What happens when two handfuls of dope artists join together in a collective to take over the music scene in a largely slept on area of the nation? Sandpeople–which consists of Sapient, Ethic, Simple, DJ Spark, IAME, Goldini Bagwell, OnlyOne, Illmaculate, Al-One, and Mo-B.

The Rose City’s most respected independent rap group will be performing at Branx in Portland this St. Patrick’s Day,  March 17th. The event will be hosted by Andy Milonakis and will feature performances by Calvin Valentine feat TxE, Quiz and Vinnie Dewayne.

Illmaculate is the most noteworthy member, and has become a veteran in the battle rap scene. (He was scheduled to battle Uno Lavoz, but the battle was unfortunately cancelled due to “family issues with Uno.”) From winning the Scribble Jam freestyle rap competition at age 18 in 2004 (making him the youngest winner in the competition’s history), to winning the 2006 Spin the Mic competition, to teaming up with The Saurus to win the 2006 and 2007 World Rap Championships – this dude is not to be taken lightly in a battle of lyricism. Shit, personally I’d be terrified to even play Scrabble with him. His achievements have got him recognized by Drake, and landed him named as one of The Best MySpace Rappers in America by Vibe Magazine.

Sapient is quite possibly the hardest grinding force in the group–maintaining a rigorous release and touring schedule. He also handles all of his own production, engineering, video, design, artwork, booking, and finances–making him the true independent, DIY artist. The impressiveness of this is doubled when you take into account the fact that he’s also currently a husband and a father of two children.

Several of the Sandpeople members have collaborated together into subgroups, making the entirety of the Sandpeople discography extremely interwoven and intricate, and totaling over 50 releases since 2004. Sapient and Ethic joined to form Debaser; IAME, Mo-B, and Simple joined to form Redshield; Simple, Mo-B, and OnlyOne joined to form Bad Neighbors; Goldini Bagwell, IAME, and DJ Spark joined to form Clockwerk, and Mo-B and OnlyOne joined to form The Hate. The length of the Sandpeople discography in all of its branches should be enough music to keep your CD case full alone (or iPod, whatever).

If you’re a fan of independent hip hop from the Pacific Northwest, undoubtedly you’ve heard of Sandpeople. But here’s something you might not know about them: Within two months of forming in 2004, and before most of the members had even met face to face, they recorded and released their debut album Points of View over a two week span. It actually wasn’t until the recording of their second album, All In Vain, that many of the Sandpeople finally met everyone in their crew. For a group that started out as mostly strangers and acquaintances, the cohesive and polished signature sound they’ve continued to grind out since their inception is impressive.

RSVP on the event’s Facebook Page