Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Mac Jar, Monikape & Chris Rene

music lylbChris Rene, Keith Squires (Monikape), and Jarret Cox (Mac Jar) met like many Santa Cruz punk kids do—while skateboarding. “We’d cause a ruckus and the cops would harass us,” recalls Rene, who attended New Brighton Middle School with Cox. But when his friend and his sister died in the same year, 16-year-old Squires turned to rap for solace.

He would invite Rene to visit his “janky” home studio to lay down beats. “At first, we’d rap about food—like bacon and cornbread,” laughs Rene. Soon the trio turned their freestyling gibberish into meticulously crafted rhymes that focused on positivity. “Growing up in Santa Cruz was all about skateboarding and going to the beach,” explains Cox. “We didn’t get into gang stuff.” The group’s appreciation for family, friends and the “Cali sunshine” is evidenced in “Thankful,” one of several club-ready bounces that features rhymes by Monikape and Mac Jar, with a chorus anchored by Rene’s smooth vocals. Their optimistic philosophy dates back to 2002 when Rene created Love Life Musik. “I had a dream when I was living in L.A.,” Rene explains. “I was in the clouds, there was a bright blue sky, and Tupac was talking to me, with ‘Thug Life’ tattooed on his stomach … A few months passed and I realized what he was saying to me: ‘No matter if you’ve been through the drug or thug life, at the end of the road, all I wanted was to love life.’ So that week I got a ‘Love Life’ tattoo.” And ever since, the three have channeled life’s challenges into inspirational lyrics. This Thursday, Mac Jar and Monikape will spread that message at The Catalyst. Asked what to expect, Squires said, “Club knockers, good dance music, and positive vibes throughout the night. Come out and love your life.”

INFO: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/adv, $10/door. 423-1338. To buy Monikape & Mac Jar’s album “No Distractions,” visit iTunes or Streetlight Records. Follow all three on Twitter.

Comments (11)Add Comment
written by Chrissy Hamilton, March 11, 2012
I'm friends with Keiths Aunt Llora and she introduced me o Monikape and OMG they are AMAZING!!!! You guys need to come to Oregon and play. I now listen to your CD all the time! Kick ass music. Thanks guys!!! Keep up the killer talent you all have and good luck in the future you will all do FANTASTIC!!!!
written by Robyn Wright, January 22, 2012
Keith has been a friend of my kids for a long time, they tuned me in to his unique, upbeat sound. Ever since Ive been a loyal fan of his and Jar's......because of this, I tuned into to watch Chris on X Factor, voting like a mad-woman at the end of every show, lol.
All I can say, is stay tuned world.....the name of Monikape will be hitting your ear waves soon!!!!!
written by Skimp, January 18, 2012
"Lifes too short gotta live it long"
written by Old School Roots from Santa Cruz, January 12, 2012
Hmm nice story and all,I support all talent comin from SC,But just like you all are supporting C.Renee and hiz groups,show the same support for the talent that you are shadowing in the corner(klowery,plefty,ggang,LadyIle)just to metion there are others.I am a sc native til I die(skateboard park-n.bridges,westcliff we all hung out there, circle market,lighthouse point, all super star surfing )natural bridges, mission hill,SCHS(all local westside. Harbor,Soquel,Aptos,SLV)was the outsiders. That was just a lil insight of my roots. Just don't forget where ya came from. Support them all. Thats wat sc really represent.
written by melissad52077, January 12, 2012
We need more groups like this in Atlanta - it seems like the music scene here is so negative! Buying 'No Distractions' tomorrow!! #LoveLifeArmy!!
written by corey ryan, January 12, 2012
written by M.E. Squires, January 12, 2012
Always love seeing you live...C U guys tonight!!! xo "your mom"
written by Conniecatz, January 12, 2012
This is a group you will enjoy. All good guys and fun. The CD "NO DISTRACTOINS", is a must have!
My FAV songs, track 3, track 7, and track 13!!!! GO buy it a support our Santa Cruz locals!!!
written by Klechner65, January 11, 2012
Wish I could be there to see your show! I will catch your posts on Twitter. Sending Lovebombs to you both! Have fun! - Karen
written by Erin Lynch, January 11, 2012
I absolutely Love you guys :) Love how you turned a negative into a positive!
written by DianaMae, January 11, 2012

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 2

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Extra Pop

Assembly’s pop-up space goes into regular rotation, Cabrillo wine dinner, and a visit to Mozaic


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired