|Birth name||Gabriel Teodros|
|Origin||Beacon Hill, Seattle, Washington|
|Genres||Hip hop, Northwest hip hop|
|Labels||independent, Fresh Chopped Beats, MADK, MassLine, Porto Franco Records|
|Associated acts||Abyssinian Creole, CopperWire, Khingz, Meklit Hadero, Burntface, Amos Miller, Blue Scholars, Macklemore, Moka Only, Bocafloja, Shakiah|
Gabriel Teodros (born 1981), is a hip hop artist and a member of the groups Abyssinian Creole and CopperWire. He is of Ethiopian, Scottish, Irish and Native American descent, and was raised on Beacon Hill, Seattle, Washington. Teodros' music often features socially conscious themes, and he was a catalyst in the surge of dynamic underground rap acts from the Pacific Northwest during the first decade of the 2000s.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Music career
- 3 Touring and other work
- 4 Discography
- 5 Videography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington to an Ethiopian mother and a father of Scottish, Irish and Native American descent. His parents met through anti-war organizing in the 1970s, and they split up around the time Gabriel was born. He stayed with his mother, where he met grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins as they first emigrated to the United States and all stayed in the same house.
His relationship with hip hop culture began at a young age within the South Seattle neighborhood of Beacon Hill. “A lot of kids in my neighborhood were affected by gang culture. And I kind of had a death wish. I felt like, at an early age, that I wasn’t going to live to 21” he said in an interview with Sheeko Magazine. He spent his high school years in Las Vegas, Nevada where as one out of approximately 30 students of color in a predominantly white school, something within him changed. “It was the first time I understood that there was a system in place that wanted kids like me to want to die. And understanding that in high school made me want to live.” he says in the same interview. The former breakdancer, graffiti writer and closet-emcee finally began to take his career path seriously at age 16, using hip hop to both understand and explain his world.
1999-2005: Beginnings and Abyssinian Creole
Teodros began his musical career around 1999, when he returned to Seattle and began working with a live band called 500 Years. That same year, he met an MC named Khalil Crisis (better known as Khingz), from the group Maroon Colony. The 2 groups began sharing bills together all over Seattle and the 2 MC's also began working with a community organization called Youth Undoing Institutionalized Racism. In 2001, YUIR sent them to a conference in New Orleans, and it was there that Teodros and Khingz saw how much they had in common outside of music. They formed the group Abyssinian Creole to both represent their peoples and the bridges between them.
Also in 2001, Teodros released his first solo album entitled Sun To A Recycled Soul.
In 2005, Abyssinian Creole released its debut album, Sexy Beast, a record that gives expression to the post-1990s cosmopolitanism thriving in South Seattle. The album's featured guests include Moka Only, Geologic of Blue Scholars and Macklemore. What Sexy Beast made apparent was the diversity of Northwest hiphop: It can come from anywhere (East Africa, Haiti) and be about anything (love, immigration, meditation).
In the spring of 2006, Teodros completed the entire Lovework album with producer Amos Miller, around the same time MassLine Media was being formed with Teodros, Blue Scholars & Common Market. Lovework had additional beat contributions from Sabzi of Blue Scholars, Moka Only, Kitone, and Specs One. Its sound was primarily influenced by Seattle veteran Vitamin D (who also mixed the record) and the late J Dilla. The album title, Lovework was inspired by bell hooks and her book All About Love: New Visions, where hooks insists that to truly know love, one must agree that love is a verb. She goes further to say to truly know love, one must work to undo every system of domination that stops people from truly loving. The title was also inspired by a quote from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet where Gibran says "Work is love made visible".
Also in 2006, Good Medicine was formed: a four-person group composed of Teodros, Khingz, Macklemore and Geologic of Blue Scholars. Good Medicine have headlined a handful of shows in the Seattle area but have never released any music as a group. Towards the end of that year, Teodros independently released a mix-tape/CD entitled Westlake: Class of 1999, which was a collection of his unreleased songs recorded in 4 different cities between the years 2002-2006.
The Lovework album was released February 27, 2007 on MassLine, to critical acclaim. The album topped the CMJ Hip Hop charts for 2 weeks and came in at #19 for the year 2007. This year Teodros was also named as one of URB Magazine's "Next 100".
2009-2010: Air 2 A Bird and GT's Ethiopium
In the fall of 2009, after being deported from the London-Heathrow Airport and having to cancel a European tour, Teodros found himself in a Brooklyn, NY recording studio with Lovework producer Amos Miller. They spent 2 weeks together crafting a 12 track album produced using mostly GarageBand, a piano, and the recordings of actual birds. The end result was Air 2 A Bird's Crow Hill, released independently in the summer of 2010.
