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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
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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!!!!
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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!!!!!
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written by Skimp, January 18, 2012
"Lifes too short gotta live it long"
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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.
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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!!
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written by corey ryan, January 12, 2012
LOVE LIFE
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written by M.E. Squires, January 12, 2012
Always love seeing you live...C U guys tonight!!! xo "your mom"
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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!!!
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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
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written by Erin Lynch, January 11, 2012
I absolutely Love you guys :) Love how you turned a negative into a positive!
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written by DianaMae, January 11, 2012
LOVE LIFE!!

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