The nondescript building Bright Future Media is housed in didn’t immediately encapsulate the energy that could be found within its walls, but the newly minted studio proved to be an incubator for upcoming talent on Saturday night. The occasion that brought together this wealth of influential individuals was the listening party for the Black Sands soundtrack, a collaboration between Denver’s Ramond and Black Sands Entertainment, a New York based company that produces a variety of comics focused on highlighting black protagonists and uplifting messages. As the room filled up, the anticipation began to feel palpable. Nearly everyone in the building was a familiar face to those tuned in with the Denver hip hop scene, and the event proved to be not only a clinic in high quality music, but also in how to cultivate a strong feeling of community. The event itself was only possible thanks to Denver’s Ramond and his collaboration with Manuel Godoy, the President and creator of Black Sands Entertainment, who both worked together to bring this visual/audio vision to life.
For some background, Godoy is an accomplished author and entrepreneur who created the Black Sands Entertainment brand after years of seeing Hollywood depict ancient Egyptians as white people. With a vision, talent, and a degree in economics, Godoy decided it was time to get some accurate representation in the entertainment industry. While Ramond and Godoy’s visions align, their relationship hasn’t been a years old one and it took time to build the strong connection they now share. Godoy clearly values Ramond’s professionalism and ability to make dope music that is still accessible to children, who are Black Sands’ main audience. Godoy was so impressed by the artwork that Ramond put together, that he flew out to Denver from New York City just to be present at the listening party.
The atmosphere in Bright Future Media made it obvious that this event would emit the progress and concentrated effort Ramond and his team have put into growing as artists and leaders in the Colorado hip hop community. Working hand-in-hand with his manager Tim Gelt, Ramond made sure that this occasion would be one to remember. The studio space was both welcoming and highly professional, complete with recording rooms and a compact but comfortable listening area that quickly became filled with eager listeners ready to hear the new music.
As everyone settled in, Ramond gathered the crowd in the room for a toast before the music began. Prior to the first song even starting, there was already an air of anticipation for the project, which may prove to be Ramond’s best piece of work to date. The collaboration with Godoy provided an excellent framework for the Denver MC and he delivered on the powerful themes found in the Black Sands comic series, successfully interweaving a basket full of ideas and stories that radiate strength and perseverance.
Both Ramond and the comics themselves seemed to have found the perfect pairing, with both the artist and pieces of art creating a synergistic relationship that brings out the best in each aspect of their creative energies. Ramond feeds off the story’s spirit and comes through with a positive and accessible, yet very dope and complete piece of art that explores a variety of themes and emotions. After listening to the project and reading through the comic series, it is clear that both pieces could stand alone and be considered strong, powerful projects without assistance from each other, but the combination of the story along with the visual and musical components creates an entirely new class of art that can serve as a complete entity encompassing various talents with a focused vision.
While the powerful ideas are apparent in every aspect of the art, Ramond and Godoy made sure to make the musical element a more easy listening experience. Ramond seems to have found a sweet spot between soothing, easy vibing sounds and the powerful themes found in the comics, coming through with thoughtful and deliberate lyrics that aren’t too dense yet not sparse with intelligence either. On top of the tangible symbiotic nature between Ramond and Godoy, the project birthed enough inspiration for various other talented artists to jump on board, including an array of Denver artistry who all left a prominent mark on the tape. Complete with features from Champ, A Meazy, Mxlcxlm Z, Jay Triiiple, Shyne The Goddezz, Kid Astronaut, LPEEZ, DJ Zenas, Kent Washington III, Jelie, Sydnie Battie, and Tai Marie, as well as engineering work from Stevie Buggz and production from AkilBeatsDenver, Mic Coats, and Namebckwards, this project is a nearly all-encompassing look into the growing Denver movement and makes it clear how strong the community can be.
As the album came to a close, all the attendees got the treat of getting a sneak peak of the animated Black Sands series, which truly aids in bringing the comic to life. Even as the energy began to die down, the feeling of positivity and fellowship radiated throughout the robust crowd of people who showed up to provide support. This project and event weren’t just to showcase the work Ramond and Godoy have done, it was also to showcase the vibrant art the Denver hip hop community is capable of. This was a celebration of the movement that is growing in the Mile High City, and it has a feeling of confidence, support, and love, a potent combination that has served in the ascent of other major hip hop scenes and cities. As long as Colorado artists continue to use their opportunities to help grow and promote the talent in this state (as Ramond has continuously done) the hip hop scene will continue to grow, and more artists will become known to a national audience that has long neglected the abundance of musical aptitude coming from the Box State.
Be on the lookout for the official release of the album on December 20th, 2019. It’s a project that is full of heart and the vision and skill behind it are undeniable.