio for one session… the one with Mike Page. I originally titled the beat “15 Minute Workout.”  I was in the studio for a little bit when Mike was recording his verse and had to leave.  Didn’t hear till the final version till the album came out.

“Is It True Love?” (Feat. Phoenix the Misfit) Produced by Josh Michalec

Rahlan Kay:  Phoenix and me have an album out called Summer Timeless.  This was a potential song that we were gonna put on that album, but it didn’t fit the concept and it wasn’t quite finished.  When we finalized the song it fit the concept of this album.

Phoenix the Misfit:  Me and Rahlan, when we first linked up, I had just moved back to Cedar Rapids.  It was a surreal type of moment because I found out my Dad had been adopted. I had realized how much family I had here. It just so happened Rahlan Kay was my cousin.  We met up and found out we both do music.  I said, “We definitely gotta do an album.”  That’s what sparked Hip Hop The Group.

He called me and asked if I could drop a verse for him. He told me the topic and I came down to the studio.  I wrote my verse on the spot and dropped it right there.  The song is about finding that one person when there’s a whole lot of girls out there.   Rahlan has that old school type of vibe to him.  Hip Hop The Group is just the old school with the new school.

Want’n More (feat. Royce Bell) 

Rahlan Kay:  I already had the hook and Royce’s voice in mind for the song.  I had been trying to get Royce in the studio for some time.  500 had came to the studio to check out what I was doing.  The song that came to me instantly. It flowed.  I didn’t have any problems recording that.  Royce gave it that new flavor.  It was smooth but had energy into the track.

“Crazy Like That” 

Rahlan Kay:  That song was driven by the sample [Jewel’s “Foolish”] but I wanted to do a different spin.  It’s talking about how love can become dangerous.  So it starts out I’m pursuing a girl I think is the one.  I’m gonna get her no matter what.  By the second verse, I’m so into this I’m doing things I wouldn’t do.  Third verse is I got out of hand, stalkerish level, I’m flipping out.  By the end, it shows the aftermath:  “I’m in the news/CNN/Connie Chung/with a gun…”  Pure heartache.

“Let Me Go” Produced by Josh Michalec

Rahlan Kay:   “Let Me Go” was one of those last tracks.  It was awkward and it fit.  The whole album is a story.  In this part, the relationship from the previous song is over, but when you see that person again, it’s awkward.  I think artists don’t capture the nuances like that.  I flipped the whole rap style with the syncopation in my lyrics to capture the awkwardness.

Josh Michalec:  He’s used a lot of my beats.  We’ve worked together a bunch.  I don’t think anything we did made it on any of his other projects.  It was kinda weird, I don’t know if he still does this, but he was working on five other projects at the same time.  Those three songs I produced he had done like… a year before the album came out. He doesn’t stop until one of them is perfect.

“Last Night” 

Rahlan Kay:  A fun uptempo dance song.  DJ’s could get people on the dance floor.  It’s about when you have a relationship but you hit it off with another person chit-chating.  I’m with someone but you’re still forming a bond.  But it’s positive because you make that decision: we might see each other again someday, but I’m with someone right now…

“You’re My Angel” (feat Al X Ander) 

Rahlan Kay:  It had that commercial appeal and feel.  It was a smooth track.  It featured a “Charlie’s Angels” sample.  How can I put something about an angel into this song to flip it?  “You’re my angel. Take me and fly away.”  That means I found that one.  I know she’s the one.  The song is about the person that without them you wouldn’t have been able to make it through.

I had performed at a gospel event at the U of I and met Al X Ander.  Al X was able to make it down and “bless” the track.

Al X Ander:  [Doing this record] was certainly easy.  It’s more of a hobby for me, the music stuff.  Rahlan hit me up asking if I could work on a project.  He gave me the concepts. I was able to put some harmonies to add more color and feel to the song.

I hadn’t worked with him before.  I know he had did a gospel album before, I do gospel too.  I think that’s where we crossed paths.  He performed at a couple of our concerts.  I had a gospel group.  He had been hitting me up for a while about doing some work.

“Over Losing You” 

Rahlan Kay:  There was a relationship that I had been in.  She was murdered through domestic violence by a boyfriend.  She was a real good person.  Good friend.  We had met and built a relationship over a period of time.  It’s love lost.  Everyone has lost someone in time.  That’s what that song is speaking about.

“World of Mine” (Feat. Damu) Produced by Austin Switalski

Rahlan Kay:  Last tracks to be recorded for the album.  That song is about the most important relationship that we have: our relationship in god.  Whatever you believe.  Above all, your spiritual relationship is one of the most important.  It’s one of the most downloaded songs off the album right now.  Definitely got a cross-over appeal.

On Demand: Emdubai – “Molly”

Emdubai’s not a newcomer, but is making his biggest splash yet with his radio single “Molly” now hitting airwaves in Power 92 Chicago.



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Emdubai’s latest offering, “Molly”, is making it’s rounds in the blog and mixtape world.  The single has an official music video that was release just four days ago.  Already it is featured on Tony Harder’s new mixtape Alien From Mars Vol. 5.  and “Molly” has been spinning frequently on Power 92 Chicago Radio.

In addition to this,  Emdubai is fresh off an appearance on DJ Disaster’s Armageddon tape on iTunes for “Toast.”  The new single “Molly” is produced by Mouthpiece Prod. and shot by JBooth.

“Focus on your weaknesses, NOT what makes you great,” said Emdubai, commenting on his recent embrace from the DJ/Blogging community.

