Mantis Fist has been around this block—many times. An Albuquerque hip-hop staple, the Fist has brought it’s undefinable breed of underground hip-hop to our stages since 2000. "We’ve performed over 100 shows here," says Keith Connell. "We’ve played with everybody."Keith and Ken Connell are twins and the brains that build the beats to support Setz and brothers Oki and Narata (pronounced "narrator"), who do the rhyming. The Connells find themselves drawn to classic rock, and though they don’t use many samples, they got permission from the Grateful Dead’s publishers to use a snippet for the track "Bug Life" on their new disc, Zen Archers.Their first show was at a New Year’s house party for the new millennium, followed by a set at the Launchpad’s new band night in front of a packed house. Weeks later, thanks to beginner’s luck and notable talent, they found themselves opening for the Gluey Brothers.Though Keith can’t define exactly the type of hip-hop they perform ("I think it’s easier for people who aren’t in the band to describe it," he says), he is clear about the process. "We don’t necessarily try to make something unique," he says. "We try to make stuff people will appreciate, and it does come out unique."
Mantis Fist releases Zen Archers on Saturday, Sept. 16, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge. The show is free, but only open to Mantis lovers 21-and-over.