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PRESS

EVERYONE IN THIS WHEELCHAIR SPORTS CAMP IS STONED AND MAKING BEATS – VICE

Kalyn Heffernan is 42 inches tall, has been diagnosed with a brittle bone disease, is confined to a wheelchair, smokes lots of weed, and won’t hesitate to publicly shame anyone who gets on her bad side with a brutal rap track. Kalyn is the emcee and driving force of Denver’s Wheelchair Sports Camp, a hip-hop group that mixes classic beats with jazz and avant-garde sound experiments. The group formed while Kalyn was in college, with just her rapping and a DJ supplying the beats, but has evolved into a shifting lineup that sometimes features drums, a saxophone, and even a sitar.

Her music deals with social inequalities relating to handicap people, as well as getting blazed as fuck and how much cops suck. On her song, “This Bitch…” Kalyn attacks problems with healthcare, and on “Party Song” she taunts, “rock, let the midget hit it/cops on my jock, make ‘em, cough/cus I’m sicker with it.” More recently, she’s started to make beats for rapping Haitians who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake, and called out Goodwill for paying handicap people less than minimum wage.

VICE: Hello, Kalyn. What is your writing process?
Kalyn: I’m a pretty slow writer. Sometimes I write faster, but more than not I have to sit down... well, I’m always sitting down, but I just have to go at it.

You used to sneak backstage at shows and meet people like Xzibit, Ludacris, Erykah Badu, and Busta Rhymes. How did you do it?
It was pretty easy. I would play the wheelchair card and say “oh, so and so” told me to come back here. I was a pretty good scam artist back then. I think, because of my disability and because of my advantages, that I’ve been able to milk the sysem. I could get backstage to almost any concert.

Were the artists friendly?
Actually, Xzibit is a really cool guy. Erykha Badu was cool. There are few people who have been dickeads. Now I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t sit through concerts instead of being more concerned with sneaking backstage.

Who were the dicks?
Busta Rhymes was a dickhead. He was just rude. Maybe he had a bad show, but that’s really been the only guy who was not a very nice person. Shit, I think even Kanye was cooler than Busta Rhymes.

So Kanye was cool?
I think I rapped for him and hoped to get signed. He was real nice and introduced me to his manger. He wasn’t a jerk by any means. Erykah Badu went out of her way to be nice—so did Cee Lo and Eminem.

How much do you want the audience to focus on the fact that you are disabled when you perform?
I think that’s up to every person. I didn’t get into hip-hop to be a disabled rapper; I got into hip-hop because it's my thing. The name "Wheelchair Sports Camp" was definitely sarcastic, but also kind of marketed on the fact that I’m totally comfortable in my wheelchair. Still, I don’t want to be like, “oh, first cripple rapper right here!” or, “best short rapper!” Hip-hop is a bigger focus for me.

Have you ever faced any adversity in the music scene because of your needs?
No, I’m pretty lucky. I have a lot of support in Denver. I have always been pretty well supported by good people. I’m not really a shy person, so I wouldn’t allow myself to be treated too differently.

How did you almost get arrested in Denton, Texas?
It was our first big, out of state trip. We played a great show and had a really great time. There were actual graffiti artists traveling with us and also some wannabes, like us. A lot of us are kind of interested in graffiti, but we aren’t good. A few of us went tagging after the show and the person we were staying with, his roommate called the cops on us.

Half of the crew was in the apartment with the person who called the cops and the other half was causing a little scene. We bounced and got pulled over and went to jail. I didn’t. I got a ticket. The cops acted like, “Don’t think you won’t get arrested because you’re in a wheelchair,” and then I didn’t get arrested because I was in a wheelchair.

Why did the guy rat you out?
I don’t know. He didn’t agree with what we were doing.

How did you get involved with producing music for homeless Haitians?
A good friend of mine is a professor and a local musician. After the earthquake happened, his band and mine played a benefit show. He went to Haiti soon after to help with sustainability. He realized that the infrastructure wasn’t even ready for that and that everyone in the tent city was rapping. He brought a guitar and would play it and everyone would rap over it. He went back with recording material, some of my beats, and some stock instrumentals, and he brought back hundreds of sessions that were recorded in this tent city. I started remixing them and would just use their vocals and build the beat around them. We’ve got like ten songs done, but there are so many more. They’ll freestyle for like ten minutes straight. The energy and the cadence and the flow is just so dope. It’s been one of the most inspiring projects. I’m trying to get to Haiti so I can meet some of these rappers I’ve been producing.

You recently got into a bit of a Twitter tiff with Goodwill.
I’ve always been critical of how so many disabled people get shitty fucking jobs when they are capable. Every disabled person I know is good at something. Why does every disabled person have to be the cart attendant? I’ve always been critical of employment practices and disability wage.

Goodwill pays less than minimum wage to people with disabilities. I sent them a message. I was surprised that they responded and the way that they responded was pretty blatant. There has been some momentum going on to put pressure on Goodwill. Some of these Goodwill people are making 22 cents an hour because they are super disabled and it is so ridiculous.

There are people next to them with a stopwatch gauging their effectiveness. It’s so fucked up. I don’t think that there is any good story to it. The way that they responded was basically, Hey, we only do that to a small number of our disabled employees. Oh, like that makes it any better. Those employees must be really crippled—like deaf and blind. It’s so fucking frustrating. The more that I’ve gotten into rap, the more I’m this disabled advocate. I have to be. I feel like I’m more connected to people in the disabled community because of hip-hop, not the other way around.

Is it true that someone once wrote a dis record aimed at you called “Fuck Handicap People”?
It was something like that. It was actually the guy who started the band with me. He has pretty bad substance abuse issues. We tried to make it work for as long as we could, but it blew up because of the substance abuse issues. It was a bad breakup, like every breakup.

Did you battle back?
Of course I battled back. I took him out.

Denver's Best Hip-Hop Group 2013 – Westword

Westword Showcase Award 2013
Best Hip-Hop Group - Wheelchair Sports Camp

Denver's Best Hip-Hop Group 2012 – Westword

Westword Showcase Award 2012
Best Hip-Hop Group - Wheelchair Sports Camp

Denver's Best Hip-Hop Group 2012 – Westword

Westword Showcase Award 2012
Best Hip-Hop Group - Wheelchair Sports Camp

Rolling Thunder - Wheelchair Sports Camp packs a big punch in a small package – High Times Magazine

print only
feb/2013

Steal This Track from Wheelchair Sports Camp (review) – heyreverb.com (Denver Post)

As Lynard Skynyrd once profoundly sang, Tuesday’s gone with the wind. Celebrate the home stretch to a long weekend with a free download from Denver’s four-wheelin’ hip-hop trio Wheelchair Sports Camp.

Earlier in May, Wheelchair Sports Camp joined The Flobots on the road for a whirlwind 28-city, coast-to-coast tour from sea to shining sea. It’s a triumph for the band fronted by emcee/producer Kalyn Heffernan. For years now, Heffernan has been producing beats that recall hip-hop’s origins and spitting political and personal rhymes as witty and charming as they are revolutionary. Heffernan’s lyrical perspective is unique only in part because she is a three-and-a-half feet tall queer woman with a brittle-bone disability; her voice is also as politically powerful as Chuck D or Zack de la Rocha.

