There are multiple artists named Libretto: 1)One of the most important developments in Portland music has been the local and national success of Libretto and Lifesavas. They're longtime Portlanders steady grindin' with their crew, Misfit Massive, since the mid-'90s. But their 2003 release, Spirit in Stone (Quannum), put them in the worldwide underground, and exposed them to parts of the city that might not have known their music otherwise (aka much of white Portland).
1)One of the most important developments in Portland music has been the local and national success of Libretto and Lifesavas. They're longtime Portlanders steady grindin' with their crew, Misfit Massive, since the mid-'90s. But their 2003 release, Spirit in Stone (Quannum), put them in the worldwide underground, and exposed them to parts of the city that might not have known their music otherwise (aka much of white Portland). In a segregated city that seems to only talk to one another about racism when someone dies, the sheer uniting force of Libretto & Lifesavas' larger presence--and message--has been an important one for the spiritual well being of Portland. And, put simply, the talented Misfit Massive crew--which includes Libretto, the three Lifesavas (Vursatyl, Jumbo, and Shines), Sly Da Brown Hornet, Dubb-Flexx aka Wolverine, --is defining the Portland hiphop sound in the early oughties. Each artist has his own style--but when you work together for upwards of 10 years like they have, you start out friends and end up brothers. They help each other out as individuals, as only a family can. As Libretto puts it, "Lifesavas represent that underground raw, head knockin' lyrics. But when me and my man Dubb hook up, we be coming with that whole gangsta whatever you wanna call it, but at the same time, I'm droppin' that wisdom on 'em. So that's how hot our arsenal is... I kinda look at us like the Wu-Tang--we got too many styles. Anyway you come at us, you gonna get served a nice dish." Libretto is next in line for liftoff. Fresh off a shot on the West Coast opening shows for Talib Kweli, he released "Volume" b/w "Slum Funk," a new 12" released by LA punk/hiphop label Dim Mak in June 2004. Now the big debut of "Illoet The Last Element" filled with 14 tracks of pure soul, hip hop and urban resonance from the streets of Watts LA to Portland OR. With a hot grimy-soul production by Jumbo and Dubb-Flexx, and featuring a vocal turn from Jumbo and Vurs, the single "Volume" trots Libretto's low, stern delivery and rubber band styles out for show. He reaps elements from both coasts, and knowledge from his life experiences. His father, an ex-Black Panther, came from New York; Libretto grew up in Watts. They both moved here in the mid-'90s, a history he tells on "Slum Funk": "Ain't no civilians livin' inside these buildings/ everybody's ready, willing to leave your blood spillin'/'95 came/and pops wanted to switch lanes/and move me to the 503... bomb threat: cassettes I spread throughout the projects" and throughout his debut album. "I do what I do," he explains. "I can come complicated, or I can come for you smart-dumb cats. On the album, it's all comin' out. They can't put me in no box. Only thing I haven't done yet is make some booty-shaking music... which is part of me I can't do," Libretto laughs. For years, we've been hearing "hiphop's gotta change"--that it needs shaking up. Lately, it seems there's been an urgency--and you can hear the change. "It's a 9-1-1 on hiphop, no doubt. I think we need to dig back in, man, go look at Krush Groove, go look at Style Wars, and then go into the studio and make that stuff; don't forget where you came from.
2) Libretto is a post-hardcore band formed in Kuching, Malaysia in 2002 (originally under the name Wet Nurse).
Gavin Eric (vocals), Reynold Ahviet (vocals, guitar), Mark Augustine (guitar), Ashton Bryan (bass), Nazrul Hakim Putra (keyboards, synthesizer effects), Ritchie Patrick (drums)
2004 100 Shows
2005 This Is an EP