The Terrace in Pasadena, CA is an unassuming little bar/venue which plays host to dozens of legendary hip hop acts yearly. Tonight was no exception. As is my custom, I arrived to 443 Colorado way too early, so I would once again bear witness to the birth, growth and full maturation of the show. Turned away by the doorman on account of being, as I said, too early, I listened to him and one of his co-workers discuss the life and career of Mike Tyson (most likely due to the Mayweather/Canelo fight taking place tonight) and was lucky enough to chop it up for a bit with SD legendary emcee, Blame One. The cool, but not too cool, evening was the perfect backdrop for a discussion on the lukewarm temperature of popular rap, juxtaposed with the fire that burns bright in the underground, which would be evidenced shortly in the passion displayed by The Procussions and each their openers.
Accompanied by a co-worker/friend and his long time girlfriend, I entered the Terrace, with a healthy anticipation for my soul to be soothed by the touch of hip hop from the heart, for the heart. Greeted by Mr. J. Medeiros of The Procussions at the merch table, SAC was gifted a copy of the French-released The Procussions LP, for which we are tremendously grateful – (Blame One also graciously gave us a copy of his 2008 release, Days Chasing Days). The usual pulse of drinks being ordered and poured, strained conversations that fight with the volume of the music, and classic hip hop being played, ebbed and flowed to the movement of the host/mc for the night, Procussions DJ, DJ Manwell, who kept the party going all night – dude is ill on the 1’s and 2’s.
Hip hop is a culture that is known for its ability to improvise, from Kool Herc tapping into the electricity from the streetlights in the park to power his DJ set-up, to b-boys and b-girls freestyling on cardboard or linoleum, to emcees battling to the percussion of the beatbox, to graf writers creating masterpieces on the sides of trains; it might be said that anyone who calls himself a hip hop head, but can’t improvise in his craft, is a liar. Organized Threat’s Poetic Death and Gavlyn had to do some impromptu a capellas due to technical difficulties and kept the audience engaged and the mood light in spite of the frustration that is sure to accompany any mishaps that occur when artists are planning on bearing their souls for an audience. The OGT movement is one that is rooted in our legacy and Gavlyn and Poetic Death handled themselves like true masters of ceremonies, not letting the bumps along the road stop the journey. One benefit of Poetic Death doing much of his material a capella is that the audience had a unique opportunity to interact with the depth and complexity of his lyricism. Gavlyn’s portion of the set was accompanied by music and she did her thing, sharing her story and skills. To find out what the Organized Threat movement is all about, click HERE.
Next up was a duo that I have to thank Blu and Exile Radio on Pandora for introducing me to, Colorado Springs emcees, Deux Process. The two put on a decent set, but relied heavily on the production (which is ridiculously dope) to carry them through it. DJ Shakey held the duo down with his prowess behind the turntables. Please don’t read that the duo isn’t ill, they are, but it felt like they had been on hiatus and are working out the kinks and re-discovering their chemistry with each other and with an audience. Based on what I heard, The Price of Dreams is going to be an excellent album.
The seasoned San Diego veteran emcee, Blame One, read the room, as a master of ceremonies should, and adjusted his set to just three songs in order to give the audience a taste of what he is all about, while recognizing that their attention was largely focused on The Procussions. He did a track off of his latest album, Walk In The Sun, a track off of his last album, Endurance (Glass House is one of the dopest tracks ever in my humble opinion – production, content, delivery), and was accompanied by his Dirty Science bredren, Exile, for a track off of Days Chasing Days. Blame did a verse from Disturbed and Exile followed up with a freestyle, to which Blame One replied with a ridiculously intricate freestyle, just further justifying the claim that he is one of the underground’s best kept secrets.
The moment everyone had waited for couldn’t have come at a better time, the crowd was more than eager to catch The Procussions’ “we’re back” performance. Let me preface this with the fact that The Procussions’ performance just one week earlier, for Blame One’s album release party, was a display of three skilled individuals who seemed to lack symbiosis. The chemistry with the audience and between Mr. J. Medeiros, Stro Elliot and DJ Manwell was breath-taking at the Terrace though! The Procussions are back and it felt as if they have a bone to pick and a thing or two to prove. Their set is a non-stop, no punches pulled, smorgasbord of hip hop goodness. The set is comprised primarily of tracks from the new album, but is seasoned with tracks from the past, most notable was Little People off of 5 Sparrows for 2 cents, especially because former bandmate Res(onant) joined them. Not only did the two emcees rap and the DJ spin records, but Stro jumped on the drums for a couple of tracks, both Stro and Medeiros displayed their versatility as artists via the rhythm and dexterity necessary to manipulate the pads of the Akai MPD 24 as the other rapped cadence-heavy lyrics like a machine gun, and DJ Manwell had a few minutes wherein he proved that he belongs in your list of the dopest DJs ever – seriously, he is a skilled turntablist. When these guys connect with one another and the audience like this, they can give any hip hop act a run for its/their money. The Procussions will be touring Europe for a bit, but when they get home, GO SEE THEM. One of the most dynamic performances I have been to.
Peace and Love,