On previous releases, Heffernan’s old school beats were accompanied by a funk-and-jazz live band, a sound that draws a connection between the Beat Generation and early lyrical hip-hop like KRS-One. But for “Blank Space,” a four song EP released to Bandcamp on May 15, Hefferden called on other beat makers. The result gives her rhyming and flowing an urgently contemporary flair that’s a real delight. Sure, the band and beats sound Wheelchair Sports Camp is known for perfectly match Hefferdens rhymes and flows, but in a new context we can really appreciate her sheer talent.

Here, download “nozone.” Turn it up and throw your hands in the air. Then, mark your calendar for June 28 when Wheelchair Sports Camp will return to Colorado with a homecoming show at The Gothic Theater.

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Fresh New Hip-Hop from Wheelchair Sports Camp – Westword

This new Wheelchair Sports Camp track comes from the new, short Blank Space EP. The jazzy beat is driven by a drum kit rhythm with a strong backbeat that MC Kalyn Heffernan bounces her plaintive lyrics off and is textured with alternating high and low-end piano loops punctuated by a single, sudden horn note. Heffernan's lyrics on the strength and sadness of unconditional love are nuanced and arranged with a complex flow to match.

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Best of 2012: Colorado Artists – heyreverb.com (Denver Post)

Ricardo Baca, pop music critic, The Denver Post
Wheelchair Sports Camp in his top 10 list

Matt Miller, Reverb managing editor
Wheelchair Sports Camp in his top 10 list

Amoeblog Interview with Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp – Amoeblog.com

Kalyn Heffernan and Wheelchair Sports Camp (WSC) are currently in the midst of their intense two-month, cross-country US tour opening for Flobotson which they'll have covered 10,000 miles by the time it ends up back in WSC's home state of Colorado on June 28th and 29th. The first leg of the tour the Denver CO act played San Francisco's Cafe Du Nord which is not wheelchair accessible - something Kalyn, who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta and is in a wheelchair herself, was unaware of until it was brought to her attention right before the show date. Her solution? Do an impromptu free show outside the venue for those in wheelchairs who were denied denied access. "Since this tour a lot more disabled people have been coming to see me that I've never met which is awesome to me. But it seems like the most inaccessible places is where they want to come," said Kayln who weighs just over 50 pounds and is 3 1/2 feet tall and can easily be carried up and downstairs with her small wheelchair at the SF venue and other venues that are non-wheelchair accessible.

I talked with Kalyn via emails back last month at the time of the Bay Area WSC date for an Amoeblog. And last week (June 4th), when Wheelchair Sports Camp arrived in New York City for their gig at Santos Party House, I caught up with the rapper/producer who loves to smoke the weed, clearly loves life and music, and proudly sports a CRIP LIFE tattoo on her stomach. When we met up the upbeat good-humored Kalyn was wearing a black T-shirt with the bold pink lettered message "Blow up dolls, Not countries." The video interview was conducted with Kalyn just as she had arrived with her crew (including her longtime girlfriend and assistant on the road Jennah Black - pictured above) outside and round the corner from the downtown Chinatown district Manhattan club before their concert - which was off the hook.

In the interview (video below) on the noisy New York City sidewalk Kalyn talks about such things as being identified as a krip-hop artist, artists she'd like to collaborate with, and cannabis. WSC play Shank Hall in Milwaukee tonight (June 12th). See flyer below for all tour dates for WSC on the Flobots tour. And visit Wheelchair Sports Camp's Facebook page for more concerts, music, and general band info.

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Arrested in Texas: – Spin.com

Wheelchair Sports Camp (March 16, 2011)
Incident: You'd think Denton authorities would go easy on a band fronted by a wheelchair-bound 3'6" female MC, but you'd be wrong. After a show, several members were arrested or cited for vandalism (graffiti) and possession (weed) in a couple of separate incidents that put a kink in the group's breakout SXSW year.

Outcome: Everyone was set free, fines and bails were paid, the band racked up some great headlines, the Denton PD came out looking like jerks. Win-win?

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Here Is Wheelchair Sports Camp's New Life-Affirming Video, "Where We All Live" – Village Voice

We'd like to direct your attention to the new video released by CMJ 2011 underdogs Wheelchair Sports Camp, the little Denver band who came to New York this past fall and demonstrated so much fortitude of character they ended up on our front cover. Since we last heard from the psuedo-hop trio, they've not only opened for old-school rap-heroes Salt N' Pepa, thereby playing to their biggest crowd of more than 1000 people, but the Mile High kids also put together a soon-to-be-released EP Where We All Live, and recently posted a video for the EP's title single.

Shot in a dinosaur sculpture park/playground in Fort Collins, Colorado, the hometown of WSC siblings Abi and Isaac Miller, the clip is a sunny montage of frolicking kids, youthful longing, and one shell-shocked snowball ambush. Featuring the joyously buoyant vocals of sax-player Abi, "Where We All Live" is a carefree rejection of adulthood tedium that's like the Toys R' Us theme covered in the style of Arrested Development's "Everyday People." There's also Kalyn Heffernan riding around in a motorized kids' truck, tying her Sesame Street sneakers, and rapping about the contradictions of her size/age disability dichotomy: "I'll be that Grandma still ordering kids' meals/who never learned to ride a bike and is still rollin a Big Wheel." RIYL: joy, nice people, life.

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Wheelchair-Assisted MC: 3 Feet High & Rising – SPIN Magazine

Most people who hear about Wheelchair Sports Camp assume the band's name is a crude joke. "Sports camp and wheelchairs, you know?" says 24-year-old MC Kalyn "T-Minus Katlyn" Heffernan. Diagnosed with the bone disease osteogenesis imperfecta at six months, the 3'6", 53-pound frontwoman for this jazz-funk hip-hop foursome does, in fact, roll instead of walk, and she did go to sports camp -- where she engaged in some less than wholesome activities. "I was always in the group for the more handicapped people," she remembers. "So I'd bring five of my able-bodied friends, and we'd leave and go smoke pot."

Obsessed with hip-hop since she was six, Heffernan, who has the pun crip life tattooed across her stomach, formed Wheelchair Sports Camp in 2007 with help from saxophonist Abi McGaha Miller, Abi's drummer brother Isaac, and DJ B*Money. Last year they self-released an eponymous EP of after-party jams and robo-voiced ?Stephen Hawking tributes. But Lo-Fi Mixed Tapes (released in March) showcases even broader range: Over Radiohead and Peter Frampton samples, Heffernan ?lashes out in her charismatically squeaky voice against discrimination and likens wack MCs to vegetables, one of many indelicate allusions to disability. (She says she hasn't caught any flak for her snarky attitude.)

Wheelchair Sports Camp had hardly toured out of state before this year's South by Southwest Music Festival, where the crew, which included Heffernan's girlfriend, got arrested en route to Denton, Texas, accused of vandalism and charged with marijuana possession. Heffernan, a card-carrying medical-marijuana patient in Colorado, was spared jail along with B*Money, though the others spent a night behind bars. "Usually cops are cool with me. I act nicely, like, 'I'm an innocent crippled girl.' Meanwhile, I have spray paint all over my wheelchair."

Indie-rapper Sage Francis became a fan after meeting Wheelchair at SXSW. "They've got almost everything ?going against them," he says. "Sometimes that's what you need to make great things happen." Indeed, the band plans to go on tour this fall. "I hope," says Francis, "they keep themselves out of trouble."

