Better Taste Bureau
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Better Taste Bureau

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Hip Hop




"SLC's The Better Taste Bureau is successfully ditching traditional rap conventions"

Simply existing as a rap group in Utah is no longer unique. The “who knew that quality hip-hop could come from a state known for white Mormons?” storyline needs to be retired like Drake’s Degrassi wheelchair.

For a while, it did in fact seem like Utah hip-hop suffered from a self-prescribed inferiority complex. But at this point, rap is a global canvas—a space where demographics are blurred and originality is the only currency that matters. Salt Lake City’s Better Taste Bureau (formerly known as Hurris & Gig) probably understands this concept better than most.

Consisting of emcees Ben Harris and Shaun Bussard and in-house producer Mason Brewer, the Better Taste Bureau has figured out a way to create polished rap that both fits outside of Utah’s borders and remains remarkably local.

“Honestly, we don’t compare ourselves to anyone locally,” Harris says. “We compare ourselves to artists like Kanye.”

Sure, this comparison might come across as a presumptuous Yeesuz boast. But Better Taste Bureau’s most recent release, the free-to-download Better Taste EP, is a short and potent exhibit of how a rap group can break the rules of locally produced hip-hop.

At only four tracks deep, it might seem like The Better Taste EP doesn’t cover a lot of territory. But in less than 15 minutes of music, the EP fires through Cudi-inspired hooks, stream-of-consciousness boast raps and even indie-pop anthems. It’s this EP’s overall diversity that earned it a spot on City Weekly’s “Top 10 SLC Rap Releases of 2013” list a couple of weeks back.

The best example of this overt originality is the opening track, “Lookin’ Back.” Brewer lays down a sample-free collage of marching-band bass lines, rolling snares and Xaphoon Jones-like synths. The sound seems to be crafted less for rappers to fill bars and more specifically for local singer Luna Lune, whose haunting voice seamlessly floats between Harris and Bussard’s methodical raps. As Guru once said, “It’s all about the voice,” and Lune has golden pipes. The track is a massive effort, and it’s also a fair glimpse of Brewer’s musical prowess.

Without a doubt, this 22-year-old producer is the backbone of Better Taste Bureau. His production is painstakingly purposeful, and it’s clear that Brewer enjoys breaking out of traditional rap formulas and taking risks that other producers won’t. The fact that he “barely even listens to rap music,” Harris says, might contribute to this.

But the thing that really sets Better Taste Bureau apart from their contemporaries is their ability to craft serious, meticulous raps while somehow coming across like they’re actually enjoying themselves. “Beans and Brews, Beans and Brews, life for me is just Beans and Brews,” Harris rhymes on the track “Too Many,” a song that humorously jabs at Utah hipsters who often attend rap shows. The lyric is a glaring plug to Schoolboy Q’s “weed and brew, weed and brew” line from the single “Hands on the Wheel.” It’s these little wordplay nuggets scattered throughout The Better Taste EP that ultimately make this project fun to listen to.

However, it should be mentioned that Bussard and Harris don’t have too much fun—they never swear, ever. “I don’t even think about it anymore,” Harris says. “When I first started [rapping], I was like, ‘I’m not gonna swear,’ but now it doesn’t even come to mind. It’s a syllable, really.”

Thanks to that decision, the group has often been confused as an LDS rap group, but that’s not the case. “When we performed at U92’s Summer Jam, everyone thought we were from Provo, but Shaun and I live in the Avenues and Mason lives in Holladay,” Harris says. “None of us are active members [of the LDS Church], and we’re not Christian rappers by any means.”

But their choice to not use the always-popular “B-word” or all the other cuss bombs usually heard in rap music doesn’t really matter. After all, Jay-Z and Beyoncé recently went vegan, so one could argue that just about anything and everything is acceptable in rap music. And, despite what you’re probably thinking, Better Taste Bureau still delivers lyrically without the Will Smith corniness.

“You and me, we are not alike. You rap to other rappers and we sell out weeknights,” Harris spits on the track “Out West.” Perhaps Utah rap will always suffer from little-brother syndrome, but The Better Taste EP stands on its own, and it’s refreshing to stumble upon a project that is simply a good time waiting to be heard. - City Weekly

"Better Taste Bureau work like underdogs to get to the top."

When Better Taste Bureau first stepped onstage at The Complex on March 1, the entire vibe of the room changed. And toward the end of their set, when they dropped their massive single “Out West”—from their December 2013 release, The Better Taste EP—the audience got instantly rowdy and slammed harder than an early-’90s ONYX show. It was then that showcase judge and Mic Masters CEO Nate Syncronice turned to me with a look of shock perhaps best described as “Macaulay Culkin face.”

There are a lot of factors that play into a quality live hiphop performance, but, without a doubt, the ability to get the crowd hyped is one of the most important variables of any show. And Better Taste Bureau’s Shaun Bussard, Ben Harris and Mason Brewer have found a way to perfect it.

