There was a perceptible excitement in the cool North County San Diego air on Saturday night, as if the region was eager for its premier emcee and his friends and family to celebrate the release of his most cohesive body of work to date, the J57-produced Walk in the Sun. The humble giants who would later take the stage seemed common daily barflies as they joked and caught up while waiting for the sound guy to show up for the sound check. Exile was all business as he sound checked his signature MPC2000XL, giving the bar staff, DJs and photographers an earful of his regurgitation of Jay-Z’s Holy Grail – words don’t do justice what Ex does on the MPC; if you have not yet beheld his skill live, come out to The Echo on Sept. 19th and I guarantee you won’t regret it. Shortly after, just a small measure of the infectious energy of SD’s Deep Rooted’s JOHAZ was released as JOHAZ emphatically looked at and listened to each monitor while spittin’ the lyrics to Drugs off of The Dag Savage EP.
After the soundcheck, the Kids of Soul took over on the one’s and two’s and kept the party moving and building as the time approached for the acts to begin taking the stage. As the room filled with eager hip hop connoisseurs, conversations were held, drinks were consumed, billiards was played, darts were thrown and the like, and all while heads nodded to the kick and snare of perfect hip hop sets, crafted by KOS.
The first act to take the stage was one half of The Seed, Kahlee, whose command of the mic and a thoroughly crafted stage presence engaged the majority of the venue. Kahlee helped to set the familial feel for the night as he shared stories of where he once was, where he is at and where he is going. One of the most memorable moments during Kahlee’s set was when he was joined by SD beatboxer, Beehive, for a song; Beehive is a phenomenal beatboxer and carries on the legacy of what some call the fifth element of hip hop well. Family life has Kahlee in a great place and has only continued to carry him forward as an artist, which is evident in his live show, his recent EP, Here I Am and I guarantee it will be evident in his forthcoming LP, Blessed. Next time you see Kahlee on the bill, make sure you are in attendance.
The Procussions are back together after a hiatus since the release of their 5 Cents for 2 Sparrows album in 2006. SAC reviewed the first single released off of The Procussions EP, Today feat. Shad and J Kyle Gregory (read HERE). The energy from this trio (Mr. J. Medieros, Stro Elliot and DJ Manwell) is otherworldly – J. Medeiros has the energy of a middle schooler with ADHD and Stro’s presence is awkwardly inviting and intense. The emcees both have a command of the audience – which new school rappers must take note of if they ever hope to move people to feel something the way seasoned emcees do. The chemistry between the two front men feels natural, though one might sense the post-hiatus, re-meshing taking place during shows in the near future, as attendees may have Saturday night. The Procussions certainly made a life-long fan of a casual fan at the Jumping Turtle that night with their ability to bear the name “masters of ceremonies”. You definitely want to catch The Procussions’ album release party in LA on Sept. 14th.
Enter the man of the night, seasoned veteran in the rap game, Blame One. The unassuming demeanor of one of underground hip hop’s most slept on emcees could be taken for a lack of enthusiasm, but that would be an inaccurate picture of one of hip hop’s most passionate figures to date. The Baltimore-born hip hop purist bleeds, sweats and tears this art, which is most clearly evident in his most recent album, Walk in the Sun. As he has matured as a man, his prowess on the mic has only become sharper and his content further-reaching. Unfortunately the sole producer on Walk in the Sun, J57, couldn’t make it out Saturday night (for an amazing reason – he was recently married and is enjoying time with his bride). One of SD’s finest, Kids of Soul DJ, DJ Norm Rocwell, manned the wheels of steel for Blame’s set in J’s stead. Blame One’s signature stance and mannerisms, which are so unique to him, were present in full effect, giving onlookers, fans new and old, a fully fleshed out representation of over two decades of dues paid and are worn like the stripes of general. The set felt as intimate as an Un-Plugged concert, with Blame interjecting the impetus for the creation of each track before he shared it. Blame’s nephew, one third of theBREAX, Beleaf Melanin, shared a recently recorded track which only added to the authenticity and energy of Blame One’s time on stage. Exile also shared the stage with Blame, performing the track, Disturbed, off of Days Chasing Days. I am fairly certain Exile freestyled at least a portion of the verse but didn’t lose miss a beat like a true MC. Blame One is one of Cali’s finest and will be performing at The Procussions’ release party in LA, don’t miss it.
The closers for the night were Exile and JOHAZ, known together as Dag Savage. Exile began the set with the aforementioned interpretation of Jay-Z’s Holy Grail:
[sz-youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPU_aGgOLxw” /]
Exile is quite possibly one of the best producers in hip hop, though it may take years for most to realize it, and JOHAZ is quite possibly one of the most underrated MCs – he is an absolute technician with his lyrics, cadences, delivery and overall stage presence – in the game and what this duo brings to the table is RAW. The two move seamlessly through a set mostly derived from The Dag Savage EP and the chemistry of the laid back Exile coupled with the in-your-face, never a dull moment energy of of JOHAZ is a perfect marriage of two very different styles, perfectly complimenting one another. Drugs, off of the EP, features SD’s Choosey who was in attendance and joined Dag Savage on the stage for a few tracks. Choosey actually has a confidence that many pretend to have, but his skill as an MC (as well as a producer) catches those not in the know by surprise, but SAC has been riding with him since ’08 and was fully prepared for the high level of quality he shared on the mic. Exile closed out the show with some more MPC magic and tipped his hat to the man of the night by playing some EARLY Blame One tracks as the crowd dispersed.
Further Edukation put on an amazing hip hop show, embodying what a hip hop show should be. Please be sure to support everyone mentioned in this review by “Like”ing their Facebook pages, listening to and purchasing their music and/or attending and promoting their events. Our culture is being infiltrated on all sides (and has been for years) by those who wish to appropriate the music for their purposes, instead of allowing the music to be a reflection of the members of the hip hop sub-culture; it takes loyal participants and fans to keep hip hop alive, as well as to Edukate the next generation(s) of our rich history to ensure our legacy is carried on. Further Edukation, Blame One and everyone else involved Saturday night are actively doing such, please do your part.
Peace and Love,
PS – A special shout out to AdiktOne for all of the time and energy he invested in this show and continues to invest into our culture.