With tens of thousands of albums sold worldwide and hundreds of show rocked, the word of mouth is spreading about Sweatshop Union’s style of conscious lyrics, highly musical beats, and high energy live shows that far surpass the average hip hop concert. Sweatshop began as a collective of Vancouver-based artists pooling resources to release an album, transforming into a group in the process. The crew, made up of Kyprios, Dirty Circus, Pigeon Hole, and Innocent Bystanders, released their debut album Local 604 in late 2002 via indie label Battle Axe Records. In support of the album, they created three music videos and toured Canada with Jurassic 5 and Blackalicious, as well as their labelmates Swollen Members and Abstract Rude. This was the beginning of a relentless touring schedule that has proven to be a key catalyst to solidifying their growing fan base and maintaining momentum.
Natural Progression, Sweatshop’s sophomore album, hit streets in 2004 and cemented their position as a group to be reckoned with. More videos and touring followed; Sweatshop crisscrossed Canada, headlining several tours and also touring as the opening act for the Black Eyed Peas. Critical acclaim grew, and both college and commercial radio gave Sweatshop tracks substantial airtime. Nominations for a Juno Award (the Canadian Grammy), a MuchMusic Video Award, Canadian Radio Music Awards, and more piled up. Recognizing the appeal of Sweatshop Union’s music, music supervisors used their music in dozens of films, television shows, and video games, creating even more international awareness.
2005 brought the release of the third Sweatshop Union album, United We Fall, featuring collaborations with Rob The Viking, Mad Child (Swollen Members) and DJ Revolution (The World Famous Wake Up Show). Canada was blanketed, more albums were sold, more audiences were rocked, and more accolades (including nominations for another Juno Award and MuchMusic Video Award) were received. In 2006 Sweatshop Union hit the road in the United States for the first time, giving their American fans a taste of what is to come. Since then, Sweatshop has rocked over 100 shows a year, a pace that that they have no intention of letting up.
Sweatshop Union’s fourth album, Water Street, is close to completion and is on deck for a release in August 2008. As one of Canada’s top selling independent hip hop artists Sweatshop will be busy rocking crowds across North America as they embark on their most extensive phase of touring ever, as they begin the campaign to create awareness for Water Street. In a time when hip hop music remains soulless and simplistic in the eyes of the mainstream, Sweatshop Union remain driven to deliver a deeper, more meaningful sound into the conscience of the masses.
Sweatshop Union press quotes:
“Inventive, intelligent, and illuminating hip hop.” - Calgary Sun
“Substance and style working in perfect equilibrium. 4 out of 5.” - NOW Magazine
“Soulful, conscientious hip-hop” - Vue Weekly
“Polished but still fresh.” - Exclaim! Magazine
“Solid beats and conscious lyrics. A powerful antidote for vacant pop-rap.” - Chart Attack
“Original beats and stylish rhymes.” - University of Western Ontario Gazette
“There’s no arguing with the slickness of the music’s execution.” - The Georgia Straight
“Clever and astute. United We Fall hits the mark both viscerally and intellectually.” - This Magazine
“Solid, progressive hip hop. 8 out of 10.” - Altrap.com
“A fair comparison to the organic live sound of The Roots, one of the many different styles the Union transitions into with ease.” - Rapreviews.com
“Their lyrics, music, and videos have shown that hip-hop on the west coast was not a pop culture accident.” - Ottawa Xpress Magazine
“Distinct and diverse styles that blend together perfectly.” - MVRemix.com
“Sweatshop Union make rap smart and cool.” - Chart Attack
Sweatshop Union award nominations:
Juno Award for Outstanding Rap Recording for United We Fall
Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Rap Recording for United We Fall
MuchMusic Video Award for Best Rap Video for “Try”
Juno Award for Outstanding Rap Recording for Natural Progression
Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Rap Recording for Natural Progression
MuchMusic Video Award for Best Independent Video for “The Thing About It”
Canadian Independent Music Award for Favorite Urban Artist
Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Artist (CHR)
Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Artist (Dance/ Urban)