Sabzi (musician)

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Sabzi (musician)
Born Alexei Saba Mohajerjasbi
December 10, 1981
Seattle, Washington, United States
Occupation Record producer, DJ
Years active 2002-present
Website sabzi.co

Alexei Saba Mohajerjasbi, stage name Sabzi, is a Seattle-based producer and DJ. His genre is listed as alternative hip hop, due to its association with hip hop through the use of rap lyrics. He has collaborated three times to form different groups:

Early years[edit]

Sabzi's first act, Blue Scholars, was formed with George Quibuyen (A.K.A. MC Geologic), whom he met at the University of Washington where they were students. They both belonged to the student group S.H.O.W. (the Student HipHop Organization of Washington). Blue Scholars soon become a Seattle Underground staple, and declared itself a group dedicated to forward thinking and youth empowerment. [1]

In 2004, Sabzi began working with solo artist RA Scion on his album Live and Learn. By October 2005, the two had released a self-titled album as the duo Common Market. The group found success, as Scion contributed questions about religion, politics and the state of mainstream hip-hop to Sabzi's beats. While there are overt similarities between Blue Scholars and Common Market, the two groups have distinct differences, and "their styles seem to be diverging more". [2]

Sabzi's beats are usually full-bodied and piano-based, and often include periods of brief silence. Some tracks include long wordless introductions and ambient solos.

In 2009, he moved from his West Coast roots to the center of East Coast hip hop, New York City. When asked about the move by Seattle Weekly, he said "A lot of it had to do logistically with the people that I'm collaborating [with] now, some creatively, some more on the business end of things" (in reference to his work with Das Racist and what became Made In Heights in 2010.[3] When asked about the possibility of doing a solo album, his reply was "absolutely".[4] He ended up releasing four solo albums in 2011-2012.

Critical acclaim[edit]

Common Market

The duo appeared in Seattle Weekly as 2006 Best New Artist. They were featured in the Sasquatch Festival and The Capitol Hill Block Party. They have also shared the stage with KRS-One,[5] Zion I, Ghostface Killah,[6] The Coup, and Guru of Gangstarr. The group gained regional popularity and then national fame.

Blue Scholars

The Blue Scholars were at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in 2005, 2006, and 2008. The group also opened for Kanye West in 2006. They opened for and shared stages with the following artists: De La Soul, Slick Rick, Wordsworth, Hieroglyphics, Immortal Technique, The Coup and Masta Ace.[7][8] In 2006, the Blue Scholars received top honors in the hip hop category of the Seattle Weekly's Music Awards Poll, and were also the top vote-getters overall. In previous years they had been recognized in the categories of Best Hip-hop Artist, Best Local Single, and Best Album.[9][10][11][12]

Popular culture[edit]

Sabzi has a cousin, Dhabih Eng, who works as an artist for Valve Corporation. In Valve's electronic game, Half Life 2: Episode 2, the Blue Scholars' name can be seen on the front of several radio boxes throughout the game along with the radio station "FM 89.50". It is also on an audio receiver in Kleiner's lab, above the camera screens. 89.5 FM is a reference to the frequency of Seattle's WA radio station KNHC-FM, one of the few radio stations in the country that is run entirely by high school students, in this case by the students of Nathan Hale High School.

Recent work[edit]

Having relocated to Los Angeles, Sabzi continues his collaboration with Kelsey Bulkin as Made In Heights. Made In Heights did a 14-stop tour in the US and Canada in September-October, 2014. Their sophomore album, Without My Enemy What Would I Do, was released in May 2015.

Discography[edit]

  • Blue Scholars - Blue Scholars (Pacific Northwest release 2004, National release 2005)
  • Common Market - Common Market (Pacific Northwest release 2005, National release 2006)
  • Blue Scholars - The Long March EP (2005)
  • Blue Scholars - Bayani (2007, Redux 2009)
  • Blue Scholars - Joe Metro EP (2007)
  • Blue Scholars - Butter & Gun$ EP (2008)
  • Common Market - Black Patch War (2008)
  • Common Market - Tobacco Road (2008)
  • Common Market - The Winter's End (2009)
  • Blue Scholars - OOF! EP (2009)
  • Made In Heights - Winter Pigeons (Songs To Raise Your Dead Spirits) (2010)
  • Blue Scholars - Cinemetropolis (2011)
  • Made In Heights - Aporia: In These Streets (2011)
  • Parthenia (2011)
  • Rainier (2012)
  • Delridge (2012)
  • Yesler (2012)
  • Made In Heights - the wøøds (2013)
  • Made In Heights - Without My Enemy What Would I Do (2015)

Guest appearances[edit]

Videography[edit]

with Blue Scholars[edit]

  • 2004: "Freewheelin"
  • 2007: "Back Home"
  • 2007: "Joe Metro"
  • 2008: "Loyalty"
  • 2008: "Coffee and Snow"
  • 2009: "HI-808"
  • 2010: "Coffee and Snow 2"
  • 2011: "Fou Lee"
  • 2012: "Seijun Suzuki"
  • 2012: "Slick Watts"
  • 2012: "Anna Karina"

with Common Market[edit]

  • 2008: "Trouble Is"
  • 2009: "Tobacco and Snow Covered Roads"
  • 2009: "Escaping Arkham"

References[edit]