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Hip-hop artist releases new album in Newton

This weekend, the Maytag Bowl will host a live concert and album release event for local talent and Baxter native, Luke Hewitt, also known as Izzy Dunfore.

Dunfore will be releasing his new album ‘UGLY’ at the outdoor venue located in Maytag Park this Saturday, July 27 from 3 to 10 p.m. Hip-hop artist Kush Effect Records w/ DJ Demik will start the event, followed by Rypt the Ripper, Young Drew, B-Lo Z, Van Hartz, Merkabilities, and Professor Fresh. The evening will conclude with headliner Izzy Dunfore.

“This is my first really big production that I put together,” Dunfore said.

He describes himself as not a stereotypical rapper, or a gangster rapper, but a hip-hop musician with beats and stories. He’s proud of the fact that he grew up in central Iowa even though he moved to Minnesota in 2008. Dunfore has kept true to his humble, small town roots.

“Maytag Bowl has always been an icon to me. As a musician, it has always been a spot where I’d like to play, especially growing up in the area. I’ve been going to concerts there since I can remember and it’s an honor to get the opportunity to play there.”

The new album is more about the real life effect of ordinary life on human beings than it is about being theatrical, Dunfore said.

“I had been portraying myself the last 15 years a stereotypical rapper with a bald head, no beard, and a bandana,” he said.

For the new project, Dunfore, grew his hair and beard out the last 10 months while making the album. He had an interesting idea about how image plays a role in the music industry and ‘UGLY’ is a representation of perceptions and nonconforming.

“It’s about the way I’m treated by artists and the feelings inside me being shown physically.”

Dunfore wrote a song about how he sees the business he works in on a track titled, “The Courage.”

“That song is about how the music business has changed, and how it’s a business about selling CDs and T-shirts compared to focusing on the quality of work. The music business is about musicians outdoing each other.”

He began his career recording under the name Luke Dogg and released his first recordings in 2002. During that time, Dunfore said he has learned a lot about being a hip hop artist.

“The game changes. Many people in the business you think are your friend, but then you find out that they’re not. It’s interesting. You just have to be prepared for that type challenge.”

Dunfore is going on tour with his new album. Many think of touring to be fun, glamorous and a daily party, but it’s a lot of hard work.

“Being on tour is interesting because you’re away from everything you know. It’s definitely out of routine. Not only do you have to eat, sleep, and take care of yourself, but you have to save money, conserve energy and promote yourself. The whole thing is networking, meeting people and making a connection.”

Touring isn’t always easy, but it’s a necessary networking experience. It’s important to keep up with performing so that people don’t forget who you are and to continue making progress in those communities.

While Dunfore is home he will be visiting his family and friends, and enjoying his time back in Jasper County. Next Friday night, Dunfore will be performing and promoting his new album at Cadillac Jack’s in Baxter. After his performance, Dunfore is headed to New York City to continue touring.

As a hip-hop artist, he’s worked with numerous people on albums, but this one he is particularly proud for putting together himself and is looking forward to the album release event this weekend.

“I don’t normally get nervous about a show, but I am excited. It should be my greatest show yet,” he said of the show on Saturday at Maytag Park.

The event costs $15 if purchased before Satuday and $20 on Saturday. Advance tickets can be purched at the Speakeasy in Newton. The event at the Maytag Bowl allows concert goers to bring in their own beverage.

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