Local Hip-Hop Artist Raises Funds for Northside’s Apple Street Market

Before Bryan Burke would tell me anything about his new project, we had to finish watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars. “They don’t really know where Yoda came from,” Burke explains.

From his home production studio, Burke tells me about Grocery Choppin’, a sample-heavy 25-track instrumental album that he produced with Scott Gafvert of Waldo from Cincinnati. The proceeds of the album will be put towards an ownership share for the planned Apple Street Market co-op in Northside, to be donated to a local low-income family.

Grocery Choppin’

Album image courtesy Bryan Burke

The two released the album on Friday at the Chameleon in Northside in a show featuring local acts such as Sons of Silverton, Vibe-One, and Nikko from Know Prisoners. They will also be launching a crowd-sourcing campaign through Indiegogo to raise $2,000 to press 300 records. Two hundred of the records will be promised to those who donated $10 to the cause, with the remaining 100 being sold for $20. The proceeds will be donated to the grocery share.

Burke and Gafvert’s ode on a grocery store layers samples of funky ’70s-style elevator music with heavy drum and bass lines, as with the song “Frito Bandito” (inspired by the Fritos mascot of the late ’60s). “It’s not a dark, moody kind of album,” Burke says. “It’s brighter, happier, and just reminds me of the vibe of a grocery store.” Nearly every song works in vocal snippets from film and television to keep it cheeky (we caught lines from Bambi and Conan the Barbarian in “Flowers”). And Burke does have a favorite: “I love the track ‘Buttamilk;’ it’s just so damn smooth.”

According to the 2010 census, 22.3% of the Northside community is below the poverty line, with 40% of the community hovering around the poverty line. Apple Street Market plans to provide access to affordable, yet quality ingredients and food, within walking distance of most of the community. The store is on track to open in 2020, according to Heather Sturgill, a community activist who has served on the Northside Community Council and is among those spearheading the project.

Promotional art for Grocery Choppin’, made by local artist Wade Foster (a.k.a Samuel Steezemore).

Image courtesy Bryan Burke

“Our intent is to go into neighborhoods that the traditional corporate grocery model has abandoned,” Sturgill explains. “We look forward to hearing the album; we think it’s a wonderful consideration from this artist to donate to a cause he believes in,” says Sturgill.

“I like the idea of grocery co-ops,” Burke says. “It was a way we could play around with this grocery album and attach it to some kind of cause. You know, we’re not going to raise money for Kroger, but Apple Street Market is still kind of pushing through.”

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