Kalen Lander has to be THE preeminent hip hop artist of Tempe. He leads the beat heavy outfit known as TKLB? (The Kalen Lander Band) and lends his raps to any essential band that will have him. He also happens to be the brother of the devastatingly great Mikel Lander, founder and guiding force in The Sugar Thieves. I have been waiting for TKLB? to put out an album for the entire five years that I have known Lander and I’m hoping that in the next year that will happen. He is however, something of a true, “in the moment” performance artist and would rather hop on a stage for an improv than lay down tracks in the studio and that has to be respected. Mainly it’s respected because he can pull it off and throw out a bevvy of rhymes at the drop of a hat without thinking about it. While TKLB? may not have an album, Kalen has contributed to several recordings and tends to enhance a few artists live performances with his hip hop schemes. He has contributed to two tracks by Japhy’s Descent. The first was “Ballad Of Dean” off their album Moon Noon and more recently he lays down some rap on “House Of Wood,” both of which are stunning performances. At the height of Long Wong’s heyday, Lander was a bartender there and one of the greatest things is that he would leave the bar for a few minutes and hop on stage with whoever was playing to give his groove to the moment on stage-then he would dash back and take your order for a drink. Stunning. Live he contributes to Sister Lip’s stage show on “Pure Honey” and “Ride The Pony”, he will also be featured on the highly anticipated new album from Darkness Dear Boy. Future Loves Past has a recording as well of a Beatles cover set at The Rogue where he is featured. It appears that wherever hip hop is needed in Tempe, Kalen Lander will come to the rescue, not because he’s just available, but because he’s the best.