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Stoney Bertz's sound advice

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BRADLEY FLORA
  • Bradley Flora
Stoney Bertz is a hip-hop artist and activist who’s been performing around Colorado Springs for the last five years in a wide range of settings, from poetry slams to major concert bills. The two-time Indy Music Awards winner is a favorite on the local scene, providing tightly crafted rhymes with a self-assured delivery, while conveying a generosity of spirit that’s uplifting even in the most serious moments. “Exodus, exit us, we might come back later,” raps Bertz on the 2014 collection The Gift. “But that requires love, and a whole lot of favors.” We caught up with the artist recently for a rundown on music that matters.

First record I bought with my own money: Headshots: Se7en by Atmosphere. I remember walking through Independent Records and hearing a song playing and asking who it was. They told me it was Atmosphere, so I went and bought the oldest record of theirs I could find. I fell in love with hip-hop from there. It’s a really important album to me, with some of my favorite songs like “Lyle Lovette” and “To the Break of Sean,” which, honestly just opened up my mind to what, at that time, was something I had never heard before. Honest wordplay and visceral stories had me in awe.

Essential Saturday night listening: Anything by Wrabel. Wrabel is an L.A. singer-songwriter whose tone is amazing, the melodies haunting. His music makes you feel good, and in a really insightful way. I heard the song “Poetry,” and I was hooked. Although he’s still a lesser-known artist, at least in the traditional sense, he’s getting notoriety through some well-placed songs on national
commercials. He’s going to make his mark on the music industry, as more folks like me find out about his music

Essential Sunday morning listening: The Good Fight by Oddisee. I just love this whole album. Essential storytelling, hard-hitting melodies and impactful content. It honestly makes me challenge how I write music, just ‘cos it’s so damn good. Oddisee is an artist from Washington, D.C., who blends relatable lyrics and Go-go to create a landscape of sounds that really takes you somewhere different. That’s what I like about his music the most. “Contradictions Maze” is my favorite song on the album.

“Wish I could unhear that” song: Anything by Taylor Swift.

My latest online discovery: Blkswn by Smino. This was an accidental find, but it’s certainly stuck with me since. There is this lazy way about the flow on the album, a really unique melody every time, and just a really good vibe no matter which song is playing.

Artist more people should know about: Bas. Everybody should know about the artist Bas, who is signed to rapper J Cole’s label Dreamville. The first project I heard from him is entitled Too High to Riot. I fell in love with it immediately. My favorite song on the album is “Dopamine.” It just has an infectious melody, and the lyrics paint a really vivid picture for you. I recommend folks go out and listen to his music, for sure. Really good stuff.

Guilty pleasure: Forgetting Sarah Marshall soundtrack. To be honest, it’s not a guilty pleasure in the sense that I’m ashamed to listen to it, but it is in the sense that I listen to it an excessive amount. I just love it, From Cake’s “Love You Madly,” which has to be my favorite by far, to “Dracula’s Lament” by lead actor Jason Segel, the whole soundtrack makes me happy that I ever saw the movie, just so I could hear the music.

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