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Baltimore-based rapper PenDragon has big dreams and the talent to match

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23 October 2009 No Comment

Hip hop artist PenDragon, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, is shaking up the B-more scene with his critically praised and fan-approved EPs and mix tapes, music videos and live performances at Baltimore’s hottest spots for hip hop. With a new album, Prelude to Life, coming out soon, this rapper and producer – who also writes R&B and pop music and blogs on the side – has nowhere to go but up.

While PenDragon’s urban hip hop style will appeal to fans of Kanye West and Jay-Z, PenDragon infuses his music with the unique spirit of his hometown. His song “Heavy Wait” makes use of a new report from southwest Baltimore, and his video for “Baltimore Dreamin,'” which Baltimore City Paper called “surprisingly slick looking,” includes a realistic portrait of the city, from downtown rowhouses to the waterfront. PenDragon isn’t afraid to show his hometown’s grit, but at the same time, the city clearly inspires him, and his message is ultimately hopeful. As the rapper puts it, he wants “to give a voice to those that are not getting heard. And let them know that it is alright to feel all emotions of life, because everyone does, and it’s real.”

And PenDragon’s voice is definitely getting out there, through his EP The Flood and mix tapes HomeRun King, I Got Hits 4 Cheap: Draggy Baby Edition, and Revenge of the Harm City King, as well as his performances at Sonar – Baltimore’s number – one spot for hip hop – Suite Ultralounge, the Brass Monkey, and The 5 Seasons. His tunes are spun on 88.9 Strictly Hip Hop, Morgan State University’s Friday night dose of underground hip hop, and he’s gained a cult following as a result.

In addition to his fans, Baltimore area publications and music bloggers have started to take note of PenDragon’s talent. The Baltimore City Paper named I Got Hits 4 Cheap one of their favorite mix tapes of the year, saying the mostly self-produced album “strikes an unlikely balance between a contemporary hip-hop sound befitting his Jay-Z-esque flow and more offbeat, humorous touches.” The City Paper added that PenDragon’s video for Beat it Up is “more fun to watch than half the big-budget stuff clogging the internet,” while Limited Hype Magazine said “someone sign him, quick.”

On Government Names, a blog about Baltimore hip hop, Al Shipley praised PenDragon for always putting “that something extra in there,” such as the new synth and production elements the rapper added to a cover of DJ Class’s “I’m the Ish.” PenDragon also receives frequent shout-outs on music blog Rock the Dub, which called the rapper a “lyrical juggernaut” worth watching out for.

PenDragons’ EP The Flood is available on iTunes, while his mix tapes are for sale on his MySpace page, www.myspace.com/pendragon. Two new releases are coming soon, the album Prelude to Life and Welcome to Earth. PenDragon also keeps a blog at www.dragwroteit.blogspot.com, where he posts videos and writes about music and whatever else grabs his interest. He’s on Twitter at www.twitter.com/danielsunz1, and you can check out www.youtube.com/danielsunz1 to watch his live performances, interviews and music videos.

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