The Guild | ReCollection

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by The Guild

Real Underground Hip Hop, Conscious and Hard-Hitting with influences from Classical to Jazz.
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap: Hip Hop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Intro
1:42 $0.99
2. Octagon
3:54 $0.99
3. Defy
3:44 $0.99
4. Insomnia
4:04 $0.99
5. Masks
4:02 $0.99
6. Clever's Theme
0:49 $0.99
7. Antithesis
3:48 $0.99
8. WhyYouWanna..
4:56 $0.99
9. Resistance
3:59 $0.99
10. Amen's Theme
1:07 $0.99
11. Bitter Brown
3:38 $0.99
12. Devils in the Barracks
4:18 $0.99
13. Breathe Easy
5:18 $0.99
14. Unprecidented 2
4:23 $0.99
15. Verti's Theme
0:59 $0.99
16. True Masters
2:58 $0.99
17. The Curse
2:37 $0.99
18. Guppies
4:05 $0.99
19. Leaps and Bounds
4:09 $0.99
20. The Guild's Theme
1:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
the Guild is a Kansas City based underground Hip Hop group. ReCollection, their full-length debut, is a journey through the minds of the artists: Amen, Vertigone and Clever Rev. Topics range from alcoholism to self mastery and still defy most peoples preconception of conscious Hip Hop. Their beats, crafted by 7 of Kansas City's veteran producers vary from the swelling strings of classical composition to the Boom Bap of the underground. This album is sure to keep your head moving and your mind working.

"Fierce emcees...Reminds you what hip-hop is all about."

Freed Style
The Guild's erudite hip-hop knows no boundaries.
By Geoff Harkness
Published: March 27, 2003

He's as quick to cite nineteenth-century abolitionist authors as he is to quote obscure KRS-One lyrics. His own rhymes call for movement and uplift -- when they're not discussing the inner turmoil of an alcoholic. He earns a living by tossing rowdy drunks onto Westport sidewalks, yet the imposing tattoo that wraps around his forearm reads "To live in accord.""It's just about trying to live up to your core self," explains Guild rapper Amen, who borrowed the phrase from novelist Herman Hesse's existentialist classic Demian. "I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self," Hesse's protagonist mused. "Why was that so very difficult?" It's a question Amen's been asking for some time. It also helps to explain the inherently dichotomous nature of the MC, a bouncer at the Hurricane whose bookshelves overflow with hefty art tomes and weighty volumes of critical theory.

* So you're philosophers? The Guild's members think very deeply.
So you're philosophers? The Guild's members think very deeply.

The Pool Room
Subject(s): The Guild

In one corner of his midtown apartment, a small sculpture collects dust. A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, Amen still sculpts as often as possible, and his works -- including the oversized panels in front of the H&R Block Art Space and a maple bench on permanent display at the Art Institute -- can be found around the metro area.

"Sculpture to me is pure art," the Los Angeles native says. "Good music considers the audience. Sculpture does, too, but because [music] is entertainment as well as art, there really is a greater consideration for the audience. It's not just this introspective dialogue."

Introspective dialogue, however, is part of the Guild's claim to fame. The trio, which includes verbal sparring partner Vertigone and DJ Clever Reverend, has just completed its first full-length CD, ReCollection, having already issued a pair of well-received underground EPs. In fact, FedEx just delivered half a dozen cardboard crates containing 1,000 shrink-wrapped copies of the newly minted disc. Amen is a fit of nerves, excited one minute and anxious the next. Sleep doesn't come easily these days, he says, mostly because of apprehension about how the new album will be received. After all, the Guild creates music that flies far below the mainstream radar, thick with tongue-twisting raps that sound as if they were inspired by graduate-level sociology courses.

"It goes from interpersonal and government conspiracy to rah-rah shit," Amen explains. "Whatever we're doing, keep it honest, tell the truth, expose as much as possible. Part of what discourages me about popular music is that there's this fad right now where awareness is not cool. Have fun, party, have sex, drink. All that's good and fun -- to let go and enjoy yourself is important. But that whole genre of stupid, make-your-money type of music, it discourages thinking. That's what we're trying to do differently, but [hardcore] rap is so popular, it's very difficult to break through. We force ourselves to think about things, and that's going to be our benefit and our challenge."

