Audiopharmacy Prescriptions kicked off their tour in San Francisco at Public Works, an art gallery, bar and community space in the Mission District, performing to hundreds of fans singing along and dancing, Feb. 7.
By Feb. 15, Teao Thompson, 35, SF State communications graduate, along with bandmates Ras K’Dee, Keepyahjoy, and Kwome, will be en route to Indonesia to begin their 35-day-long tour in the South Pacific with American Music Abroad, a program administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The eclectic hip-hop ensemble originated in 1994 in San Jose. Founder, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Thompson and partner, illustrator, poet and emcee Zygoat, started II Sense, the first of many groups —eventually evolving into today’s Audiopharmacy Prescriptions. The collective now includes more than 40 members dedicated to working on various community projects throughout San Francisco and worldwide.
“We share similar goals in a sense of global impact through conscious lifestyle, taking care of Mother Earth, self-sustainability, working with the youth, etc,” Thompson said.
Out of 300 bands around the nation that applied for the program last year, Audiopharmacy was one of 40 bands chosen.
“In addition to performances, we will be acting as music and cultural ambassadors to high school and college students in underserved areas,” Thompson said.
Thompson fronted most of the work on both the business and musical side, until Jo Cruz, operations manager and SF State American Asian studies and political science alum, joined the crew nearly five years ago.
“I was working for a biotech company providing counseling, doing non-profit work and volunteering for two years before joining,” Cruz said.
Although she was new to the music industry, it opened up new possibilities for her to learn more about the collective and about herself.
“It was a different world, and fun and family-oriented and I just felt good vibes. I immediately felt part of the family,” Cruz said . “Everything I wanted to learn in college began to manifest and I was able to better understand my role in Audiopharmacy.”
In addition to the the South Pacific tour, Audiopharmacy have bigger plans for the rest of the year.
“Right now we’re working on getting the instrumental album out, coming out after the tour,” Cruz said. “We’re also planning for another tour in Europe at the end of the year.”
After listening to the album a few times, it took some time for Alexa Kern, 20, third year political science major, to get into the music.
“It’s slightly better than something you would hear at Dolores Park,” Kern said. “It’s music you may have to accompany with pot.”
One does not have to be a musician, artist or activist to feel a part of the Audiopharmacy family.
“Our love and care for one another stems from friendship,” Cruz said. “If you have good energy and it feels right, then you’re already a part of us.”