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World is spinning big time for little MC in Colorado – Denver Post - FRONT PAGE -

Kalyn Heffernan is tough — fearless, even. But she's also uncommonly fragile.
And her life as a musician is full of such contradictions: She's a hard-hitting rapper who can't take a hit. She's bold with her lyrics but cautious in her movements. She dreams big and sits small.
The 24-year-old University of Colorado Denver grad is one of the most risky and exciting MCs on the city hip-hop scene. When it comes to her rhymes, she talks the talk — even if she doesn't exactly walk the walk.
At 3 feet 6 inches and 53 pounds, Heffernan lives her life in a wheelchair. Her fragility comes in the form of the osteogenesis imperfecta she was born with.
No one has to dance around the topic. She even calls her

hip-hop group Wheelchair Sports Camp.
"I break easily," Heffernan said, nodding silently toward her mismatched body — an outward sign of the 100-plus fractured bones she has suffered over the years. "It's a genetic disorder. My bones lack collagen.
"I've had lots of surgeries. I've been rodded in my femurs and other major bones. I've had some of those since I was 9 months old."
But don't assume Colorado- born Heffernan has been sheltered because of her genetic disorder. Her personal history — which includes time at north Denver's Brown Elementary School and Lakewood High and some growing up on the West Coast — tells a different tale.
Heffernan's lip is pierced, and she loves to show off her "Crip Life" stomach tattoo — an Olde English-font "cripple" tat that mirrors the "Thug Life" ink that stretched across the belly of the late, notorious rapper Tupac Shakur. She has been dating her girlfriend, Jennah Black, for nearly five years, and she's a proud, card- carrying medical-marijuana patient.
"My parents were always good at getting me out," Heffernan said, remembering her childhood years in Southern California on the beaches and boardwalks. "It had to be hard to let

Kalyn Heffernan, who graduated from University of Colorado Denver's audio engineering program 18 months ago, has yet to find a job. Then again, she hasn't really looked. "I'm trying to feel out the music thing," she said. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
your kid go when anything they might do could cause them to break a bone. But they let me go."
Heffernan's family moved back to Denver when she was 10, and that's when she was invited to participate in the annual Rocky Mountain Wheelchair Sports Camp. Not only did it give the affable class clown an opportunity to have fun and find some trouble among like-bodied friends, but in later years, it inspired an easy group moniker.
The band, Wheelchair Sports Camp, got its start in 2008 when Heffernan teamed with an old friend to cut a demo. She had been rhyming, goofing around really, since she was in a talent show at age 12. But it wasn't long before she felt the momentum of creation, the lure of collaboration.
After that partnership hit a creative roadblock, she re- formed the group with sister- brother duo Abi and Isaac McGaha Miller, who play saxophone and drums, respectively. The band's latest addition is respected turntablist DJ B*Money, who provides the beats.
"When I first heard her CD, it sounded different to me," said B*Money, a.k.a. Chris Behm-Meyer. "And with the way hip-hop is nowadays, that's a hard thing to achieve.
"I later fell in love with her music and her style and her charisma and organization — I fell in love with her as a person, and I wanted to work with her."
A winking tenacity
Wheelchair Sports Camp plays a hip-hop that alternates between driving bassline grooves and free-jazz sax bursts. Heffernan gives her bandmates room to play, but when she's on the mike, she brings the rhymes with a smiling, winking tenacity. Her voice is calm throughout her verbal attacks — and it's also oddly high-pitched. Hip-hop fans might recall the vocals of Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest.
Her lyrics alternate between the socially aware and the hilariously poignant. In one track she thinks out loud:
I believe in questions
Put down your weapons
I haven't seen the people unite since the election.
In another song, a parody of mid-'90s one-hit-wonder Skee-Lo, she muses:
I wish I was a little bit taller
I wish I was a baller
I wish I had a girl
— oh, I do —
I should call her.The group's stage show is compelling and well-balanced. Heffernan is front and center with a PowerBook and keyboard setup, from which she triggers samples and beats. Behind her are the drums and the turntables, while the sax pulls up the wings. It's a fun, lively arrangement for hip-hop.
Rhode Island rapper B. Dolan met Heffernan and her crew on a shared bill in Albuquerque last month — and it led to a B. Dolan/Wheelchair Sports Camp minitour.
"My interest is in somebody who is capably performing and presenting hip-hop in a way that has integrity, but is also coming at it from a different angle and presenting a perspective that hasn't been present in hip-hop," said B. Dolan. "In Kalyn's case, she's gay

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25 Essential Hip-Hop Acts at SXSW 2011 – The Boston Phoenix

Holy. Fucking. Shit. This. Is. Dope – and not just because this organic sax-pumped Denver outfit has the best name at SXSW. Wheelchair Sports Camp's chief MC-producer Kalyn really does rhyme from a wheelchair, and she does it with a mighty gusto that deserves attention from all and any underground aficionados. With a philanthropic mission and a killer backing band, this group defines progressive hip-hop in the new millennium. | website

March 19 @ Red 7



Read more: http://thephoenix.com/boston/music/117048-25-essential-hip-hop-acts-at-sxsw-2011/#ixzz1RTBW3zb9

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Eight Openly Queer Rappers Worth Your Headphones – colorlines.com

Recently, Berkeley-born rapper Lil’ B made headlines after he announced at Coachella that he plans to title his next album “I’m Gay.” The artist, who steadfastly denies actually being gay, says that he’s trying to prove a point, make a statement about misogyny and hip-hop. Or whatever.

Lost in all the hoopla was the fact that there already exists a crop of openly queer rappers who have been making music for years. They’re talented, proud, but when it comes to mainstream media, they’re often ignored. So I reached out to some of the industry’s best and brightest to get their take on the really gay rappers who should be getting our attention. Writer and activist Kenyon Farrow summed up the bigger picture nicely when he wrote in an email: “I wish we could focus more energy and our money on artists in the community, rather than falling all over ourselves for straight people to validate our existence.” 

To wit, here are some folks to fall out over, courtesy of hip-hop heads Invincible, Juba Kalamka and Jeff Chang.

Eight Openly Queer Rappers You Should Know

Invincible is a Detroit-based rapper and activist who’s already got the world’s attention. She founded her own label and media company Emergence and released her debut album “Shapeshifters” in 2008. She contributes these artists to the list:




Miz Korona: A cornerstone of Detroit’s Hip-Hop community and one of the most consistent emcees I know, live or recorded. Miz Korona independently released her debut album, “The Injection,” last year and it’s incredible. She’s also known for her role in the film 8 mile—battling Xzibit at the lunch truck.








Mz Jonz: Also a Detroit representative, but we first met performing in New York at the Peace Out East festival. She performs regularly in the Detroit area, and pride festivals all over the country. This month Mz Jonz is independently releasing her debut album “Here On My Own” (peep the acronym?).








Thee Satisfaction: This Seattle based dynamic duo do it all—produce, sing, emcee, graphic design. In February, I witnessed their stellar performance for “Black Future Month” alongside their brethren Shabazz Palaces. Thee Sat members Cat and Stasia are not only partners in music, but also in love and life. They released a few mixtapes and a EP but i’m looking forward to the official album release via Seattle label Sub Pop.