In December 2009, Teodros released GT's Ethiopium: A Jitter Generation Mixtape. This release shined a light on the realities of Ethiopia, touched on America’s own imperfections & stressed the importance of exploring one's own intelligence and spirituality. It was made completely using instrumentals from Oh No's Ethiopium, which was made completely using old-school and rare samples of Ethiopian music.
2012: Colored People's Time Machine and CopperWire
In January 2012, Teodros released Colored People's Time Machine, his first full-length solo album since Lovework. Colored People's Time Machine was recorded in Seattle and Brooklyn and is a multi-lingual, multi-genre album that featured vocal, instrumental, and production collaborations with 20 different artists. On it, he explored themes of love (Goodnight, a brief interlude on a long-distance relationship), cultural identity (Blossoms of Fire), personal identity (Alien Native, a biographical tale), the concept of home (Diaspora and Beit), loss (Ella Mable Bright, a tribute to his grandmother featuring Meklit Hadero), music (Colored People’s Time Machine, and Sun and Breeze, also featuring Meklit Hadero and Amos Miller), and the music industry (You A Star, on which he warns about the pitfalls of the industry and the danger of buying into the illusion of stardom). Other guests on the album include Mexico City's Bocafloja, Los Angeles emcee SKIM, and Palestinian wordsmith Sabreena Da Witch.
On April 17, 2012, CopperWire's debut album Earthbound was released on Porto Franco Records. CopperWire is a group composed of Teodros, Meklit Hadero and Burntface. All three celebrate their Ethiopian ancestry on the album, but do so through the characters of galactic fugitives aboard a hijacked starship. Earthbound's story, as described in liner notes by award-winning science fiction author Nnedi Okorafor, casts CopperWire members as characters that journey to Earth in the year 2089 to learn what it means to be human. They include mad scientist Scholar Black (Burntface), alien-human hybrid Getazia (Gabriel Teodros) and interstellar telepath Ko Ai (Meklit Hadero). The album uses metaphors of intergalactic distances to talk about diaspora and cultural connection and disconnection. The album also uses sonified light curves (that is the sound of stars, processed through Fourier analysis into frequencies that can be heard by humans) courtesy of SETI Institute researcher & NASA Kepler Labs analyst Jon Jenkins.
2014: Children Of The Dragon and Evidence Of Things Not Seen
On May 7, 2014, Teodros independently released the album Children Of The Dragon with Washington, DC-based producer AirMe. Teodros met AirMe in 2011 during a 24-hour layover in Washington, DC while traveling between the cities of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Seattle, WA. They recorded their first song together that day, before co-creating 20 more tracks together the following month. The title Children Of The Dragon is a reference to mythology Teodros first heard of in Haile Gerima's film Teza.
On October 28, 2014, Teodros released the album Evidence Of Things Not Seen with Auckland, New Zealand-based producer SoulChef, and featured vocals from Jonathan Emile, Shakiah and Sarah MK. The album Evidence Of Things Not Seen and its title was largely inspired by James Baldwin, and it was released within a full-size book of Teodros' lyrics. City Arts Magazine described it as the best album of Teodros' career.
Touring and other work
Teodros leads writing workshops with youth, has helped spearhead after-school programs, and organizes all-ages events.
In 2007, Teodros toured the Western part of the United States with Blue Scholars and Common Market, for the first and only MassLine Tour. Also in 2007, Teodros performed at the Sasquatch! Music Festival, which was headlined by Björk, and also featured Manu Chao and Ozomatli. Teodros also performed at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, CT in 2007 (as a solo artist), and in 2008 (as a part of Abyssinian Creole).
In 2011, Teodros toured Ethiopia alongside Meklit Hadero and Burntface, where they did 12 shows including the first Hip Hop shows to ever happen in the cities of Harar and Gondar. He recorded an album in Washington, DC inspired by the experience, that was released in May 2014
In 2015, Teodros made his speculative fiction debut with a time-travel story titled "Lalibela" published in the anthology Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (AK Press), and in 2016 he graduated from the Clarion West Writers Workshop for Speculative Fiction.