The record is still in it’s infancy but it’s rumored that another premier hip hop radio broadcaster, possibly WGCI, might be picking the record up soon.

A Chicago native but resides in Iowa, Dubai has been an entertainer for a while on the scene.  He notably performed at Kinneck Stadium, and has opened for several top billing acts in the past.

Iowa City’s Shakes #Drugmuzic EP Due Out Soon


Iowa City artist Shakes is releasing his label compilation EP “#Drugmuzic EP.”  The sampler is due out soon on Datpiff.  No release date is known at press time.

Shakes has been releasing a slew of singles and music videos.  In addition, Shakes and the #DM squad hit the ground running this year on the concert show circuit, going everywhere from right here in their backyard of Iowa City’s Gabes to Nebraska and more.

This will be the first official EP release from #DM.

#Drugmuzic EP will also feature #DM artists KB, Bud D. Luck, EX L..   The album will be produced by Shakes and KB.




Review: Big Bang DBT – #Banggang


#Banggang is an album by Cedar Rapids hip hop act Big Bang DBT. This marks Big Bang DBT’s 3rd official group album following “We Are Big Bang” and “The Bangover”.

Fans of the group will hear their signature sound on the title track “#Banggang” and “Bounce.”  “Stress Reliever” & “Single” brings the R&B touchs fans are familiar with the group

The group is unlike many in the Iowa area, set apart by their A-List collaborations.  In the past, the group has worked with Young Buck, Lil Chuckee, & even the late Nate Dogg.  #Banggang is no different, and the group sounds in place on the high profile collaborations.

The Wiz Khalifa assisted “Yo Bitch Love Me” is a nice mellow entry, but members really shine with Cyhi The Prynce “B.B.G.W.”  They also deliver a club banger on the Huey collaboration track as well.

“Smash-N-Dash” & “Bring Dat” highlight the album, with their bassy & lyrical combinations showing the best of the groups rap skills.

Whats different about #Banggang is the experimental tracks.  The whole album is produced by their longtime producer Tony T.  “Throw Yo Hands Up” could have easily been an Outkast/Organized Noize track.  “Party All Night” is a rock fusion track that might make Darryl DMC grin.

At 20 tracks, the effort is long.  The groups throws in new tricks, signature records, and the eclectic mix of club/R&B infused songs.  The outcome assures that there really is something for everyone on this album, while not alienating the growing fan-base.

The Verdict:  4.5/5

While not a picture perfect effort, it’s clear to see Big Bang DBT is #1, and the best is yet to come.

Download Now:  “Bring Dat”, “B.B.G.W.”, “Throw Yo Hands Up” 

Artists2Watch: Jose G on the new Trap-a-holics mixtape.

Jose G, Cedar Rapids Native By Way of California, strikes it big with collaborations with G-Unit and Trap-A-Holics Mixtape Series.


Three years ago in the local scene, there was an adamant rapper that used to be at every show, every performance and every rap gig he could get into in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area.   The aggressive nature at which he paced himself early in his career is starting to pay off.

That rapper is Jose G.  Born in Sactown, California, Jose represents 3zBrand Entertainment in Cedar Rapids.  Although Jose has been recording for several years now, Jose started gaining traction in the Iowa music scene with his mixtape releases Cedarfornia & Cedarfornia 2.

This week brings the most exciting news for Jose G.   Jose announced and released his Brick Squad x Trap-A-Holics collaboration (the brand made famous by famous rappers Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame and others.)  If the buzz wasn’t enough,  Jose G is about to drop another collaboration with G-Unit artist Realm Reality on the 20th of this month.

The popularity of the series started turning heads locally and Jose G performed with a west coast icon, Ras Kass.  They performed together earlier this year.

Local promoter, MG worked with Jose G. early on in his career.  MG brought platinum rappers Twista and Chingy to Iowa City in 2009 and 2010.

“It’s unbelievable what’s happening right now in his career,” says MG.  “When I first started promoting three years ago, I always saw the work ethic he had.   He was at every show, performing, and working with his team.  I never expected this level out of any artist in Iowa.  It makes it all the much better that Jose G is the one receiving that attention.”

Jose G plans to launch Cedarfornia 3 later this year.

Another promoter  Johnny Charsimea of Iowa City, has watched Jose G. develop.

“There is a certain caliber of rap artists in Iowa City. You look at a group like Big Bang, and Jose G. in the early days was always around those guys, so you know he comes cut from the same cloth.    It’s no surprise to me that G is getting his props.  Finally!”  said J.C.

Social media from Jose G says Cedarfornia 3 drops later this year.  Make sure to check out Jose G.’s collab with Realm Reality February 20th.

Welcome To Iowa City…

There’s a burgeoning rap scene in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Movements have been brewing since 2009 are taking shape this year.

  • Big Bang, group, has worked with Wiz Khalifa, CyHi The Prince, Young Buck, & more.
  • Jose G., rapper, is expected to be on Brick Squad/Trapaholics Mixtape, due out in Feburary.
  • Emdubai, rapper, who performed this year at U of I’s halftime show, has reached 100,000+ views on YouTube and is rumored to have signed a major deal.
  • Shakes, rapper, has garnered 10,000+ views on YouTube.  He has led his squad, #drugmuzic, to several performances in Iowa City, and is rumored to be opening for Kendrick Lamar.
  • DJ 500Benz, rap producer, has reached 11,000+ views on YouTube and put out a song with Spaceghostpurrp’s Raider Klan affiliate Mr. Sisco.

These are just a few of the top stories coming to the surface.

Check out more later.

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