Las Krudas: This trio was born and raised in Cuba, but is now splits its time between Austin, Texas, and the Bay Area. They are artists, activists, musicians, and theater performers, who have incredible stage presence and skill as emcees. Every time I see them on stage I’m blown away by their breath control and rapid fire flows, not to mention their tireless commitment to a global movement for justice.




Skim: The Queens-raised, L.A.-based emcee/songwriter and activist is a trailblazer in every way. Skim plays guitar, sings, produces, spits, and facilitates workshops like no other. Skim’s album “For Every Tear” dropped in 2006, and has many underground anthems including, “Unfamiliar” featuring Jade and “Long Story.” Ladies love Skim—last time I saw Skim live was at Mondo Homo festival in Atlanta, and someone threw some panties on stage.



Juba Kalamka is a queer artist and activist based in the Bay Area. He’s a founding member of the now disbanded Deep Dickollective. He’s also a former Colorlines music columnist. He adds to the list:




Collin Clay (of Juha): Deep Dickollective (D/DC) was a labelmate (on a 7” single) when Juha was a group in the early 2000s. Their first CD “Polari” (2002) was amazing, and he’s released two more (“The Grooms of God” and the “Stomach” EP) as a solo artist under the Juha banner that are even better. Dense yet accessible conversation on mixed-race identity, colonization, queerness, masculinity and a lot more. (Photo by Sophie Allen)




Wheelchair Sports Camp: I recently became aware of emcee/producer Karlyn Heffernan’s music through my colleague Leroy Moore Jr.(disability activist, artist and producer of the Krip Hop Nation compilations). I’m still listening, but her work is absolutely worth mentioning. Really enjoying the way she tells her stories inside of stories, as well as her lyricism and production work, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.




Big Freedia: Deep Dickollective opened a show for Big Freedia in New Orleans in 2003. It was so hot our feet were burning on the stage and our DJ’s records were warping. Freedia took the stage with what seemed like 27 dancers, the way they were moving. Casual and tight. Her records are amazing, intense and fun and her live show even more so. Her work makes me smile. She’s a fountain of history and love and respect for her communities at home and around the world.



And more love for Big Freedia, from resident hip-hop scholar, author and Colorlines co-founder Jeff Chang:

It’s funny that Big Freedia just got a shout out on “Treme,” so no

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Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp on rockin' the mike and making people think twice – The Westword

The most immediately noticeable thing about Kalyn Heffernan is that she's in a wheelchair. What takes a little more time to absorb and appreciate is that the petite Irish woman in the Timbaland boots and paint-covered electric chair (she's also a sometime graffiti artist) fashions herself as the real deal on the microphone and is revolutionizing the image of the female rapper.



A Kalyn Heffernan original, one of her first paintings
?The frontwoman for hip-hop outfit Wheelchair Sports Camp (along with DJ Whitelabel, Isaac on live drums and Abi, who plays the Saxophone), Heffernan does not come from a typical hip-hop background. Diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) as an infant, Heffernan has been in a wheelchair her whole life.
Undeterred, however, she has led her life with a feisty spirit for just as long. She has "crip life" tattooed on her stomach, which is as much a throw to Tupac Shakur's "Thug Life" tat as it is to her existence in the handicap community. Heffernan makes no excuses and pulls no punches. She is, at the core, a rapper first and foremost. She uses her rhymes and affliction together in a way that challenges the status quo.

The Wheelchair Sports Camp album The Mainstream Cannot Spearhead Change is not all full of warm stories about overcoming trials and tribulations; rather, Heffernan uses humor to offer thoughtful accounts of her experiences. We caught up with Heffernan recently and chopped it up with her over breakfast about everything from her life as a "crip," as she puts it, to her determination to make things happen on her terms.



Westword: So, who is Kalyn Heffernan?

Kalyn Heffernan: Well, you know, I'm a crip. I was born a crip.

Really? Like a gang member?

[laughs] No, I mean a cripple, but I do have "crip life" tatted on my stomach. It's kind of one of those uncomfortable things that took me a while to embrace. It wasn't probably until middle school when I became really comfortable with myself and would crack a midget joke or a handicap joke at myself. Before that, I was really affected by anyone who said "midget" instead of "little person." There's not enough time to be mad at everyone, so I figure it's easier to laugh at everyone.

To be specific, what is your affliction?

Osteogenesis Imperfecta. I was born with it. Neither of my parents have it. It's never shown anywhere in my family. I have brittle bones. I'm not as brittle as I used to be. As a baby, I'd break in my crib. My mom didn't know that I had this disability when I was born, so she had a natural birth. By the time I was six months old, she took me to the hospital because we were at breakfast and I moved my arm, and she heard a snap, and I started crying. She took me to the hospital, and we did X-rays, and sure enough, there were 25 fractures. I was in the hospital for eighteen hours, and they finally diagnosed me. That's basically it: I have brittle bones.

And that's why you're in a wheelchair?

Yeah, there are people who are different sizes with OI that can walk and are regular size, and there are people who are half my size, if not smaller, and are also super-brittle. I think I have it pretty good. It helps if I don't get drunk and fall out of my chair.

How old are you?

I'm 23. Through OI, I have scoliosis as well. It's something that's very common with this disability. My teeth are brittle, but I've met kids who eat a piece of toast and their teeth crumble.

So do you have one of those "hip-hop saved my life" stories?

Yes and no. My parents always listened to the Grateful Dead and that kind of stuff, and one morning me and my dad were driving down the freeway in California, where I grew up -- I moved back here when I was nine -- and I ran into Power 106, and I started hearing hip-hop and wanting to hear this station. It was like some bad song, and he said, "Turn that shit off."

Ever since then, I've been like addicted to hip-hop. I really got into TLC, too. They are the "hip-hop saved my life" example. They were just these three awesome women. Left Eye always had the dopest rhymes, plus they had catchy hooks and condoms all over the place. I was like five or seven listening to "Oooh on the TLC Tip" and singing about safe sex, not knowing what it was. I also got into Salt-n-Pepa a lot.

So I see the paint on your arms and all over your wheelchair -- you're a painter, too?

My senior year of college, I had to take an art class, and it was drawing. At the end of the semester, we learned how to paint and stretch canvases, so I painted a police shirt. I painted in the N.W.A. sign so that it said "Fuck the police." It's good.

What did you do with it?

It was actually the shirt I was wearing when I fell outta my chair and broke my head. I was bleeding outta my ears and they had to cut it off of me, so I was like, "Oh man, I love this shirt!" That's what I decided to do with it.
When you decided you wanted to become an MC, was it before or after you became

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Best Denver Bands: Rubedo, Abi & The Blue Language, Wheelchair Sports Camp – examiner.com

Tomorrow night, Thursday March 3, Moe’s Original BBQ in Englewood (right next to The Gothic Theater) will be hosting an insanely eclectic night of music that is sure to have something for every kind of music fan.

In many ways, the show is a showcase for some of the best upcoming talent in Denver. Three of the four acts have members who CU Denver’s music school, a fact that will give the gig the kind of energy that is created when friends get together to do something they love.

Hip-hop group Wheelchair Sports Camp will floor fans of hip-hop. Anyone whose had their ear to the ground in the last few months most definitely has heard of this group- their dynamic MC, backing band, tunes, and live show have earned them a place at South by Southwest in Austin later this month. A combination of jazz (courtesy of Abi McGaha Miller on the tenor saxophone) experimental rock, classic rap, and funk, this band is really something to see.