Challenge is a big part of the Guild's story. The trio met as students at the Art Institute and formed a prototypical version of the group in late 1998. Initially the collective struggled to find an identity, partially because it was just out to have a little fun.

"Me and Rev and Vert started freestyling together -- the worst collection of freestyles you've ever heard," Amen recalls with a laugh. "All of us had talent, but we didn't know each other, so it wasn't comfortable yet. We had hours and hours of these horrible tapes, so we decided to start recording."

Almost as soon as Guild set foot in the studio, the group began taking its craft more seriously, poring over its lyrics line by line and injecting heavy doses of highbrow philosophy into the mix. In due time, the complex poetics for which the group is now known replaced boisterous freestyles.

"Freestyles are great and fun and enjoyable," Amen explains. "But when it comes down to it, the time you have to speak on that is too precious to fuck with. Juan Ramon Jimenez wrote a book called The Complete Perfectionist, and his whole thing is revision. If you look at a verse, it's not like this clean [piece of paper]; it's scribbled, rewritten, distilled. Get to the fuckin' point. Cut the fat off."

As Amen and Vertigone toiled to put their thoughts on paper, other members came and went. (DJ Jester, Kid Called Computer and Ces Cru MC Godemis were all Guilders at one point.) But the original trio stuck together, playing the Fuse Box with punk bands and banging Club Mardi Gras alongside KC's hard-rap contingent. With its erudite lyrics, space-coaster backing tracks and gloss-free aura, the Guild was ridiculed as everything from backpackers to gangstas to purveyors of "art fag shit."

"When we came into the scene, we had to battle everybody," Amen admits. "There was a lot of angst. We were too street for Lawrence and too artsy for KC ... I fought the whole fuckin' Bottleneck one night -- literally. I was at a Del show, and these frat dudes were giving me beef. I was just trying to watch the show. They kept on standing in front of me. I was like, 'Dude, can I see the show?' He turned around, and he was like, 'What?' and swole up to me. Then it went down. I got him, and the whole crowd was, like, whoosh. It was madness, man."

But that was then, and this is now. The Guild has matured personally, professionally and musically, and created a place for itself in the local underground's elite -- building a small but devoted fanbase and getting love from peers. It's an evolution that has occurred hand in hand with a number of area favorites, all of whom have released new works in the past year.

"Everybody's gotten really serious about their product, professionally mastered CDs," Amen notes. "This is the first time in our history that we've had this kind of product, besides Tech N9ne and the Rogue Dogs. This is a very different time. Everyone's coming together."

"Among the core groups in this larger circle, there's a league," agrees Sike Style, a longtime friend and collaborator. "That goes across the board from everyone who's down -- Hip Hop Addicts, Mac Lethal, Approach, SoundsGood, Archetype, Ces Cru, the [Human] Cropcircles. A lot of those bigger groups have mutual respect for each other. It's been really positive."

Not all positive, though. Though the Guild has fought its way into the local limelight, the outfit still ruffles feathers from time to time as it fluctuates between Lawrence and KC's polarized hip-hop scenes.

"I think there's more support in Lawrence," Amen says. "If you're in college, you're learning, so you're already in a mind state of being open to new information. Most working people and most inner-city people aren't open-minded. Kansas City's, like, show me. I never realized what that fuckin' license plate meant. After a few years of being here, I was like, oh, I get it. You have to get recognized outside your city to be recognized inside your city."

Fortunately, the Guild has been doing just that, gigging with brother band Ces Cru at a recent High and Mighty show in Milwaukee and sharing bills with national acts such as People Under the Stairs. The group also found time to hit the studio, putting in a marathon seven-day session to spawn ReCollection. Looking to achieve a diversified sound, the Guild recruited a number of local hothands to produce, including Eggnogg, Surgeon General and Kid Called Computer. Other guests included TJ Dovebelly's Aaron Osborne and Ces Cru's Godemis. But group harmony was hardly par for the course during ReCollection's demanding creation.

"We didn't sleep for a week," Amen says. "We recorded everything over at Vert's house. We did the whole album in a week. We started throwing headphones and yelling at each other. It got pretty ugly towards the end."

