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Hip-hop/electro rapper plays at Blue Moose

BY CARLY HURWITZ | OCTOBER 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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Rapper Na Palm used to sell health insurance, earning money only from commission on sales. When he wasn't on the job, he was writing raps in a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago that he shared with his brother.

"I was good at it, but it wasn't for me," Na Palm said about his insurance career. "My lifestyle didn't match up."

Members of the fraternity Sigma Pi worked with staff at the Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave., to bring the up-and-coming hip-hop/electro rapper Na Palm to Iowa City for a night of laser lights and big beats.

"It's an electronic hybrid, hip-hop fusion of music," said Jeff Roehl, an independent contractor with Tricostal Records. "His style lends itself really well to live shows; it's really danceable stuff."

Na Palm will perform today at 9 p.m. at the Blue Moose; admission is $5.

Brad Jackson, the Sigma Pi social and recruitment chairman, immediately took to the idea of a "frat-rap" theme when he began planning the concert.

"We wanted this new hip-hop genre," Jackson said. "We knew Na Palm [would be perfect] because he does electronic hip-hop."

Na Palm primarily uses online media like Facebook and YouTube to share his music and communicate with fans. This tactic is a common thread among new artists dealing with the music industry's competition.

Na Palm said he also believes in distributing his work the old-fashioned way. He said his street teams are out on the grind, marketing his mix tapes in college towns and other cities where he has upcoming shows.

Mix tapes, free albums that primarily consist of other artists' instrumental beats that a musician raps or sings over, are a common way for new artists to gain recognition from the public, Roehl said.

"It is easier to get people to listen to it when they can recognize the beat," he said. "Right away, the people recognize it, which eliminates that step and allows them to focus on and evaluate you."

Roehl, one of the street-team members, handed out Na Palm CDs for free in Iowa City on Oct. 4. The CDs were copies of Na Palm's new mix tape, Late at Night.

"Late at Night is a full album," Rohel said. "[It is] all original productions."

Na Palm's street team's effort has a significant influence on building hype about the musician.

"We get CDs in people's hands, put up posters," Roehl said. "[If we] do the legwork enough and at the right spots and right times, the snowball effect will take place if you have a talented artist."

The hard work of Na Palm and his entourage helps move him closer to fame.

"We've got everything in line; now, we've got to play with the big boys," Na Palm said.

The rapper prides himself on putting on a one-man show.

Coming from Chicago, he was very influenced by the electric-music scene. But he also says the creativity and risk-taking ability of artists like Eminem and Kanye West are major inspirations for him.

"I love people who create timeless music, people who stay around," Na Palm said.


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