Abi McGaha Miller will also be performing with her solo project, Abi and the Blue Language. Much like Wheelchair Sports Camp, the band’s sound is a mash-up of many styles including soul, jazz, rock, pop, and folk music. Abi is a singular talent who is blessed with a killer voice, a knack for writing great songs, insane saxophone chops, and a spirit that takes up any stage.

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The last act playing is progressive rock band Rubedo, whose comparison to the Mars Volta goes so far that Volta’s keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens produced their new LP, to be released later this year. It’s easy to see what made Owens want to work with Rubedo, as their total embrace of epic rock, unconventional song structure, and total experimentalism is some of the hippest stuff being made in town. Their show is a complete mind-melter, so be warned.

All in all, Moe’s Original BBQ is most certainly the place to be to catch some of Denver’s best music. 



Continue reading on Examiner.com Best Denver Bands: Rubedo, Abi and the Blue Language, Wheelchair Sports Camp - Denver bands | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/bands-in-denver/best-denver-bands-rubedo-abi-and-the-blue-language-wheelchair-sports-camp#ixzz1RTEZAzlb

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Misogyny: Do women get a bad rap in hip-hop? – The Westword

Kalyn Heffernan, MC for the group Wheelchair Sports Camp, says she has not experienced misogyny on a personal level. Still, as a woman who is immersed in the genre as a consumer and a participant, she sees it running rampant on the regular. Not only is Kalyn a woman who raps in a male-dominated scene, but she is also a lesbian. She challenges the system on many levels of sexuality through her rhymes and controversial stance. Recognizing that the songs with the best hooks and lyrics are often those that objectify women the most, Heffernan says the answer is more women raising their voices, and their message, on the microphone.

Westword: What do you think about misogyny in hip-hop?

Kalyn Heffernan: I haven't personally experienced the sexism in hip-hop, but It didn't take hip-hop very long to get misogynistic. It really became prevalent in the early '90s, when I started out. NWA and Eazy-E, all that stuff we like to listen to, it's hard to turn the other cheek when they're knocking women.

It's something that women have been aware of for a while. I also feel like female rappers have to come out and have sex appeal. Sex sells, and unfortunately, that's how a lot of female rappers have made it. Not skill and lyricism; they just market their bodies so that they can adapt to a genre that's built this way.

Is it the responsibility of the woman to maintain the boundaries? Where does the responsibility fall, especially in the day of Nicki Minaj?

I don't think Nicki Minaj would be where she was if she didn't use sex appeal. However, there are females like Queen Latifah, who was one of the few who made a stance against disrespecting women, and she has made a huge career. Her big money isn't because of her talking about injustices with women. She was able to start that avenue at the beginning and get her start. Unfortunately, it is the system's problem for not allowing positive women to get the same height like big-time rappers who are talking shit about women. Overall, the system is to blame, but if more women were to come out and go against the grain, I think that it would force that change.

As a lesbian, how does that further impact your dealings with the hip-hop scene?

Definitely, it's harder to be a homo in hip-hop because it's so homophobic. Gay men are more discriminated against, and that's where the root comes from in hip-hop. From all my personal experience, lesbians are cool, because straight guys like lesbians, because they want to get in on the action. I think lesbians in hip-hop are on that whole "sex sells" thing. I flick my tongue like a dyke -- Dr. Dre said it.

So what's the answer? Is there a solution?

My solution is more women coming out, more women doing their thing without having to sell themselves. Spitting harder. Most women are smarter than men anyway, so if they really took that knowledge to the beat, it would make the industry change, but I think that a lot of women are afraid because of how mainstream hip-hop is and how it's become. All the do's and don'ts in hip-hop that are harder to overlook, but if they did, I think some shit could change.

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Wheelchair Sports Camp snags invite to SXSW 2011 – The Westword

Looks like Wheelchair Sports Camp, the band whose frontwoman, Kalyn Heffernan, we profiled this past November, will be heading to this year's SXSW. While a number of other acts will undoubtedly make the trek to Austin this March, Wheelchair Sports received an official invitation to perform at the festival -- a pretty big deal for this local hip-hop unit. We caught up with Heffernan to get the low down. Apparently, it was some old fashioned persistence that really paid off.

"I applied online and really kept in contact with a guy from the music fest that's coordinating the festival," Heffernan explains. "I just kept sending him everything we were doing and the press we were getting in recent months. Just about everything we were gonna try and do to get out there, we really wanted to be a part of the official showcase.

"Come to find out, it's my drummer's dream come true," Heffernan adds. "Yup. B-Money's coming. Issac on the drums and Abby on sax."

Being invited to play this year's show, says Heffernan, shows the versatility of their band and will increase visibility for other Denver artists, as well.

"It really goes to show our versatility because we were the only hip-hop band chosen from Denver. We are probably one of the more unique hip-hop groups in Denver that I've seen play.We just try and go outside of the box, and SXSW is like the mecca for independent and new experimental type of music. More than not, it's a spot for bands on the rise and unique people that you don't see on MTV or whatnot. We're really excited to play and definitely [to see] for what's to come of this."

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Overcoming all odds for the love of music – Out Front - Colorado

Being a crippled, lesbian rapper is hard. But not in the way you think.

“I could bank off that fact and just be … not that good,” said Kalyn Heffernan, the pint-sized 24-year-old emcee of Wheelchair Sports Camp. “But I’m just all about being better. I like good bands, and I want to be one.”

Most any band – good or not – typically has the opportunity to be first judged by its musical abilities, and not on a socio-political issue. But unless it’s through her album, Heffernan is rarely afforded that opportunity. Born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, she is confined to a wheelchair and has grown only to the size of a small child.

I must admit when I first saw Heffernan roll onto the stage of the Hi-Dive, I cynically dismissed the whole thing as a PC gimmick.

Something people were afraid not to like, and applauded dutifully and without thought. But 10 minutes into the set of Wheelchair Sports Camp, I (and presumably everyone in attendance) had the snarky grins wiped off our faces. Fronting a band of top-shelf musicians, Kalyn Heffernan has the sly charm of a seasoned stage performer, all while she rhymes from her wheelchair with a flow and punch to rival any big-name emcee.

Growing up in Denver, Heffernan was surrounded with positive encouragement from family and friends. “I never really encountered any setbacks because of my disability or sexuality,” she said. Being a devoted fan of early ’90s hip-hop, Heffernan rapped at a talent show at the age of 12. “It was me beat-boxing onto a tape, and then rhyming over it,” she explained. From there Heffernan’s musical vocabulary became more sophisticated, moving from drum machines in high school to studying recording techniques at the University of Colorado, Denver.

It was there she met the brother-sister musical duo Abi and Isaac McGaha Miller. “Abi is just a natural born musician,” Heffernan raved, “she could play almost anything.” From this encounter grew Wheelchair Sports Camp, and since Heffernan was studying audio recording at the time, the band could devote their school hours to laying down tracks in the university studio.

Sometime later WSC released Mixed Tapes, an eclectic, inventive hip-hop album that expertly samples tracks from The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to Nirvana and Radiohead.

