When one walks into a venue and finds himself surrounded by numerous talented performers, the likes of which would normally be manning their merch booths before their sets, eagerly waiting in front of the stage for the night’s entertainment, he knows he must be in for a special night. Last night was a special night indeed, at north county hip hop staple venue, Boar Cross’n, all in attendence celebrated a big day for Lyrical Skoolyard – her one year anniversary.
KidRiz has been promoting quality in hip hop over the course of his lifetime and Lyrical Skoolyard is an extension of that dedication to authenticity in the art and culture. Based in the heart of San Diego’s most die hard proponents of hip hop, north county, Lyrical Skoolyard is a formidable opponent against all who would cheapen hip hop art and culture – foes who hip hop have named “commercial, sell-outs, jiggy, radio, rap instead of hip hop” and those who might possess “swagger” yet lack any real skills, among a slew of other imposters. This is real hip hop and anyone who might want to contest that is probably out of touch with the legacy of the art form.
The room was warmed up by DJ JabaOne, who did a great job of catering to a larger and more widely-ranged audience than normal (due to the one year anniversary celebration); much of Jaba’s set was comprised of songs and artists that have crossover appeal, finding acceptance among hip hop heads and the masses who listen to radio rap – the DJ’s job is to know his/her audience and to be true to himself and the art while making sure that the party is moving and JabaOne was did so with ease Thursday night. One dope part of what Jaba does is that he includes the visuals, the music videos, to go with the music he is playing. The Master of Ceremonies for the night was the multi-talented north county native, Sojourn. *a quick note on Sojourn – been in the game since the mid nineties, part of Future Shock and Foot Soldiers, won the Urban Underground Weekly Strictly Business Beat Battle last month, was shouted out by Blame One on Thursday night as one of north county’s finest emcees and a great friend, and is a beast on the drums. Needless to say, the night ran smoothly and in very traditional fashion. Reaching back to the introductory paragraph, those in attendance in the audience were: DarrenG of Soul Premise, Nomis, Dannu of the Visionaries, Propaganda of Humble Beast, Opoetik, Plain Jane, and we were blessed to behold a proper b-boy cypher. With no further adieu, the order of performers for the night was as follows: Kahlee, Mansini who also hosted an open mic, BlameOne, Sojourn with DJ Charlie Rock and featuring ShamesWorthy and Propaganda, Abstract Rude and Zulu with DJ Tramlife, and finally MC Supernatural.
Kahlee is an LA native turned north county resident. It has been nice to see how warmly received he has been by north county’s hip hop family and he can certainly hold his own. His music is as playful as he is, while not neglecting the weight of life in the streets of LA and though many use humor to mask what’s going on inside, Kahlee does not neglect the inner life as he keeps the audience moving and laughing. You can catch him and his family at: theseedhiphop.com.
Mansini is no joke! He looks like a graff head, and he is, but he is most definitely also a lyricist. From his rhymes to his demeanor, you know that hip hop IS his life and that he is willing to catch a fade for her and knows, from first hand experience, just how real the game is. In a time when hip hop is all about “ME”, it is refreshing that an artist would open up his set to allow fellow emcees to showcase their skills via an impromptu open mic. Those who shared the mic during such were DarrenG, Mighty Moses One, and Dannu.
BlameOne is without a doubt nor a single falter, an emcee’s emcee. The demeanor, posture on the mic, confidence, cadence and use of his music to move the audience, not only physically, but also emotionally/spiritually set him apart from those who have not put in as much time as Blame has. Blame shared the stage with Kahlee and Moses and put on a solid show. The track that stands out most due to the production by Exile, the content and depth of the lyrics and the tangible emotion in BlameOne’s voice, was Glass House off of his most recent LP, Endurance.
Sojourn is a renaissance man of hip hop and certainly proved that he deserved to be on the stage that night with a line up of heavy hitters. Sojourn, only matched by BlameOne and Supernat, is an emcee at his core – controlling the crowd with his lyrics, words between tracks and stage presence. ShamesWorthy and Propaganda joined him on stage for a track titled Ground Level from a Foot Soldiers album. The trio killed it and were super engaging. ShamesWorthy is a machine gun emcee rapidly firing syllables, while Propaganda is a spoken word emcee who can just as powerfully use silence as he does his words and his movements.
Abstract Rude and Zulu Butterfly with DJ Tramlife of NoSuckerDJs were uber entertaining. AbRude performed much of P.A.I.N.T. as well as some older tracks and some tracks off of his most recent release on Rhymesayers Ent., Rejuvenation. This was a deep and spiritual set, while maintaining a fun vibe and a weightlessness. Zulu provided back up vocals and a visual display to accompany the music and lyrics. If you have not seen Abstract Rude, I highly suggest heading over to RSE to see when he will be visiting your city.
MC Supernatural is nothing short of a breathtaking act. He killed the night! The 41 year old bleeds, sweats and tears hip hop and is a soldier marching on with the banner of hip hop held high. His set is very unique, from his “warm up” rap to get his voice and brain in tune to his loosely themed production that gives a basis for his freestyles. Any description that I might try to use to depict the performance would fall short, but I will say that he controlled the crowd with unparalleled fluidity and confidence (even as a fight broke out, he kept the party vibe and turned it into something positive). Supernatural has come under fire by some (even those he thought were his friends) but it seems that those attacking his authenticity are simply jealous. He loves this art and is a craftsman who has perfected his craft within the craft. If you consider yourself one who truly appreciates hip hop, you have to see him perform; he is a part of our heritage and should be honored for his contributions.
Peace and Love,