Like a football coach prepping for a game, BTB film the majority of their gigs, combing over the footage and picking out what works and what doesn’t.

“We look at the film and make some critiques,” Bussard says. “We try to keep it genuine and natural so when we go onstage, everything seems like clockwork.”

Their sets are diesel-injected— no fillers, no love ballads, just bangers and mash. “High-energy sets are what we do best,” Harris says. “For [the CWMAs], we knew we had to be the group with the most energy.”

And the approach paid off. BTB was one of the few groups that really went out of their way to engage the crowd with a healthy dose of call & response tracks: “When I say ‘too many,’ you say ‘hipsters,’” for example.

On a related note, “Too Many” is a track I hope they play when they perform at this summer’s Twilight Concert Series.

“Honestly, hipsters love making fun of other hipsters, so I think it’ll go over pretty well,” Brewer says with a laugh.

It’s this sort of honesty and humor that makes BTB so ridiculously accessible and fun to listen to. Their sound is squeaky clean, well-produced and extremely calculated—every lyric is deliberate and precise, and just about every beat seems to have been washed and rinsed by Brewer’s mad-scientist fingers.

“I think people get into our tracks because they’re catchy and our call & response stuff is pretty simple,” Brewer says. “People just naturally get excited when they see other people putting their hands up and getting live, so crowd interaction is really important.”

However, just existing as a quality high-energy act only goes so far; you still have to get people out to your shows. In their relatively short existence, BTB have nonchalantly thrown some of the best and biggest local hip-hop shows. In April 2013, the release party for their album As Good As It Was packed more than 200 people into The Shred Shed and sold out a week in advance.

“We don’t have a street team or anything like that,” Harris says. “We actually do a lot of promotion ourselves, and we have a very loyal group of friends and fans that love helping us out.”

But even though they have a substantial and dedicated fanbase, BTB are motivated by the self diagnosed status as Salt Lake City hip-hop underdogs.

“We’ve been underestimated for so long that it’s actually helped us and motivated us to be better,” Harris says.

Being driven to surpass their contemporaries is something BTB has thrived on, but remarkably, they’ve done it with little to no trash talk—a rarity in hip-hop.

“We’re our best critics,” Brewer says. “Every day, we’re constantly reminding each other that a certain bar is sort of whack, or that a beat isn’t necessarily that great. We’re definitely tough on each other, and I think that pushes us to improve.”

In other words, they put in work —a lot of it. And over the past 12 months, they’ve had a meteoric ascent.

They were crowned as U92’s Home Grown Champions in summer 2013 and performed in front of roughly 5,000 people at Summer Jam. In November, they dropped an insanely creative Groundhog Day inspired rap video for the song “Looking Back,” featuring Luna Lune. And now, Better Taste Bureau is City Weekly’s Rapper (er, rap group?) of the Year.

As a thank-you, the new kings of Salt Lake City leaked “Outliers,” a single off their new album of the same name, due out in April. The track can be heard at, and they’ll be making a triumphant return to The Complex on May 3 for the Outliers release party. CW - City Weekly

"[Under The Radar] Profile: Better Taste Bureau"

When you come from an area not familiar with the culture you are trying to push you have to adapt to the surroundings and that’s exactly what the guys of Better Taste Bureau are doing.

“Where ya from? Yeah, don’t know of that place/ Yeah we heard it one too many times” Hurris raps on the title track of “Outliers.”

Repping Salt Lake City, the two rappers Hurris and Gig alongside producer Mason Brewer are taking the power of their music to break out of a non-traditional hip-hop city. Producer Mason Brewer infuses a more rock sound into the music showing that they aren’t the traditional rap group.

“It all happened organically and naturally because Mason was already working with us a lot anyway,” Hurris said about Mason joining as the full-time producer. “We wanted to do make a product that was distinctly our own sound. Hurris & Gig had a similar sound to a lot of other sampled hip-hop music. Working solely with Mason makes for eclectic and original music,” he said.

“Outliers” is the first official project of the Better Taste Bureau trio and the title alone explains their thoughts on the place they come from. Mason said that the title identifies their roots and that even in their hometown they can feel like outsiders for being different.

“It basically means that we are different from everyone else. From our city to our music, we stand apart from the rest of the hip-hop genre,” Mason said.

The trio is unlike any other group out there right now, with the total production of the album coming from one man. The two rappers choose from the beats that Mason has cooked up for them, and if they don’t like them they get scrapped or tucked away for another time, according to Mason.


[Buy Better Taste Bureau's Outliers album on iTunes HERE]
Working with one producer can make for some struggles, but according to the Better Taste Bureau rappers it works well because they can influence how they want it to sound. They said the beat usually comes before writing the lyrics, and as for who gets to spit first on the track, it’s how it sounds more than anything.

“We believe that our music has a different sound and story that no one has heard before. That along with a hard work ethic will get us there,” Gig said.

