By MICHAEL ANDERSON
When people think of rappers, they tend to think mainly of New York and Los Angeles. That is a mistake, since vibrant rap scenes have developed around the country. One act representing Tucson is Monstrosity.
Monstrosity is a duo consisting of Tucson native Rickey Barrow, 23, and Nathan Billings, 24, from Carson City, Nev. Billings moved to Tucson as an infant and met Barrow in kindergarten at Marshall Elementary. They’ve been good friends ever since.
Barrow, whose stage name is Pyro, grew up listening primarily to rock and began his musical career as a vocalist and drummer for a series of rock bands. He didn’t start rapping until he was around 16. Billings, who goes by the name D.O.K., started rapping at age 11.
In 2006 they formed Monstrosity along with three other friends, but have since become a duo.
Their influences include Eminem, Crooked I, Tech N9ne and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony although they stress originality.
“Always be yourself, don’t feel the need to imitate,” Pyro said.
“Don’t ever be afraid to be who you are and say what you mean,” echoed D.O.K.
They don’t like to categorize their sound but D.O.K. described it as “an explosion of music.” Their eclectic style is responsible for their name.
“Someone described us as a Frankenstein of genres, hence Monstrosity,” D.O.K. said.
Their manager, Han Yi of Sic6 Music, describes Monstrosity as “underground hip-hop.” Yi has been working with the group since early 2012 and has helped them begin recording.
Soon they’ll be distributing a sampler CD, “The First Fix is Free.” They’re also working on a compilation with other Tucson rappers titled “Sin Over Struggle.” They’ve completed an EP called “Definition of Ra(w)” that will be released in early 2014.
While they’re just starting to release recordings, they’ve been performing live for years. They’ve played at the Runway, Night Terrorz, Main Street and Club Congress, among others. Their favorite show was opening for Slaughterhouse at the Rialto.
They love to perform and interact with the crowd.
“We like to get people engaged,” D.O.K. said.
Monstrosity is proud to represent Tucson as their home and they have a request of fellow Tucsonans.
“Support your local artists,” D.O.K. said
“Please show some love and support for all the rappers and musicians,” Pyro added.
In addition to rapping, Pyro writes poetry and D.O.K. draws and does graffiti art. They both believe in the value of art as personal expression and encourage others to create their own art and patronize artists of all types.
Monstrosity will perform on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. at The V, 9 E. Congress St. Admission will be $5 and is limited to those 21 and up.
For more information about Monstrosity, go to AudioZombee.com.