- Lovework (Massline, February 27, 2007)
- Colored People's Time Machine (Fresh Chopped Beats/MADK Productions, January 19, 2012)
- Children Of The Dragon (produced by AirMe) (Independent, May 7, 2014)
- Evidence Of Things Not Seen (produced by SoulChef) (independent, October 28, 2014)
- Sexy Beast (with Khingz, as Abyssinian Creole) (MADK/Pangea, November 30, 2005)
- Crow Hill (with Amos Miller, as Air 2 A Bird) (independent, July 22, 2010)
- Earthbound (with Meklit Hadero & Burntface, as CopperWire) (Porto Franco Records, April 7, 2012)
- Sexy Beast EP (with Khingz, as Abyssinian Creole) (MADK/Pangea, 2005)
- No Label (Massline, 2007)
- The Lentil Soup EP (produced by DJ Ian Head) (Everyday Beats, May 2011)
- Westlake: Class of 1999 (Independent, September 11, 2006)
- GT's Ethiopium: A Jitter Generation Mixtape (Independent, December 15, 2009)
- Moka Only - Flood - "Liquid Sunshine" featuring Gabriel T. (Underworld/Battle Axe Records, 2002)
- Macklemore - The Language of My World - "Claiming The City" featuring Abyssinian Creole (independent, 2005)
- Common Market - Common Market - "Every Last One (Cornerstone Remix)" featuring Geologic & Gabriel Teodros (MassLine, 2006)
- Nam - Exhale - "Ghetto" featuring Gabriel Teodros & Toni Hill (independent, 2008)
- The Kafa Beanz - Andromeda: The Chronicles of Blackopia Volume 1 - "Tizita" - Gabriel Teodros featuring B Sheba (Burntface Media, 2008)
- DJ Ian Head - Pieces - "Sippin Coffee" featuring Abyssinian Creole (independent, 2008)
- Khingz - From Slaveships To Spaceships - "Boi Caimen At Adwa" featuring Gabriel Teodros (Fresh Chopped Beats/MADK, 2009)
- Big World Breaks - 4 Those Lost... - "Emerald City Step" featuring Yirim Seck, Khingz, B-Flat, Gabriel Teodros, okanomodé (independent, 2009)
- The LivinYard - Summer's Here / Society Of Summer - Khingz, Nam & Gabriel Teodros (independent, 2009)
- Suntonio Bandanaz - Who Is Suntonio Bandanaz!?! - "Meditate" featuring Gabriel Teodros & Khingz (Fresh Chopped Beats/MADK, 2009)
- Canary Sing - Boss Ladies: A Mixtape - "Raindrops" featuring Gabriel Teodros, Slay, Chev, One. Two (independent, 2010)
- Sabreena Da Witch - A Woman Under The Influence - "Beit / Home" featuring Gabriel Teodros (independent, 2010)
- Random Abiladeze - Indubitably! - "On My Feet" featuring Gabriel Teodros & Uptown Swuite (independent, 2011)
- Bocafloja - Patologías del Invisible Incómodo - "Agonia" featuring Gabriel Teodros & Hollis Wong-Wear (Quilomboarte, 2012)
- KA.LIL (Khingz) - Between Saturday Night & Sunday Morning - "Year 3000" featuring Gabriel Teodros (Wandering Worx, 2013)
- SoulChef - Food For Thought - "Black Love" featuring Gabriel Teodros & Sarah MK (independent, 2013)
- Hightek Lowlives - Humanoid Void - "Humanoid Void" & "Believe In Me" featuring Gabriel Teodros (Cabin Games, 2014)
- BluRum13 & Conn-Shawnery - BluConnspiracy - "Mr. Brainwash" & "Unify the Body" featuring Gabriel Teodros (independent, 2016)
- EarDr.Umz the MetroGnome - Boombox Detox - "Most Wars Are Still Fought With Stories" featuring Gabriel Teodros (independent, 2017)
- 2007: "No Label (Esma Remix)"
- 2007: "Don't Cry For Us" featuring Khingz & Toni Hill
- 2008: "Third World Wide"
- 2008: "Tizita"
- 2011: "Computer Parlor"
- 2012: "Blossoms Of Fire"
- 2012: CopperWire "Phone Home"
- 2012: Bocafloja "Agonia" featuring Gabriel Teodros & Hollis Wong-Wear
- 2012: "Mind Power"
- 2014: "Black Love" featuring Sarah MK
- 2014: "Light Attracts Light & Everything Else Too"
- 2015: "Greeny Jungle" featuring Shakiah
- 2016: "Domestic Imperialism"
- "Gabriel Teodros: Living his dream" by Jason Rothman. Disheveled Magazine. April 2007.
- Biography by Cyril Cordor. Allmusic.
- Interview: Gabriel Teodros. The Find Magazine. July 13, 2010.