Over 600 people showed up to the release party in May for the “Outliers” party, but they know that is only the beginning. Perfecting their craft is something that they said separates them from the rest, always wanting it to sound better.

An element that also makes them stick out is that producer Mason also not only make the beats, but plays some of them live. Coming down from behind the DJ stand Mason plays the guitar on multiple tracks during the set. Although a live band is something that could eventually be added the guys said right now sticking to just making their craft is the lane they want to stay in.

- See more at: - Jenesis Magazine

"Better Taste Bureau - Out West"

There’s something very infectious about Out West, a new single from Salt Lake City trio Better Taste Bureau. It’s either the drum-filled, Cowboy/Western guitar melody provided by the group’s producer, Mason Brewer, or the confident, rapid flows from emcees Hurris and Gig. Let’s just settle on the fact that BTB is kicking some new flavor for your ears (word to Craig Mack). Then again, when you take the group’s Northwest roots into consideration, their refreshing sound and style isn’t all that surprising. Newfound fans anxious for more tunes will be hearing more from the group very soon, since they won’t be taking any days off before the May release of their debut album. Till then, grab up their The Better Taste EP, hosted by The DJBooth for free stream and download. - DJ Booth

"New Artist Spotlight: Better Taste Bureau"

Had the pleasure to interview rising indie group Better Taste Bureau hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah. The trio consists of Two rappers, Hurris and Gig and producer Mason Brewer. They talk about their debut project “Outliers” a 12 track full-length album and winning City Weekly’s Rappers of the Year and U92?s (92.5 FM in SLC) first Homegrown Hip Hop Champions. Stream the interview below: -

"Better Taste Bureau: Outliers"

After the release of the acclaimed singles “Lookin’ Back”, “Out West”, and “Heisman”, Salt City Lake trio Better Taste Bureau drop their debut project Outliers, a 12 track full-length album showcasing their unique brand of hip-hop coming from an unlikely place, but put together in a way that can stand up with any major release around while still staying true to a core sound and feel. Performing to a crowd of over 600 hometown faithful at their release party over the weekend, the group looks to make waves on the national scene and show media folks why they need to keep their eye on what’s happening in the Great Salt Lake. - Kevin Nottingham

"Impeccable Taste: Better Taste Bureau"

Let me tell y’all what it’s like
Being male, middle-class and white
It’s a b*tch, if you don’t believe
Listen up to my new CD

I got sh*t runnin’ throught my brain
It’s so intense that I can’t explain
All alone in my white-boy pain.

I’m not going to lie. When these boys walk up on stage, I am prepared for some cheesy suburban white-boy anger. But what I got instead, was some freaking furry in a fun basket of real talent. I’m floored. I’ve seen Hurris, (lead rapper) before. He’s got some things to say, and you better listen up, because shit just got real- real fun.


Meeting with local band, Better Taste Bureau, is a bit of a riddle. The boys couldn’t be sweeter, hugging their fans, taking pictures, and enjoying the fruits of killing it at their first huge venue. It leaves a puzzling contrast between their aggression and energy on stage, to the humble and nice guys standing here in front of us. I guess that’s what you get from growing up in Utah as a suburban white boy.

It immediately reminds me of Ben Folds’ Rockin’ the Suburbs cliché, except these guys have moved past that cliché into some real genuine and legitimate rap territory. They’ve transcended expectations and provided the perfect vibe for the night.

HurrisHurris, the front man in the dreads, and founder of BTB comes out on stage full force like he is an officer about to take you down. You have no choice but to step back and listen. However aggressive his stage presence is, his beats are still up-tempo and word-perfect.

Credits given to these fine gentlemen include:

City Weekly’s “Rappers of the Year” and U92’s (92.5 FM in SLC) first “Homegrown Hip Hop Champions”, these guys have shared the stage with Tyga, A$AP Rocky, De La Soul, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, E-40, G-Eazy, Paul Wall, Problem, Kid Ink, DJ Felli Fel, Sol and more. Their debut album “Outliers” was released in May 2014.

Mason Brewer

BTB (as their true fans call them) have been playing the University of Utah party scene for quite a few years, as well as some touring around local venues. What could have turned into just another college band to blow away with the wind, when the graduation caps are tossed, is instead staking their future in touring the country and letting people see what these white boys from Utah can really do. - SALT Artists


Still working on that hot first release.



We are Better Taste Bureau. Two rappers, Hurris and Gig, with producer Mason Brewer. Being raised in Salt Lake City, the three of us have a unique view on life, music and style that comes from growing up in a town that is largely overlooked. We are City Weekly’s Rappers of the Year and U92’s (92.5 FM in SLC) first Homegrown Hip Hop Champions. We’ve shared the stage with Tyga, B.o.B, A$AP Rocky, De La Soul, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, E-40, G-Eazy, Paul Wall, Kid Ink, Vic Mensa and more. Our debut album “Outliers” was released in May 2014.

Band Members