Free Sol stepped onto the stage because he wanted to be the future of hip-hop. He wanted to move the genre forward with new rhymes and new ideas.
"I hope to keep hip-hop evolving," he said. "It cannot be a mic and two turntables forever."
¤ 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
¤ Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue
In 2002, he founded the band Free Sol, named after himself. The band established itself in its hometown of Memphis before it began touring.
Sol fronts the band with his rhymes and is backed by a live band. The band warms up the audience with soul music and works its way -- one song at a time -- through jazz and gospel toward a high-energy, Southern-rap style.
"We get our audience hypnotized first," Sol said, "and then we're in your face. There are really no boundaries with us. We're fresh. We're krunk."
Sol said his band is hip-hop with the energy of a rock band and the complexity of a jazz band.
This is Free Sol's first time in Steamboat Springs, and if the band's career continues to progress at the speed it has this year, this may be its last tour on the small-venue circuit.
In April, the group won the 2005 BMI Urban Music Showcase in Atlanta, and people in the industry started talking seriously about the future of Free Sol. In September, a couple of record labels approached the group, and Free Sol is signing with a label. For legal reasons, the band can't mention the label name, but it would be fair to say that if the deal goes through, Free Sol's next album will receive considerable attention.
Sol's song "Busy Watchin' Me" could come true. The message of the song is: "Nobody knows you, because they're too busy watchin' me."