Common Market (hip hop group)
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Common Market performs at the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, July 2006.
|Origin||Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|Genres||Hip-hop, Northwest hip hop|
|Associated acts||Blue Scholars|
Common Market was an American hip hop duo based in Seattle, Washington, active from 2005 through 2009. Both members, DJ Sabzi (Saba Mohajerjasbi) and MC RA Scion (Ryan Abeo), had been active hip hop artists in the Pacific Northwest for three years before they combined their talents in 2005 to form Common Market. Together they released two albums and two EPs.
Collaboration and first album
Sabzi started his career as DJ and producer in another hip hop duo, Blue Scholars. RA Scion gained musical skill while in Zambia, but later began a solo career, playing a new style of hip hop with a spiritual message, inspired by his membership in the Bahá'í Faith. RA Scion and Sabzi's paths crossed through their Bahá'í contacts, and their political and spiritual approach to hip-hop music.
After collaborating on a pair of tracks on RA Scion’s 2004 solo project, Live and Learn, the duo began working in an attic-based studio for what would eventually become the 14-track self-titled debut, released in October 2005. An advance copy caught the ear of KRS-One, who praised the album and RA Scion for “spitting in the tradition of the conscious hiphop movement.” KRS-One then drove up to perform at Common Market’s album release party in Seattle, then taking the duo on the road with him on the Temple of Hiphop tour.
Distinguishing this album from his previous body of work, Sabzi combined his talents as a DJ to RA Scion's lyrics and talents as a performer. The album was hailed by fans as a remarkable improvement over any of their previous works. Common Market takes on questions about religion, politics and the state of mainstream hip-hop. At the core of Common Market’s music is a critical, unapologetic world view that change is not only necessary, it is inevitable, and can only come about through having love for and serving the people.
Shortly after the release of their debut album, Common Market gathered praise as Seattle Weekly’s 2006 Best New Artist and performing slots on grand stages such as the Sasquatch Festival and The Capitol Hill Block Party. They have shared the stage with KRS-One, Zion I, Ghostface Killah, The Coup, Guru of Gangstarr, and the Blue Scholars. The album’s regional success, along with the wave of Northwest hip-hop, poised the group for a serious push into the national scene, and the Common Market LP has been mixed and mastered by Seattle music engineer Martin Feveyear and repackaged with new album cover art. Their debut album was also the first official new release of Mass Line, a co-op indie record label run by Common Market, Blue Scholars and Gabriel Teodros. The now-defunct label's mission statement included the goal of using hip hop as a means of grassroots community organizing and youth outreach.
In a 2007 interview on Seattle radio station 107.7 The End, the duo stated that their new album would be titled Tobacco Road and is scheduled for release "on your mom's 50th birthday." In preparation for the album release, Common Market released the EP Black Patch War on May 20, 2008. Tobacco Road was released September 9, 2008, followed by a CD release party on September 11, 2008 at Neumo's in Seattle. Later that month, the album climbed to #50 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers chart In September 2008, Common Market released a music video for the single "Trouble Is". The video was shot by director Zia Mohajerjasbi and was filmed at sites around Monroe, Washington. Common Market were winners in the eighth annual Independent Music Award for Rap/Hip-Hop Album in 2009 for Tobacco Road. A second (and final) EP, The Winter's End, followed in March 2009.
In 2010, RA Scion teamed up with producer MTK to release his second solo album under the pseudonym Victor Shade. He released a three song EP Beg, Borrow, Steal in 2012, followed by Adding to the Extra, produced by Todd Sykes, in March 2013. A collaboration produced by Vox Mod, Sharper Tool, Bigger Weapon, followed in March 2014.
Sabzi has continued his work as part of the Seattle hip hop duo Blue Scholars, releasing Cinemetropolis in 2011, and has released two EPs and two albums with Kelsey Bulkin under the name Made In Heights.
Ryan Abeo (RA Scion) was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1974 and briefly attended Northern Kentucky University before moving on to start a family. He has lived all over the globe, calling home to such places as Zambia and Greece before settling with his family in the Pacific Northwest.
- Common Market (Pacific Northwest release: SCIONtific, October 24, 2005; National release: Massline, October 10, 2006)
- Tobacco Road (Massline/Hyena, September 9, 2008)
- Black Patch War (Massline, May 20, 2008)
- The Winter's End (Massline/Hyena, March 24, 2009)
- Spread (Jul 2006)
- Tobacco and Snow Covered Roads (Jan 2009; web video release)
- Apostrophe (produced by Solar Marquardt) (SCIONtific, February 8, 2003)
- Live and Learn (produced by Solar Marquardt) (SCIONtific, June 15, 2004)
- Victor Shade (produced by MTK) (SCIONtific, March 27, 2010)
- Beg X Borrow X Steal (SCIONtific, January 12, 2012)
- Adding to the Extra (produced by Todd Sykes) (SCIONtific, March 19, 2013)
- The Sickle and the Sword (produced by Rodney Hazard) (SCIONtific, November 12, 2013)
- Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon (produced by Vox Mod) (SCIONtific, March 18, 2014)
- America, the Funeral (produced by DJ Indica Jones) (SCIONtific, February 18, 2015)
- Blinking Sphinxx (produced by Qreeps) (SCIONtific, March 25, 2016)
- Death of a Precedent (produced by Taane Jr.) (SCIONtific, May 13, 2016)
- More Power To You (produced by Theory Hazit) (SCIONtific, December 21, 2016)
See Sabzi for complete listing
- 2008: "Trouble Is"
- 2009: "Tobacco and Snow Covered Roads"
- 2009: "Escaping Arkham"
- 2010: "Soothsayer"
- 2012: "Beg X Borrow X Steal"
- 2013: "Guttersnipe Bridge"
- 2014: "Fixed"
- 2014: "Venus in Transit"
- 2016: "Action Figures"
- 2016: "Death of a Precedent"
See Sabzi for complete listing
- Details published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- According to this review by Keith Adam, this quote is on a sticker on the album's cover.
- The full story was published in Seattle's alternative newspaper, The Stranger.
- This observation comes from a review at okayplayer.com
- One show was mentioned in the Seattle Weekly
- This noted in a CD review by Seattle Weekly
- The full story on the record label published in The Stranger
- Live interview with Sabzi and RA Scion. 107.7 The End. October 19, 2007.
- Heatseekers, Billboard.com