- Casey Bradley Gent
- The ReMINDers
You might not realize it from the infrequency of their local performances, but hip-hop duo The ReMINDers are one of the busiest live acts to come out of this area. It's just that Aja Black and Samir Zamundu's shows are so geographically distant you don't necessarily hear about them, especially outside the local hip-hop community.
LAURYN HILL AND BEYOND
To choose just a few résumé highlights, The ReMINDers have traveled to Washington, D.C., to perform with a 100-voice choir, followed by an hour-long set at the Kennedy Center. They've received enthusiastic receptions at large festivals like The Hieroglyphics 20th anniversary celebration in Oakland. The duo has also released two critically acclaimed albums and, perhaps most impressively, toured nationally as Lauryn Hill's opening act.
Samir, who was born and raised in Belgium, was in high school when his family relocated to the Springs and he formed his first group, Accumen. Both he and Aja are military brats, so it's no surprise they've also taken advantage of opportunities to play abroad in places like the Czech Republic and Morocco.
Musically, The ReMINDers offer conscious lyrics and a smooth hip-hop flow that gives way to Aja's beautifully sung choruses. For local shows, the couple typically bring their young kids onstage with headphones on to dance, which is beyond cute. As anyone who talks to them offstage will tell you, Samir and Aja are also really nice people. And, as we can all too often forget, that means a lot.
Second place: Mad Trees
Third place: Bullhead*ded