Independent hip-hop artists gather at Cactus Records

On a sunny Friday afternoon, the streets of Bozeman are buzzing with activity. An usually quiet record store is unusually busy, bustling with a half dozen of hip-hop’s most fiercely independent artists. The place is Cactus Records and the man with the plan is Josh Perkins.

Perkins owns Justus Entertainment, a group dedicated to bringing quality music to Bozeman. Justus teamed up with Cactus Records to bring half a dozen independent hip-hop artists to a preview session before they performed at Zebra Bar the Friday before Spring break.

“I played football at MSU for a bit,” Perkins said, “but now I’m trying to bring live hip-hop to downtown. Cactus Records is one of the last independent record shops and bringing artists that are also independent is something that is really important to me.”

Many smaller musical acts and believe supporting local record stores is a cause worthy of importance. With national record companies having an increased dominance over the music industry, and the prevalence of digital music, many local stores are struggling to hold on. According to the Wall Street Journal, by 2016, record store sales are projected to drop a whopping 77.4 percent.

Much of modern music seems, at least to Perkins, to be right out of the cookie cutter from big record labels. “Independent music allows the industry to keep a large diversity of music. In hip-hop especially, you can love one artist and someone else can hate them because their songs are actually different.” Perkins added “It’s like an onion, with different layers that appeal to different people.”

At the preview a small crowd gathered to listen in to raw music. One of the artists present, Pat Maine, has been writing poetry since the young age of eleven. First inspired by Shel Silverstein, he became enveloped with the power and flow of language. Gradually, he began to rap and experiment with hip-hop. The Salt Lake City native has played “everywhere from New York to L.A.” with his group Alive and Well Family.

“Bozeman is one of the coolest places in America,” Maine added, “and we always have a good time when we come through here.”

The show also featured Ras Kas, Abstract Rude, MYKA 9, El Gant and The Wurx. Perkins plans to have a more aggressive approach to bring life to downtown Bozeman with more events this summer.

To find out more on what Justus has planned visit thejegroup.com.