That ugliness wasn't manifested in ReCollection's determinably positive vibes. The record bursts with experimental beats and complex poetics delivered with mile-a-minute verve. It's a challenging effort, one that will thrill purists but won't win over many Snoop Dogg fans. That's not the goal anyway, says Amen, who prefers to travel hip-hop's underground railroad of dingy DJ dives and shadowy nightclubs.

"Hustlers, drug dealers, lawyers and hardcore, cutthroat businessmen created an industry that totally fucks the artist," he says. "When you're looking at EMI, Capitol, Warner Bros., that shit is straight gangster. We're trying to revolutionize the industry. At this point I'm thinking of the Dave Matthews approach: Tour, do shows for five people or 500 and promote the hell out of yourself. For a group like ours, I don't see any other way. Every poet's a beggar."

--The Pitch Weekly, Kansas City

(Christian Batteau, Ed Case and Clarence Draper give a special thanks to The Pitch for it's support over the years)



to write a review

the brain

i miss rap like this. they're unbelievable! this is what rap needs to be rescue
i gone thru alot of indie rap looking for skills, lyrics, and content, which is very hard to come by these days in the rap/hiphop genre; well it's all here in this group. they are unbelieveable. they have a sound, and style that rap needs to be rescued from infiltrataors.

David Batteau

My favorite CD of 2003.
The most intelligent release of 2003.
The most original release of 2003.
The most artistic release of 2003.
My favorite release of 2003.


just incredible
production, lyrics, flows, ideas, intelligence- it's all here on this incredible cd. traditional enough to catch the ear of the average fan, experimental enough to please even the most underground of listeners. this is a must for hip-hop fans (and for $13 dollars, you'd be crazy not to buy this cd). PURCHASE, IMMEDIATELY.

betty blackwood

totally awesome. the lyrics are meaningful, the melodies addictive and the beat captivating. a must, even for those who are not hip hop fans. the guild goes beyond the barrier of any one music style. try it. you'll love it!

Stik Figga

Verti owes me a Beat
but its all good, this is Stik Figga man from Topeka, been checkin these KC kids and others for along time, and the scene is proving it self to be something to be reckoned with! peace to The Guild, Ces Cru, Sounds Good, Approach Archetype and Mac Lethal, hell you can pick up most of it at this very website, so stop wasting time and get that shit!!


Stik Figga

Tamara Turner, CD Baby

A rich culmination of urban creativity and wisdom.
If cliche-bustin', alternative hip hop is what you're craving, then this is the next group you're going to want to keep tabs on. These boys don't shy away from anything, including Classical influences, Jazz and Electronics. With topics ranging from alcoholism to self mastery, the Guild still defies most people's preconception of conscious Hip Hop. It's no wonder that they craft a well-versed sound with beats varying from the swelling strings of classical composition to the Boom Bap of the underground, having tapped into seven of Kansas City's most eclectic and veteran producers. A rich culmination of urban creativity and wisdom.


my neck hurts...
My neck hurts, I was bouncing by bigass head too much to this. Yeah...never heard anything like it. NICE!!!


Music can be more than just entertainment.
Guild has proven this time and time again.

Amen, told me once being "conscious" is merely having SOMETHING to say. Indeed.

Stay Gold family. I appreciate your material more than you understand. You've been inspirational. I'm proud to say that I share a scene with you guys.

Peace and oneness,


CD Baby

If cliche-bustin', alternative hip hop is what you're craving, then this is the next group you're going to want to keep tabs on. These boys don't shy away from anything, including Classical influences, Jazz and Electronics. With topics ranging from alcoholism to self mastery, the Guild still defies most people's preconception of conscious Hip Hop. It's no wonder that they craft a well-versed sound with beats varying from the swelling strings of classical composition to the Boom Bap of the underground, having tapped into seven of Kansas City's most eclectic and veteran producers. A rich culmination of urban creativity and wisdom.


The record is crazy! I see it came out in 2003 and I honestly have no idea where I was when this dropped, but I've been missing out. However, better late than never so DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE! COP THIS NOW!

Dope beats, dope lyrics, dope MC's, dope artwork, and packaging was very impressive. Good work fellas.

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