The Mayan calendar reaches the end of its 5,125-year cycle on Dec. 21, an event that some say foretells the end of all existence as we know it. With that in mind, local rapper Josh Rizeberg had some advice for getting ready for the end times. “You'll need your water and batteries for whatever it is – a flood, the Mayan apocalypse, the zombie apocalypse,” he said. “Just if you live in the wrong neighborhood, you may need your batteries.” Supplies or no supplies, you're probably toast anyway, unless you find one of those boats that saved John Cusak. But thanks to Rizeberg and musical collaborator Preston Bernard, a.k.a. MC Coo' Beanz, Tacoma's doomed masses can at least enjoy some funky beats as the world spirals into chaos around them. Beanz and Rize will perform cuts from their new, self-titled debut album at the End of the World Party at Stonegate Pizza, 5421 South Tacoma Way. The bill will also include Shao Sosa, K-Dueski, Awall a.k.a. 2 Piece, King Scrub and D-Vious, with music starting at 9 p.m. The new album is available through Bandcamp.com. And, recently, we caught up with Beanz and Rize to find out what's behind their dynamic new sounds.
TW: When did you guys first hook up as Beanz and Rize?
Beanz: There was a show at this place that's no longer with us called El Perron. I was booked on the same bill as Josh, and I heard him do his act. I was really amazed by his music and his spoken word, so I wanted to team up with him and do a track.
TW: When was that?
Rizeberg: That was in, probably, 2011. I had never heard of or seen Coo' Beanz. And he was just fresher than the average. Whenever we started to talk I was down to collab' for sure.
TW: When and where did you record the album?
Rizeberg: We did it earlier this year, all at Beanz's spot. Every Tuesday we linked up and made music until the album was done.
TW: How would you compare what you do as solo artists to how you work together as a duo?
Rizeberg: He makes beats and he also makes videos. I don't make beats or videos. I can't do anything on a computer. He's not a poet. I do all that nerdy poetry stuff, all of whatever that entails – like the classes for the kids and stuff like that. That's my lane. But we linked up on just some straight hip-hop and some smoker, vibin' out stuff. (Beanz cracks up.) That's just where we related.
TW: There are allusions to things in the headlines, like the song that alludes to Treyvan Martin, “Skittles and Ice Tea.”
Beanz: Yeah, that track was more lettin' people know that we're here and (pauses, considering) we like Skittles and ice tea.
TW: So it's not an overtly political track.
Beanz: I wouldn't say it was political.
Rizeberg: We did the song, and then we were thinking of like how can we tie all our rhymes together? I (though) we should end all our rhymes with 'skittles and ice tea' just to pay homage to Treyvan Martin, because that had just happened. We were writing during that time. I don't think anybody writes a story about what happened to him that night, you know. It's not corny like that. It's just some raps, and we just tied it together with that in mind.
TW: So what should people expect from your live show?
Beanz: Just earth, wind and fire. (Laughs) Just giving our all to the audience.
Rizeberg: I still do my (spoken word) thing in the middle, though. But other than that, it's just a good set. All the songs are fun. We don't rap over our vocals or anything. We do it the real MC way.
TW: You kind of address phony MCs on “Mic Drop.” Are there a lot of those out there?
Rizeberg: I would say so, yeah.
Beanz: There's a lot of phony rappers that lie and say they have things, and they don't live that lifestyle. They say they have gold chains and they have money in their pocket. But when you see 'em in daily life they look like they're barely makin' it. It's kind of embarrassing to hip-hop and embarrassing to (themselves.) That song “Mic Drop,” That's who we're kind of targeting, the MCs that aren't doing their day job for hip-hop in Tacoma.
Rizeberg: There's still people rappin' over their vocals at live shows and just not performing right.
TW: You see that on some of the big shows.
Beanz: Yeah, and that's kind of lazy, because hip-hop, the whole form, is spoken word and doin' it live over a beat. I didn't see Run DMC spittin' over their lyrics, or the Beastie Boys. We're just trying to keep it real – keep it hip-hop.
9 p.m. Dec. 21
Stonegate Pizza, 5421 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma
(253) 473-2255 or http://www.stonegaterocks.com