BLKHRTS, an emerging trio of black-hearted, dark-themed rhyme mastery, includes three of Denver's best artists: Yonnas Abraham, King FOE and Karma Tha Voice. It promises to land where few Colorado hip-hop acts do - on a national level supporting a regular flood of new work with the support of Dave Sitek, co-founder of "TV on the Radio" and owner of the Federal Prism label.
The trio did its due diligence by sending out press kits en masse shortly after its inception in 2010. The EPK boasts a solid sampling by the trio and includes the music video for the single "OVR" off the "BLK S BTFL" album. It was the strength of the media that caught Jeff Bowers's attention, leading the head of ORG Records to sign the three rappers.
"I didn't even really consider the idea of having another producer because I've been making all the beats," said Abraham. "We can't really continue to use samples the way we've been using samples, so we're gonna need to be recreating stuff and we do need a producer for putting out records on labels. (Bowers) offered Dave Sitek, and told us not only is he in, he's fucking in!"
In the following months, the collective discussed the act's direction. BLKHRTS charts unfamiliar territory with its dark vibe and underlying rock excursions, finding the right fit proved daunting. Eventually, Bowers decided a release on Sitek's Federal Prism label would be a vital part in growing the group's growing talent. Artists on the label include Kelis, CSS, TV on the Radio and Scarlett Johansson.
"That one really blows me away," Abraham said. "She's a legend. She's fucking Scarlett Johansson!"
ORG will remain mostly a reissue label as the duo grows Sitek's Federal Prism designation. Including BLKHRTS to grow the brand and as a testament to its love of blending hip-hop and indie rock proved a natural progression for the imprint.
"I never really knew where we would fit in, but it seems like we fit in here," says Abraham.
The "Death, Romance and the Color BLK" mix tape was released at the end of July with a supporting party at The Marquis Theater. A growing trend, it promises to be a promotional tool geared toward the release of the future EP, "Blood is Thicker Than Water," due out this fall. All of this builds the foundation for a full album release rumored for the beginning months of the next year. As for solo careers, the artists plan to remain active.
“The way it’s structured, even if we do solo projects, it will be toward BLKHRTS,” Abraham said. “BLKHRTS is a rap group in the sense that it’s three rappers, but there’s a bunch of stuff we all do. It’s a brand in and of itself.”
Though the collective works of King FOE, Yonnas Abraham and Karma Tha Voice span decades, the true fruits of their labor are only beginning to breed palpable results in the short year since the label’s discovery. They’re constructing a legacy, an inspiration for future visionaries.