Breaking new ground in Denver’s hip-hop scene

Ground Broken  discusses collaboration and local vibe

Ground Broken, consisting of Producer Surreal (David Lesperance) and Lyricist Escro (Rembert Hann), both CU Denver students, is a musical movement in hip-hop that has produced a lot of influence in the Denver area.

Ground Broken Artists Surreal (left) and Escro (Right) want to transform Denver. Photo credit: Isaiah Mancha · The Sentry

When asked about who their inspiration was to start such a movement, the list was sizeable with the names of rappers listed, from “Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang, J. Cole, Nas,” Surreal said, “the spectrum of artists who just speak that truth, and it’s more of a poetry than a business.” He compared how the rise of Ground Broken is like the form of art that brought up their inspirations.  Lesperance talked about how they started out freestyling. “The pioneers who built it themselves, that chased their dreams, started from the ground up,” Surreal said. This is the concept for Ground Broken.

Ground Broken is an independent, underground hip-hop group with a DIY spirit. “We like to go back to the roots and do a lot of live recording, live freestyles, back how we started out,” Surreal explained.

It started at first with freestyling, rhyming, and hanging out with friends. The atmosphere built was fun and enjoyable. From this, Surreal and Escro were able to break out into the open, performing at a lot of house parties before they graduated to bigger shows. 

The duo strives to do more work in the community, wanting to collaborate and work with different artists in the area to form a unity of locally promoted music on a national level. “We want to push the music scene,” Surreal stated. “I want to see Denver become a music club city like Los Angeles and New York City; Denver has the ability to build a scene like them.”

Currently, they are working on a Growroom Cipher Series in which musical notes are used to spell out words and abbreviations. “We’re taking this one more to a Colorado level with actually shooting in grow houses,” Escro described. They believe that this is not only a project that will help them grow as artists but will further their outreach in the community and create a form of brotherhood between artists and producers in the city. With this, they hope to see a growth in musical culture that has not been seen in the hip-hop scene for a long time. Ground Broken has worked with many people, like Top Flight and The Reminders, while at the same time have received help from other producers in the process.

Ground Broken wants to encourage local collaborations. When asked about whether there is any competition when trying to promote this partnership, that answer was no. It’s all about encouragement and working together.

Ground Broken hopes to continue their growth in creating a new feel for the music. They have a goal to bring back a sense of partnership, that will help the growth of musical culture. The aspirations are not only local but expand to different areas around the nation.

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