Vic Mensa (with Towkio, Ryan Caraveo & Romaro Franceswa) | Neptune Theatre | August 25, 2015
The Brand Kings and EMP Museum Present: Through the Eyes of Art Black History Month kick-off event featuring The Value of Black Life artist showcase with appearances by Talib Kweli and Draze | EMP Museum Sky Church | Saturday, February 7, 2015
The Crocodile, Reign City, Ten Grand Marketing, and Soul Gorilla Present: Twista the “Dark Horse Tour” | The Crocodile | Thursday, October 16, 2014
I went to the Twista show excited to take a stroll down memory lane. When I think of the legends of hip-hop he might not be one of the first people to come to mind, but once he ran through his catalog I realized this was a mistake. As I watched one of Chi-town’s finest emerge on the Crocodile’s stage with the most impressive jewelry I have seen up close (paling only in comparison to Slick Rick’s) I happily rapped my way into nostalgia.
The room was packed with dedicated fans. Twista opened his set with the title track off his latest album, Dark Horse, but the real strength of his show was in the older material. What impressed me most about Twista is the amount of hits he’s had and how fun all those songs are to hear live. As soon as the beat dropped from “Is That Your Chick,” and he began to rhyme at a pace that no one has been able to rival, I was amazed. Even though everyone knows that Twista is defined by his ability to rap faster than anyone else, seeing that kind of skill, mastery of language, power, energy, and simultaneous calm on stage all at once is impressive.
Showbox, Dead Nation and Reign City Present: Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) with Lilla & Raz Simone | Showbox Market | Wednesday, October 8, 2014
One could argue that it is hard to be innovative when it comes to rap music. It might even be harder to be innovative when performing rap music. Most musicians stand on stage, hold the mic, walk around a little bit, and then take a pause to say, “How y’all feel?” This is not bad of course. There is nothing wrong with just performing your songs; that’s what people are there to see, after all.
But Raz Simone impressed me by stepping out of the box and, in this case, off the stage to do something that never even crossed my mind until I saw it with my own eyes. Midway through his opening set last Wednesday night at Showbox at the Market, he hopped off stage after he had been working the entire room, and asked the crowd to gather in a circle. He rapped passionately in the middle of the floor, the highlight being when he performed his love letter to Seattle — a cover of Adele’s “Hometown Glory” — standing eye-to-eye with the audience. He hugged people in the crowd, jumped up and down and even finished his set by being hoisted up, literally on the shoulders of the people he was performing for. Call me sentimental, but this gave me a lot of hope for rap music in general and made me proud of Seattle rap in particular.