Along with meeting her bandmates, college introduced Heffernan to Jenna Black, who would become her girlfriend, now of five years. “We had to hide it for a while,” Black said, describing the difficulties of a homophobic dorm room and religious conservative parents.
Kalyn Heffernan recognizes that, considering her sexuality and her disability, she was raised in a relatively positive environment that some (including her girlfriend) were not privileged with.

“I’ve always grown up around gay people. And you’re not a part of the gay community without knowing how hard it can be.”

Though several WSC songs are playful and celebratory, many of the lyrics comment on social injustices. “I’ve rapped about Prop 8 and homophobia. Just because I’ve had it so good, doesn’t mean I don’t have a consciousness about these things.”

Heffernan went on to discuss the variety of anti-gay undertones in culture from the indie-rock world to the hip-hop scene. For the most part, though, she observes this from a distance. “Maybe because I’m disabled, people can’t be too mean,” she said with a laugh.

Kalyn Heffernan seems to view her disability as a comical footnote, not as the crux of her personality. She’s a politically conscious voice who has a setback to reasonably complain about, yet makes music not as an after-school-special message of hope and inspiration, but for the pure love of creativity. “I’m not a rapper because I want people to hear my story,” she said with complete sincerity, “I’m a rapper because I want to be.”

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Overcoming all odds for the love of music – Out Front - Colorado

Being a crippled, lesbian rapper is hard. But not in the way you think.

“I could bank off that fact and just be … not that good,” said Kalyn Heffernan, the pint-sized 24-year-old emcee of Wheelchair Sports Camp. “But I’m just all about being better. I like good bands, and I want to be one.”

Most any band – good or not – typically has the opportunity to be first judged by its musical abilities, and not on a socio-political issue. But unless it’s through her album, Heffernan is rarely afforded that opportunity. Born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, she is confined to a wheelchair and has grown only to the size of a small child.

I must admit when I first saw Heffernan roll onto the stage of the Hi-Dive, I cynically dismissed the whole thing as a PC gimmick.

Something people were afraid not to like, and applauded dutifully and without thought. But 10 minutes into the set of Wheelchair Sports Camp, I (and presumably everyone in attendance) had the snarky grins wiped off our faces. Fronting a band of top-shelf musicians, Kalyn Heffernan has the sly charm of a seasoned stage performer, all while she rhymes from her wheelchair with a flow and punch to rival any big-name emcee.

Growing up in Denver, Heffernan was surrounded with positive encouragement from family and friends. “I never really encountered any setbacks because of my disability or sexuality,” she said. Being a devoted fan of early ’90s hip-hop, Heffernan rapped at a talent show at the age of 12. “It was me beat-boxing onto a tape, and then rhyming over it,” she explained. From there Heffernan’s musical vocabulary became more sophisticated, moving from drum machines in high school to studying recording techniques at the University of Colorado, Denver.

It was there she met the brother-sister musical duo Abi and Isaac McGaha Miller. “Abi is just a natural born musician,” Heffernan raved, “she could play almost anything.” From this encounter grew Wheelchair Sports Camp, and since Heffernan was studying audio recording at the time, the band could devote their school hours to laying down tracks in the university studio.

Sometime later WSC released Mixed Tapes, an eclectic, inventive hip-hop album that expertly samples tracks from The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to Nirvana and Radiohead.

Along with meeting her bandmates, college introduced Heffernan to Jenna Black, who would become her girlfriend, now of five years. “We had to hide it for a while,” Black said, describing the difficulties of a homophobic dorm room and religious conservative parents.
Kalyn Heffernan recognizes that, considering her sexuality and her disability, she was raised in a relatively positive environment that some (including her girlfriend) were not privileged with.

“I’ve always grown up around gay people. And you’re not a part of the gay community without knowing how hard it can be.”

Though several WSC songs are playful and celebratory, many of the lyrics comment on social injustices. “I’ve rapped about Prop 8 and homophobia. Just because I’ve had it so good, doesn’t mean I don’t have a consciousness about these things.”

Heffernan went on to discuss the variety of anti-gay undertones in culture from the indie-rock world to the hip-hop scene. For the most part, though, she observes this from a distance. “Maybe because I’m disabled, people can’t be too mean,” she said with a laugh.

Kalyn Heffernan seems to view her disability as a comical footnote, not as the crux of her personality. She’s a politically conscious voice who has a setback to reasonably complain about, yet makes music not as an after-school-special message of hope and inspiration, but for the pure love of creativity. “I’m not a rapper because I want people to hear my story,” she said with complete sincerity, “I’m a rapper because I want to be.”

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Wheelchair Sports Camp: Kalyn Heffernan on Hip-Hop, Occupy Denver – Huffington Post

Kalyn Heffernan is emcee of one of Denver's hottest rising hip-hop groups, Wheelchair Sports Camp. She deftly writes politically charged raps as well as fun party jams over cool, jazzy beats filled with piano keys and horn blasts with a flow and wordplay that is all her own.

Heffernan is a female rapper and a lesbian in a genre that has been historically dominated by males. She is bringing a fresh voice to modern hip-hop as she raps frankly about social change, politics and having a disability as part of the band Wheelchair Sports Camp with sax player Abi Miller and drummer Isaac Miller

Heffernan recently chatted with The Huffington Post to talk about her path to arriving at hip-hop, involvement with Occupy Denver and life in Mile High City.

How long have you been in Denver?
I was born here in Denver, but my dad is a union ironworker. So there was more work for him in Los Angeles at the time, and my mom is originally from L.A. so we moved when I was only 6 months old. We lived in Burbank until we came back to Denver when I was about 9 years old. Denver was always home, and the L.A. lifestyle was getting the best of my mom, so we had to change it up.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR SLIDESHOW, STREAMING MUSIC)

What got you into hip-hop?
The only thing I'm good at is hip-hop, but luckily I have a pair of siblings in my band [Abi and Isaac] who know a whole lot more about musicianship across the board. I started performing [when I was] around 7 years old when I did a talent show and played TLC's "Waterfalls." I didn't start writing my own rhymes until I was 12; it was for another talent show at school. From there I messed around until I started making my own beats in high school and then finally got to college with a much better view on things, switched my mainstream gears and started digging in the classics.

What inspired the name Wheelchair Sports Camp? 
Well, after moving back from Burbank, I was invited to attend a free, weeklong Rocky Mountain Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp for kids ages 6 to 18. I went for years and would always bring a big group of my able-bodied friends to "volunteer." We were always too cool for school and would just run amok with all the rebels of the camp. Instead of going to get in trouble, I decided I would stop being a camper and just volunteer as soon as I could drive.


I've been volunteering as a peer counselor on the tennis courts since. I don't think I've missed a year. It's a really great camp that's all nonprofit and is celebrating its 29th anniversary in 2012. They bus in kids from all across the city, provide lunch and have medical staff and volunteers galore. There's usually a good few hundred wheelchair kids in attendance and so many of them look forward to it all year starting the day after camp ends.

The name was perfect and we ran, rolled with it.

What got you first turned on to hip-hop?
Well, I was scanning through my Walkman radio stations as a kid and came across Los Angeles hip-hop station Power 106 -- equivalent to KS 1075 in Denver. I asked my dad to turn it up on the car stereo because it was so good, and he immediately said, "Turn that shit off and put your headphones back on!" I've been in love ever since. If it wasn't hip-hop, I wanted nothing to do with it!

