Denverites Adrian Garcia (A-Trax), Lennard Daniels (Lennyx Dublyn) and Jeremy Barnes (JT) make up the core of the hip-hop collective Planes! The three have all been rapping since they were young, in the last few years started working together.
"It just kind of came together," Garcia said. "Everybody compliments each other well."
The group has a total of about ten people, including producers, photographers, DJs and others who allow them to keep all of their operations in the family. They all use the moniker, though the artists on each of their songs and albums differ. The new song "Culture" features only Garcia and Barnes as part of their forthcoming 94 mixtape. We're debuting the video below -- it was filmed in three days by Darion Sanchez (D-Mainya), the filmmaker of the group, and edited in two days by Garcia.
"The video before this, 'New Batch,' we went all out," Garcia says.
"This one - it's not that we didn't try hard but we wanted to keep it simple so that it wouldn't be too much on the viewer," Barnes says.
The song is meant to be a revival of the original "rawness" of hip-hop culture. "We just like everything hip-hop; the fashion, the music, the art behind it, the graphics, the videos, everything," Barnes says.
Though the rappers see an opening market in Denver for hip-hop, it is still a struggle both to become relevant and to stay relevant. "You always have to be dropping music or you'll stop being relevant," Barnes says.
"If you wait two, three years in hip-hop, you're done, no one will remember you," Daniels says.
They both love and hate the technology available in hip-hop for making beats and recording, because it allows for a finished product almost as soon as it is created. When they have an idea, they can get it out quickly, but if they aren't constantly creating music, they risk losing their audience.
"It's a blessing and a curse," Daniels says. "And that's why [the industry] is flooded, 'cause everyone can do it."
In order to stand out, Planes! not only tries to make music frequently, but they solidify the music with CDs, a solid online presence and marketing. They have also created an LLC behind the Planes! brand and have branched into clothing.
"Every six months that we've been together as a group, we've taken a step up," Daniels says
"We're always moving forward and that's something that people notice, because we're not in the same place where we started," Barnes says.
Though there are still barriers to break through, hip-hop is such a rapidly evolving genre that they don't worry they will have significant new opportunities in the coming years.
"It's a hyper genre," Daniels says. "It's hyper fast, hyper sensitive, hyper violent."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!