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Maxila Blue's Asphate opens mind on solo album

Asphate is best known as the M.C. of Des Moines's preeminent hip hop group, Maxilla Blue, but this week the focus is on his solo material. Asphate plays a release show for his new vinyl, "Closed Doors to An Open Mind" Friday at Vaudeville Mews.

Asphate did most of the writing for "Closed Doors" while on tour with his Galapagos4 label mates in Europe. He felt it was an opportunity to expand himself creatively. Once back in Des Moines, he started working with producer Maker to flash out the album, rather than his longtime Maxilla Blue collaborator Aeon Gey.

"Because he's a totally different producer and a very tenured producer, my approach had to be quite a bit different, I got to play it as more of a student," Asphate said. "I haven't always taken feedback when creating, but after Maker would listen to something I'd follow through on his advice and suggestions because he's someone I highly respect."

Comparing "Closed Doors" to his Maxilla Blue work, Asphate said it's all on him now. He was the one arranging for recording, getting the music mastered, artwork done and make sure deadlines were met. It's been time consuming, but he wanted to make sure everything was right. And if someone doesn't like an aspect, he's willing to take the blame there as well.

He will be backed by Maxilla Blue's DJ TouchNice at Friday's show. Maker was supposed to perform with Qwel at the show, but had to withdraw. Galapagos4 rapper Hellsent and Outerlimitz are filling in.

Rapping is just one element of hip hop. Bboying and graffiti are other big parts, and Asphate is heavily involved with each. His work has been prominantely displayed at the Des Moines Social Club, and he'll be reworking the Social Club's viaduct wall this year. He also has some graffiti workshops set for this year.

As for more work with Maxilla Blue, Asphate said he thinks it's coming, through he doesn't know when.

"We've always based it off of feel and vibe and have never confined ourselves to expectations," Asphate said. "In the past, by the time we were in post production on one album we had already recorded another track or two for the follow up. This time didn't work out that way. It's cool, it opened up some opportunities for solo efforts, but I don't see any reason we wouldn't get together in the near future."

Asphate is also seeing some promising rising acts in the Des Moines hip hop scene. Both O.U.E. and Rare Breed, who open the early show, are groups Asphate has been keeping an eye on.

"I think it looks really promising, in the past the scene was trying to bud but now I think we've got some legit, solid acts in the city," Asphate said. "I seem to get surprised now and then, there's some heat brewing in the city."

As Phate album release show

When: 5 p.m. and 1 0 p.m. Friday

Where: Vaudeville Mews, 212 Fourth St.

Cost: $5