- "Profile: Gabriel Teodros" by Alison Isaac. Sheeko Magazine. July 2008.
- Gabriel Teodros (of Abyssinian Creole) - interview by Todd E. Jones. Insomniac Magazine. December 19, 2006.
- "Let 'Lovework' Rule" by Charles Mudede. The Stranger. February 27, 2007.
- "My Philosophy" by Larry Mizell Jr. The Stranger. December 1, 2005.
- "Up & Coming" by Charles Mudede. The Stranger. January 10, 2008.
- "Things are hopping for hip-hoppers Blue Scholars" by Tom Scanlon Archived 2013-02-01 at Archive.is. The Seattle Times. January 19, 2007.
- "I Don't Label, I Just Call It Like I Hear It" by Angelica LeMinh. Shotgun Reviews. 2007.
- "My Philosophy" by Larry Mizell Jr. The Stranger. February 14, 2007
- College Music Journal. New Music Report. 2007.
- "Next 100" Gabriel Teodros - Reviewed by Kevin Polowy. URB Magazine. 2007.
- "Gabriel Teodros Talks about Life, Music, and the Future" Interview by AddisTunes. AddisTunes. November 20, 2009.
- Air 2 A Bird "Crow Hill" Album Review by Alex. KEXP 90.3 FM. August 12, 2010.
- "Gabriel Teodros & Amos Miller’s Air 2 A Bird" by Chul Gugich. SSG Music. August 17, 2010.
- "Ethiopium" by Toast. Last Night's Mixtape. December 17, 2009.
- "Gabriel Teodros – GTs Ethiopium: A Jitter Generation Mixtape (2009)" Dopehug. December 18, 2009.
- "Review: Gabriel Teodros - Colored People's Time Machine" by Jonathan Cunningham. Okayplayer. January 2012.
- "New Release: Colored People's Time Machine by Gabriel Teodros" by Anne Mazimhaka. This Is Africa. January 18, 2012.
- "NEW MUSIC: Earthbound – Copperwire". 206up.com. April 16, 2012.
- "Space Music: CopperWire, Eastern Bloc Funk and Mœbius" by Robert Lamb. Discovery News. April 25, 2012.
- "With Earthbound, CopperWire Creates a Soulful Sci-Fi Space Opera" by Scott Thill. Wired. April 25, 2012.
- "Star search" by Mirissa Neff. San Francisco Bay Guardian. May 2, 2012.
- "Premiere: Gabriel Teodros x AirMe '24 Hour Layover'" by Alyssa Klein. Okayafrica. March 18, 2014.
- "Gabriel Teodros: Children of the Dragon". Africa Speaks 4 Africa. July 6, 2014.
- "Stream Gabriel Teodros' James Baldwin-Inspired 'Evidence Of Things Not Seen' LP" by Z Weg. Okayafrica. October 30, 2014.
- "The Power Of Place" by Jonathan Cunningham. City Arts Magazine. December 2014.
- KEXP DJs. KEXP.org
- Zulu Radio by Rachel Shimp. Seattle Weekly. November 14, 2007.
- Waterfront Stage. Under the Volcano 2003.
- Artists - Malcolm Lowry Stage. Under the Volcano 2004.
- Performers. Under the Volcano 2009.
- History Archived January 26, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.. Bumbershoot.
- "Massline West Coast tour with Blue Scholars, Common Market, Gabriel Teodros" by imaginary dana. Three Imaginary Girls. April 23, 2007.
- "A study in educated hip-hop" by Tom Scanlon. The Seattle Times. May 11, 2007.
- 2007 Sasquatch Posters. Sasquatch! Festival | Gallery.
- 2007 Trinity International Hip Hop Festival.
- 2008 Trinity International Hip Hop Festival.
- "Road Warriors" by Zachary Stahl. Montery County Weekly. July 30, 2009.
- "CopperWire: How Jam Sessions in Ethiopia Became a Hip-Hop Space Opera" by Ian S. Port. SF Weekly. May 4, 2012.
- "Song of the Day: Gabriel Teodros - Mind Power" by Leigh Bezezekoff. KEXP 90.3 FM. February 24, 2012.
- "Gabriel Teodros & AirMe - Children Of The Dragon". GabrielTeodros.com, May 19, 2014.
- "Seattle Weekly's Recommended Events" by Kate Silver and Rachel Shimp. Seattle Weekly. January 31, 2007.
- "My Philosophy" by Larry Mizell Jr. The Stranger. November 1, 2011.
- Lovework Album Assets. Terrorbird. July 23, 2007.
