So ... remember a couple weeks ago when Langhorne Slim tore it down at Sam Bond's? Yeah, well I had to go out of town for a week or so the next day so I couldn't post these up as soon as I would've liked. But here they are! Better late than never.
I also recorded this "brand new song" that he essentially finished writing that night.
Click any image to see a slideshow of more.
I was hoping to hear it in person at the show. No luck on that but they did close with their own vamped version of John Prine's "Spanish Pipedream"!
Words by Dante Zuñiga-West
Hip hop was honored Wednesday, June 8, at the WOW Hall when Pharoahe Monch stepped to the stage. Smash-mouthed unabashed microphone-murdering lyrics had the crowd jumping (literally, the WOW Hall floor felt like a trampoline) to songs that Monch wrote ten years ago — he is that type of legend in the hip hop world, creating music that has what industry booking agents call “replay value.” The songs off his new album, W.A.R., though not as iconic as his previous work, offer the same reality check that hip hop heads need — and that they were given when Monch first hit the scene. Back then the declaration was one of defiance in the face of mainstream bullshit ghetto-fabulous rap made by studio (wanna-be) gangstas giving suburban white boys who play too much Grand Theft Auto San Andreas wet dreams. Now that same declaration sparked and owned by Monch and his (few) peers is one of pure existence. “Is hip hop in the building?” Monch asked. It was. He was answered by a screaming horde of true underground heads who knew his lyrics and shouted them back to him.
Monch is a throwback, a hip hop dinosaur from a time not long past that seems to be lost and forgotten by everyone who stopped coming out to “conscious” hip hop shows — which is exactly the reason such shows ceased coming around. We were fortunate to have an MC of Monch’s talent come to town, and it was a testament to his stature how off-the-hook his show was.
The self-proclaimed “most obligated“ MC sat in the green room after his killer performance, looking like a man who’d just walked away from an explosion. I told him I got his first album when I was 17 years old, and he told me he’d just spoken to a man who said the same thing, but the age was 14. Monch smiles. “That’s some amazing shit,” he says, then tells me he always wanted to make something people would remember, like the music he grew up on: Coltrane, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Hendrix. His genre is not as all-penetrating, but his influence in that genre is.
Though visibly haggard from a hard tour, the Queens-raised Monch continued to give an enthusiastic interview. He sounds a little like Mike Tyson in cadence and pitch — a far cry from his commanding stage-voice on the mic, which sounds like some big spooky fool that would stomp you out in the parking lot of a Dodger game. Monch’s intellect is sharp, he breaks down the underground hip hop scene (or what is left of it) in succinct language: “The failure to sell records has caused people to revert back to the basics,” those basics being a sick beat and an ill verse. It was Monch’s showmanship that won the crowd; it is this same energy that will continue to carry him into the minds and boomboxes of those who know, remember or just found out.
DJ Boogie Blind of The X-Ecutioners
It was something more than a “moment” when Yelawolf hit the stage Sunday, May 29, at the Cuthbert. Short, sharp and explosive, the Alabama-born rapper’s shock-and-awe set was a furious, joyous burst of pyrotechnic charisma and mad talent — you could almost feel the tide turn on the whole scene when he decided to “get stupid” by stomping and helicoptering across the stage. Yela, a self-declared “Slumerican” and proud patriot from the trash side of the tracks, is keyed to boom skyward, and every bobbing body cramming the Cuthbert barrier could feel the crackle of his immanent launch. He ripped through a breathless set of hard-chopped syllables and catchy choruses, proving to all that his Southern trunk music has been immaculately elevated for the big show after a steady year of touring, an artistic education he compared to “boot camp.” And with his debut for Shady Records, Radioactive, set to drop late September, Yelawolf — his gutter-proud tread still cruising the dirty streets — is primed to cross over. “I’m so excited,” he said backstage after his set. “I want mainstream success with this record. I’ve spent my time in the underground and I want my shot at it. The records are going to reach people who’ve never heard of me before,” he said, adding that “my core fans are going to be so psyched.” Get ready to pop the trunk, people. Yela wants to play.
— Rick Levin
Interview by Kai Hayashi | Photos by Todd Cooper
If you haven’t heard Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty) yet, this may be the year he finally rolls through your playlist. The Seattle-based hip-hop artist created quite a stir in 2010, and has watched his popularity and fan base grow substantially over the year. The hard work he and his producer Ryan Lewis have put in has paid off, spreading their music though word of mouth and the Internet minus the help of a major recording deal. The duo performed March 1 to a sold out crowd at Eugene’s Historic WOW Hall, and prior to the show Macklemore graciously spoke to me about his life, music and the direction he sees his life going.