Growing up, my mom also listened to En Vogue who I always dug on for their hip-hop flavor. Same goes for my parents taste in the Talking Heads and their experiments with electronic instruments and samples. My first CD ever was Michael Jackson Dangerous, which is super hip-hop heavy! My first real love was for TLC who I was so obsessed with, and Salt-n-Pepa came close after that. I was super young so I got what I could and never had a vast knowledge of hip-hop. I just had the few things I could beg one of my parents to get my hands on and kept them close to my heart.

There was always something about hip-hop that I just couldn't shy away from, I guess it had to be the rhythm and the rebel in me.

How does the songwriting process work for Wheelchair Sports Camp?
First of all we don't really practice. We've played enough shows to serve as practice but don't rehearse. Never have, as of now, but will most likely have to start soon.

I usually make a beat or get a beat, write a verse or two, get an idea, send it to Abi who will come in a lay down sax or vocals if need be. Isaac drums over my already-sampled drums and we only have a few recordings with his live drums on.

Eventually, that will have to change, but for now it's kinda cool to have a different live sound than our recordings. We're working on an EP right this second and for the first time we're working on collaborating ideas and concepts together, which is super exciting. Isaac's an amazing writer, and Abi is in an incredible songwriter so it's really exciting to bring all of our talents together. It never helps that I wait till the very last minute to get shit done, so we're always super pressed for time. But somehow, so

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Wheelchair Sports Camp's Crip Life – Village Voice - FRONT PAGE -

If there were ever a moment for a queer, disabled rapper with a love for pot, jokes, and revolution to be a star, the moment is now

http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-12-07/news/wheelchair-sports-camp-crip-life-Kalyn-Heffernan/

Wheelchair Sports Camp Love Life, Stay Fly @ Kenny's Castaways – Village Voice

CMJ 2011 breakout band Wheelchair Sports Camp play their first-ever NYC show at Kenny's Castaways on October 21, 2011. picture slideshow

You Really Can't Miss Wheelchair Sports Camp at Kenny's Castaways Tonight – Village Voice

Most people think the name's a bad joke, but Wheelchair Sports Camp are anything but offensive. A psuedo-hip-hop trio from Denver fronted by Kalyn Heffernan, a 56-pound wheelchair-bound badass emcee with CRIP LIFE tattooed on her stomach, the band is playing Kenny's Castaways tonight at 8pm and they sample everything from Radiohead to J. Dilla, feature a monster sax player, and sometimes cover the song "My Vagina Isn't Handicapped." Need we say anything more?

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Second Round of Bands Announced for SXSW 2012 – sxsw.com

You've already seen our first list of bands invited to play SXSW 2012. It's time for us to reveal a few more.

Register now to check out standout acts like Alabama Shakes, Blouse, Teengirl Fantasy, Lucero, PUJOL and Psychic Ills. International buzz artists Asking Alexandra, Capsula, Electric Eel Shock, Polarsets, Zulu Winter, Extrawelt and Ben Howard will also be performing in 2012. Don't miss local Austin favorites like Dikes of Holland and Schmillion. 

The list of invited acts is growing daily. Stay tuned for more announcements still to come. As always, everything is subject to change.

Alabama Shakes (Athens AL)
Asking Alexandria (York UK-ENGLAND)
Atlantic/Pacific (Brooklyn NY)
Bad Weather California (Denver CO)
Belligerence (Portsmouth UK-ENGLAND)
Ben Howard (Devon UK-ENGLAND)
Blouse (Portland OR)
Capsula (Bilbao SPAIN)
Choir of Young Believers (Copenhagen DENMARK)
Dikes of Holland (Austin TX)
Duran (Bogotá COLOMBIA)
Edison Chair (Austin TX)
Electric Eel Shock (Tokyo JAPAN)
Electric Wire Hustle (Wellington NEW ZEALAND)
Elias Haslanger (Austin TX)
Extrawelt (Hamburg GERMANY)
Fallulah (Copenhagen DENMARK)
Films of Colour (London UK-ENGLAND)
Go Back To The Zoo (Amsterdam THE NETHERLANDS)
Hunters (Brooklyn NY)
Idiot Glee (Lexington KY)
J.R. Patton (Dallas TX)
Juan Cirerol (Mexicali MEXICO)
Lanie Lane (Sydney NSW)
Led Er Est (New York NY)
Lilly Wood and the Prick (Paris FRANCE)
Lonsdale Boys Club (London UK-ENGLAND)
Lucero (Memphis TN)
Miles Zuniga (Austin TX)
New Look (Hamilton AB)
Nick Jaina (Portland OR)
Nive Nielsen & The Deer Children (Nuuk GREENLAND)
Oh Mercy (Melbourne VIC)
Pat Todd and The Rankoutsiders (Los Angeles CA)
Polarsets (Newcastle UK-ENGLAND)
PUJOL (Nashville TN)
Psychic Ills (New York NY)
Radiation City (Portland OR)
Schmillion (Austin TX)
Teengirl Fantasy (New York NY)
The Abramson Singers (Vancouver BC)
The Record Summer (New York NY)
Turbo Fruits (Nashville TN)
Wheelchair Sports Camp (Denver CO)
You Can't Win, Charlie Brown (Lisbon PORTUGAL)
Zulu Winter (London UK-ENGLAND)

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12 bands to watch at The Denver Post's Underground Music Showcase 'Our take on six national and six Colorado bands' – The Denver Post

Want to know what everyone was talking about after the South by Southwest and Westword Music Showcases this year? Check out this Denver hip-hop outfit, led by cartoon-voiced Kalyn Heffernan (who uses a wheelchair) and backed by live drums and sax. Her nimble flows and production prove that hip-hop bravado is not the sole province of swaggering dudes and cookie-cutter bling bots. 8 p.m. Sunday, Bands for Lands stage at the TS Board Shop

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12 bands to watch at The Denver Post's Underground Music Showcase 'Our take on six national and six Colorado bands' – The Denver Post

Want to know what everyone was talking about after the South by Southwest and Westword Music Showcases this year? Check out this Denver hip-hop outfit, led by cartoon-voiced Kalyn Heffernan (who uses a wheelchair) and backed by live drums and sax. Her nimble flows and production prove that hip-hop bravado is not the sole province of swaggering dudes and cookie-cutter bling bots. 8 p.m. Sunday, Bands for Lands stage at the TS Board Shop

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Amoeblog Black History Month Salutes Leroy Moore and Krip-Hop Nation pt 2 – Amoeblog

Coming next is an all female Krip-Hop compilation which, Moore says, is a joint project with Kalyn Heffernan from Wheelchair Sports Camp, who is also an artist featured on the collection. "It also has Lady MJ. She's incredible. She's from Birmingham in the UK and was a part of the DaDa Festival. And also there is Toni Hickman and she has the album Crippled Pretty and it is amazing. She performed at our Atlanta show. So there's a group of talented women who are a part of Krip-Hop right now." Others who will also be on female collection include Miss Money, Panah Ahmed, Sunshine Madd Hattertriss, Lizzi Emeh, Prudence Mabhena, and Vivian Flaherty-Thorp.