- "TEDx Video: Gabriel Teodros Does Hip Hop & Science Fiction" by Tigist Selam. Tadias Magazine. December 12, 2012.
- "Video: Gabriel Teodros – Hip Hop & Science Fiction (TEDxRainier)" by Danny. The Find Magazine. December 14, 2012.
- "A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction" by Nisi Shawl Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. February 2016.
- Introducing the Clarion West Class of 2016. Clarion West. March 31, 2016.
- Review by Robert Christgau. Rolling Stone. March 22, 2007.
- "RapReview Of The Week" by Steve 'Flash' Juon. RapReviews. January 17, 2012.
- "Gabriel Teodros ‘Children Of The Dragon’ Exclusives". Okayafrica. March 27, 2014.
- "Gabriel Teodros Unearths Things Not Seen Via His Ethiopian Hip Hop". MTV Iggy. November 20, 2014.
- "Air 2 A Bird Gets Chirpy via Gabriel Teodros and Amos Miller's Crow Hill" by Nick Feldman. Seattle Weekly. July 28, 2010.
- "Copperwire's 'Earthbound' album review" by Aidin Vaziri. San Francisco Chronicle. April 15, 2012.
- "My Philosophy" by Larry Mizell, Jr. The Stranger. February 3, 2005
- "Gabriel Teodros x DJ Ian Head - Computer Parlor" by Larry Mizell, Jr. The Stranger. April 19, 2011.
- "My Philosophy" by Larry Mizell Jr. The Stranger. December 28, 2006.
- "Tonight: Gabriel Teodros at Chop Suey" by Kevin Capp. Seattle Weekly. March 15, 2010.
- Moka Only - Flood. Discogs.
- Macklemore - The Language Of My World. Discogs
- "Seattle's hip-hop scene comes into its own" by Andrew Matson. The Seattle Times. April 27, 2007.
- "Pho Shizzle" by Jonathan Cunningham. Seattle Weekly. May 19, 2009.
- "The Kafa Beanz" by Will Georgi. Okayplayer. January 4, 2010.
- "Khingz: Time to Share the Wealth" by Jonathan Cunningham. Seattle Weekly. June 16, 2009.
- "CD Review: Big World Breaks' 4 Those Lost" by Jonathan Cunningham. Seattle Weekly. July 21, 2009.
- "Seattle's New Summertime Hip-Hop Group" by Jonathan Cunningham Archived 2014-05-20 at the Wayback Machine.. Seattle Weekly. August 11, 2009.
- "Suntonio Bandanaz - Boogie Up The Block" by Larry Mizell, Jr. The Stranger. September 22, 2010
- "Canary Sing's Lioness Talks About Neumos Ladies Night" by Jonathan Cunningham. PubliCola | Seattle Met. February 9, 2010.
- A Woman Under The Influence. Harvard Hiphop Archive.
- "That's so Random" by Nick Miller. Sacramento News & Review. August 18, 2011.
- "Bocafloja – Agonia". Ritmo Urbano. August 2012.
- "Gabriel Teodros ft. Sarah MK ‘Black Love’". Okayafrica. November 6, 2013.
- "Seattle Music 2014: Soul Artists". Seattle Magazine. September 2014.
- "2009 Stranger Film Genius Zia Mohajerjasbi" by Charles Mudede. The Stranger. November 12, 2009.
- "My Philosophy" by Larry Mizell, Jr. The Stranger. July 12, 2007.
- "Gabriel Teodros - Lovework" by dantana. Okayplayer. January 18, 2007.
- "My Philosophy" by Larry Mizell, Jr. The Stranger. August 7, 2008.
- "Video: Gabriel Teodros - Blossoms of Fire" by Shamz. Okayplayer. January 11, 2012.
- "PREMIERE: CopperWire’s New Music Video - Phone Home" by Garrett Houghton. MTV Iggy. April 17, 2012.
- "Gabriel Teodros - Mind Power" by Ado. African Hip Hop. March 3, 2013.
- "Watch Gabriel Teodros & SoulChef’s ‘Black Love’ Ft. Sarah MK [Premiere]". Okayafrica. October 1, 2014.
- "Stream Gabriel Teodros' James Baldwin-Inspired 'Evidence Of Things Not Seen' LP". Okayafrica. October 30, 2014.
- "Gabriel Teodros & SoulChef Premiere Their Protest Video For 'Greeny Jungle". Okayafrica. February 20, 2015.
- "Gabriel Teodros & SoulChef / Domestic Imperialism". Sociedad Cimarrona. September 3, 2016.
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