The Pirate Signal

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The Pirate Signal
Thepiratesignal newiki.jpg
Background information
Origin Denver, Colorado, United States
Genres Hip hop, rap, alternative rock
Years active 2000–present
Labels Unsigned
Members Yonnas Abraham
Chez Strong
Sam "DJ 5am" Trumper
Hogans Daniel

The Pirate Signal is a four-piece hip hop band from Denver, Colorado. The band is composed of MC/Producer Yonnas Abraham, Chez Strong on keyboards and guitar, Sam "Dj 5am" Trumper, and Hogans Daniel on drums. The band is known for their highly energetic live performances and their sound has been characterized by a mixture of rap, hip hop and alternative rock. The band was voted Westword Magazine's Best Hip Hop Group in their 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award showcases.[1][2]


In 2000, the band was an originally started as an underground mix tape exchange by Ben Serruto, but became a full-blown band when Yonnas Abraham entered the group and asserted that they make the greatest album of all time. That album, Norma(l) Hugh Manchild's American Revolution(s) (2004) (referred to as The Norma(l) Album), may not have accomplished that goal, but it was not for lack of ambition. Sprawling, challenging and fiercely explosive, the album served as more of one long melodrama than a collection of songs, many of the messages and lyrics lost in the outright aggression and complex arrangements. "What we learned from that album is what not to do."[3]

In 2006, the founding member, Ben quit the group to pursue a solo music career just as DJ A-What was beginning his tenure as man on the decks for the band. Quickly regrouping The Pirate Signal released an EP "The Name of This Band is The Pirate Signal", featuring hit singles on the college radio circuit, "Go!", "I Can't Wait," "An Emergence of Black Heroes", "You Will Get Dirty", "It Might Just Go Down," and "All I Know is.....It Was an Accident". Six, songs getting regular rotation on college radio throughout the country, out of eight. The project was so strong that locally, it garnered them Best Hip Hip in Colorado 2007, 2008 and 2009 from the Westword, the local Village Voice Media Publication, beating out 30h!3 and Flobots for the honor the first year. Nationally it earned them a slot on the 2008 Vans Warped Tour headlining the Skull Candy Tent, as well as an opening slot on 3oh!3's subsequent Myspace 2008 Fall Tour, an opening slot on the west coast leg of Kool Keith's 2006 Return of Dr. Octagon Tour, and two summer tours of their own, one on the west coast, and one national, all in the summer of 2007.[4]

Then in 2008, they released a mixtape, "Of Gods And Gangsters Vol. 1", that earned them mix tape of the year honors in the Westword, as well as garnered the attention of a few major blogs nationally. Eventually labels began calling, as TVT, Atlantic, Warner Bros. Records, and Sony expressed interest, as well as major indies like Def Jux, Rhymesayers, Strange Famous, Black Clover and even Epitaph itself inquiring about the band. As interest mounted and buzz grew, the crew, including then member Joey Kloss, hunkered down to accomplish their original task, to make the greatest album of all time, in the form of a project entitled OneAlone. "OneAlone as an album actually began before the EP and the mixtape and they were released to garner interest for the full-length", explains Yonnas. Inexplicably however, Joey quit the group and hoarded all the recordings and to this day has refused to give them back effectively destroying the project. Needless to say, legal proceedings are slated to begin at the turn of the decade.[5][6]

Without an album, the group quickly reconfigured and began work on their project, No Weak Heart Shall Prosper. "OneAlone began to become an albatross the way the first album did, and so much of it was not right for us to perform live that even though it's not what we wanted, the album being abandoned like that was probably best. As we toured more and more, the things that people loved about our live show and our music was not, we realized, on that album. We needed something immediate, powerful and full of energy, and that's what No Weak Heart Shall Prosper is, we're both much happier with this album and how it's coming together. As an album and as a band, this project contains so much more of what we've learned about ourselves in these past three years, that I wouldn't have it any other way, our time is fast approaching, and when it comes, this is what it sounds like. From this we can make the live show that much more incredible, and continue to streamline our sound and accomplish our goal of being the best band in the world."[7][8]

In July 2010, DJ A-What parted ways with The Pirate Signal and then DJ Soup joined the band, shortly followed by Chez Strong.[9] The album "No Weak Heart Shall Prosper" was released on August 24, 2010. Following the album release the band went on a west coast tour of the US. In February 2011 DJ Soup was replaced with DJ 5am and Hogans Daniel joined the band.[10] In the spring of 2011 the band released two music videos, one for the song "Saga of Dirty Street kids", produced by Randal Kirk II of Streetlight Films; and the second for the song "Love in the Time of Swine Flu", produced by Dennis Flippin of Flippin Entertainment and Chez Strong.

The band continues to tour nationally.


The Pirate Signal has been featured in several promos for the acclaimed television network HDNET, using the song “I Can’t Wait” 2007, and (You Will) Get Dirty in 2008 and 2009. The Pirate Signal song "Go!" was featured in FSN sports program Jookt, in October 2009.

Tour history and awards[edit]

  • 2009 Monolith Festival
  • 2008 Sundance Festival, Ed Hardy AfterParty
  • Opening Slot for 3Oh!3, MySpace Tour, 2008
  • 2008 Warped Tour
  • 2007 700 World Series Tour With X-Kid, Alpha P, DJ Inform
  • 2006 Summer with Kool Keith, R.A The Ruggid Man, Tash from The Alkaholiks
  • Winner of the 13th annual Westword Music Showcase for Best Local Hip Hop Group-2007
  • Winner of the 14th annual Westword Music Showcase for Best Local Hip Hop Group-2008
  • Winner of the 15th annual Westword Music Showcase for Best Local Hip Hop Group-2009
  • Winner of the 16th annual Westword Music Showcase for Best Local Hip Hop Group-2010
  • Winner of the 17th annual Westword Music Showcase for Best Local Hip Hop Group-2011


  • No Weak Heart Shall Prosper - 08-24-2010
  • Of Gods And Gangsters Vol 1 - 11-26-2008
  • The Name of This Band is The Pirate Signal - 06-01-2006
  • The Norma(l) LP - 10-16-2004


  1. ^ Herrera, Dave (2010-07-01). "2010 Westword Music Showcase Awards wrap up - Denver - Music - Backbeat". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  2. ^ Herrera, Dave (2009-07-14). "Westword Music Showcase Awards Wrap Up - Denver - Music - Backbeat". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  3. ^ "Colorado Music Buzz Magazine". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  4. ^ Dave Herrera (2009-06-11). "Meet the Pirate Signal, one of Denver's most compelling hip-hop acts - Page 1 - Music - Denver". Westword. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  5. ^ "The Mile High Makeout: The Pirate Signal warns that "No Weak Heart Shall Prosper" | Reverb — Reverb Music — The Denver Post". 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  6. ^ "NEXT 2 BLOW: The Pirate Signal - Hip-Hop From The Centennial State". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived June 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ [2] Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Herrera, Dave (2010-07-28). "The Pirate Signal and DJ Awhat part ways - Denver - Music - Backbeat". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  10. ^ Salazar, Quibian (2011-06-16). "Changing signals". Retrieved 2012-11-01.