Emerging with a sexy brand of hip-hop, intent on dispelling any lingering stereotypes about what Latino music is supposed to be, the members of 20:12 (The Juice, Role Pl-A and DJ R 2) first earned their stripes in the twelve-person act Devoted Union. The three eventually parted ways with the group when they realized they were heading in different directions.
With a polished stage show, enslaving hooks and vocal skills to match, 20:12 is expanding its reach with the help of Latenite Entertainment. The outfit's latest effort, a mixtape with DJ Psycho called The Party of Revolución, is due out this week at a dual release show for the Eric Heights-directed video Por Aquí Por Allà, featuring Spoke In Wordz. We caught up with Role Pl-A and asked about the group and the new mixtape.
Westword: Tell us a little about 20:12.
20:12 Mixtape release party and video premiere, with Hypnautic, King Tee, Spoke In Wordz and more, 8 p.m. Friday, July 30, Casselman's Bar and Venue, 2620 Walnut Street, $5-$10, 303-717-8852.
Role Pl-A: 20:12 is a movement. It's a symbol to change life into something you want it to be, something that everyone can benefit from. We don't necessarily believe the Mayan calendar to mean it's the end of the world, just a powerful change and the end of a lifestyle. 20:12 also represents our heritage; "The Mexicans" was already taken. [Laughs]
How would you define the kind of music 20:12 makes?
I would define the music we make as very focused and fresh. I feel we have an original style of being lyrical in both English and Spanish. Every song we make, we make with a purpose. We compose them to make the listener act or feel a certain way. We have the song that'll make you want to overthrow the government, some to make you move to the beat, and others to make you forget your problems.
So what's up with your new mixtape and the release party on the 30th?
The mixtape release is going to be huge for 20:12: We debut our first music video ever, which I think fans will really enjoy, and of course for the launch of The Party of Revolución mixtape mixed by DJ Psycho. We've worked hard to bring together what we consider the complete Colorado music-scene experience. We have some very talented artists throwing down, and we're excited to perform with such honors.
How do you feel you fit into the Colorado music community?
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I feel like we're in uncharted territory. Originality is something that Colorado deserves; when we reach out to other states, we love to put it down in a way that the audience has never seen before. They flip when they hear we're out of the CO. Let's not forget, there's a big music scene within the Mexican community here, with bandas, mariachis, and a plethora of other genres in the Spanish-speaking market that we don't believe anyone's tapped into.
The Latino community accounts for nearly half of Colorado's entire population, and we definitely believe we're breaking down barriers to other ethnicities. Though we are growing more successful in Colorado, we gotta hand it back as well, because without all the support Colorado showed us, we wouldn't have become what we are today. We're just trying to give back all we can to the people who make us 20:12.
There have been haters along the road, mostly because of misunderstandings, but nonetheless we love the Colorado music scene. We write for the Latinos, but we believe we can coexist with one another. When we say La Raza, we don't just mean Latinos — we mean the people.