Heffernan is based out of Denver, CO and is a producer and MC with the four piece hip-hop band Wheelchair Sports Camp. In a couple of weeks the band will be traveling to Austin for a SXSW showcase! Like nearly all of the other Krip-Hop artists, she initially met Leroy Moore via the internet. They finally met up in person last October at an event he helped organize at NYU in Manhattan. Heffernan told me that Moore helped her recognize the extent of Krip-Hop artists on a global scale.
"Before meeting Leroy, I didn't even realize how many disabled hip-hop artists there are throughout the world, not to mention how many of them are females. It's so inspiring and amazing!" she said. "There [have] always been less women involved in the making of hip-hop music than men. That is not to say, however, that there haven't always been amazing, key female figures involved in hip-hop. The more involved I become, the more I realize how many amazing female hip-hop artists there have been in the past, and are today that are killin' it all over the place." 

And what about the music industry ever catching up with Krip-Hop artists, not to mention with hip-hop fans who happen to be disabled? Answered Moore, whose business card logo reads: "Black Disabled man with a Big Mouth and a high I.Q.;" "They don't yet realize what an untapped market the disabled market is. But once they do, watch out!"

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The Mile High Makeout: Homophobia in Colorado hip-hop – Reverb

The hip-hop fan base as a whole, after all, is far more tolerant of its artists’ eccentricities than one might initially expect. With the growing popularity of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered hip-hoppers — from New Orleans’s sissy bounce stars Big Freedia and Katey Red to the Native American rapper Angel Haze to legendary hip-hop radio DJ Mister Cee — alternatives to standard heterosexual identities are increasingly apparent. Movies like “Pick Up the Mic” and “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” have recently explored the issues. Websites like outhiphop.com and Gay Music Revolution regularly feature openly gay rappers. A new genre has even been coined: homohop.
The social justice news website, Colorlines.com, recently published an article called “Eight Openly Queer Rappers Worth Your Headphones, which included Denver’s own Wheelchair Sports Camp.

“There’s gay rappers who go out of their way to let it be known they’re gay, but for me, it’s not my first topic,” says Wheelchair Sports Camp’s Kalyn Heffernan, an MC who is outside the norms of hip-hop not only because she’s gay, but also because she’s a female rapper and, as the name of her group suggests, wheelchair-bound, due to a genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta. “It’s not like I’m ashamed or haven’t mentioned being gay in my lyrics, but I started rapping way before I got into girls.”

While Heffernan feels that the use of hateful language in hip-hop is dangerous, she isn’t offended by Tyler the Creator’s blatantly homophobic and misogynist lyrics.

“I think they’re just rebelling. It’s the same old Insane Clown Posse/Eminem factor,” she says, referring to rappers whose shock tactics have likely inspired the Odd Future crew’s aesthetic. “I still think he’s using ‘faggot’ in a derogatory sense, and I think he’s doing it on purpose. Maybe that purpose is to desensitize people, but it’s still hateful. It’s still derogatory, but it’s rebellious, and hip-hop has always been rebellious.”

Of course, hip-hop isn’t the only musical form with rebellion at its roots. Rock music was born out of rebellion, and as Mane Rok points out, it’s just as prone to homophobia.

“I think homophobia is just as big in hip-hop as it is in rock,” he says. “Too often, people are trying to blame the music, but the music is homophobic in the way that it’s a product of our society.”

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UMS 11th Annual Indie Festival 'Must Hears' – Marquee Magazine

:: Wheelchair Sports Camp ::

The electronic hip-hop mash-up artists in Wheelchair Sports Camp include producer MC Kalyn, Abi McGaha Miller on vocals and sax, percussionist Isaac Miller, and DJ Chris “B*Money” Behm-Meyer. The group is satirically named after a corrupt wheelchair sports camp Kalyn attended as a teenager, and its recent Mixed Tapes features Kalyn’s quirky rhymes and samples that range from The Beatles and Radiohead, to layers of acoustic guitar, live hand percussion, and funky dub-step basslines.

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SXSW 2011 Band Name Awards – Frontier Psychiatrist

Nearly 2,000 bands have flocked to Austin, Texas this week for the annual South By Southwest festival. As with the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, we find ourselves amazed (and amused) by the names of the bands on the bill. Trend watchers: 2011 is the year of white and black, big and little, youth and death, saints and neon. What to conclude from this concordance? We’re not sure. For now, we present the first annual SXSW Band Name Awards, along with music samples from some of the winners. Name on!
1. Best TV/Movie Allusion
Runners Up: Jackie Chain; Jesse Dangerously; Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson*
Winner: Uncle Jesse

2. Most Offensive
Runners Up: Wheelchair Sports Camp*; Hungry Kids of Hungary; Mustard Pimp
Winner: Uncle Bad Touch (2-time FP Most Offensive Champion)

3. Best Defecation
Runners Up: Shit and Shine; Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!; Dr Krapula
Winner: Shit Robot*

4. Best Literary Allusion
Runners Up: Ivan & Alyosha*; Lolita No. 18; Eliza Doolittle
Winner: Mutiny on the Bounty

5. Worst Band Name
Runners Up: Matrimony; The Coolness; House of Broken Promises
Winner: A Great Big Pile of Leaves
6. Best Highbrow
Runners Up: Chateau Marmont; His Clancyness*; Harvard Bass
Winner: Descartes a Kant

7. Best Royal
Runners Up: Royal Bangs; Royal Forest; Royal Thunder
Winner: Royal Canoe
8. Best Dirty
Runners Up: Dirty Ghosts; Dirty Karma; The Dirty Guv’Nahs
Winner: Dirty Beaches*

9. Best Alliteration
Runners Up: Foxes in Fiction*; Birds & Batteries; Sick of Sarah
Winner: Trampled by Tigers

10. Best First Person Plural
Runners Up: We Are Defiance; We Are Enfant Terrible; We Are Hex
Winner: We Barbarians
11. Best White
Runners Up: White Arrows; White Denim; White Mystery; White White Sisters; White Wires; Whitechapel; Whitehorse
Winner: The White Eyes
12. Best Black
Runners Up: The Black Atlantic; Black Books; The Black Box Revelation; Black Cherry; Black Milk*; Blacklisted Individuals; The Pretty Black Chains
Winner: Black Gandhi

13. Best Young
Runners Up: Young Adults; Young Buffalo; Young Empires; Young Magic
Winner: Young London
14. Best Repetition
Runners Up: Man Man; Rah Rah; Smile Smile; Viva Viva
Winner: Gobble Gobble
15. Best Death
Runners Up: Bass Drum of Death; Death Letters; Freedom or Death; O’Death*
Winner: Death on Two Wheels

16. Best Sports
Runners Up: The Baseball Project; Basketball
Winner: Eastern Conference Champions*

17. Best Animal
Runners Up: Animals as Leader; Gabby Young and Other Animals; Sacred Animals
Winner: Slow Animal*

18. Best Gay
Runners Up: The Gay Blades; Gay for Johnny Depp; Gay Sportscasters
Winner: My! Gay! Husband!
19. Best Saint
Runners Up: Saint Motel; Saint Vitus
Winner: Sainthood Reps
20. Biggest Mouthful
Runners Up: For A Minor Reflection; Now, Now, Every Children*; Pulled Apart By Horses; Say “No!” To Architecture
Winner: Thee Oh Sees*


Keith Meatto is co-editor of Frontier Psychiatrist. Whenever he sees two or three words together he thinks: Band Name.

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