The Popstream's Soundet '09 A/V Supplement Super-Spectacular
This is a pretty big weekend for local and/or indie rap aficionados like yrs truly. As Andrea's made it clear over the week, there's a ton of star power at this Sunday's upcoming Soundset hip hop festival, put together by Rhymesayers and featuring damn near everyone who's released a classic record on the venerable Twin Cities label -- or just about any other self-sufficient hip hop label. The full lineup's on the official Soundset MySpace page, and suffice it to say that I could sit here all day big-upping everyone on that ridiculously large roster. Even the so-called "small-type" acts -- locals like I Self Devine and Kristoff Krane; out-of-staters like Seattle's Blue Scholars and Kentucky's Cunninlynguists -- are cosign-worthy, and once you factor in political firebrand Immortal Technique, a fresh-off-a-new-classic (and hopefully non-impostor) DOOM, West Coast all-star supergroup Haiku D'Etat, the full original lineup of the Pharcyde, and the local juggernauts like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Eyedea & Abilities, P.O.S. and Heiruspecs, it's like some kind of indie rap Woodstock but with better shoes and people who actually know how to dance. And even if these acts largely fall under the hip-hop-for-college-kids rubic, it's a pretty stylistically diverse lineup -- as personified by four other top-notch artists that also appear on the bill.
Prince Paul is one of the most beloved producers of the last twenty years, even if he did invent the hip hop skit. To be fair, by the time everyone was sick of hip hop skits, Paul had moved on to collaborating with Chris Rock and putting together full-fledged concept records like 1996's neurosis-rap classic Psychoanalysis: What Is It?, and three years later he released the ultra-ambitious, cast-of-dozens "rap opera" A Prince Among Thieves. This promo clip hints at the possibility that Tommy Boy was considering creating a feature-length music video for it, but unfortunately that hasn't been realized. In between production gigs, Paul's recently spent his time doing DJ sets, and whether he's pulling from the same crate he gets his samples from or maintaining the rap-encyclopedia knowledge that XM's sadly-departed "Ill Out Show," it should be a highlight.
One of the new conservative memes is that once Gitmo closes, all these crazy-ass terrorists are going to be running up on your local Cold Stone Creamery and blowing shit up. Personally, I don't think this is going to happen, and besides, it'll be worth it since this means they'll be letting El-P out. Dude's been running the underground since back when cheesiness was a new development in mainstream rap (and Company Flow's oppositional statement, Funcrusher Plus, still kills), and with an upcoming compilation from his label Definitive Jux and some new beats for the upcoming Cage record, he's been keeping busy. Last year he came to the Triple Rock on a double bill with Dizzee Rascal and it turned out to be one of the most intensely maniacal live hip hop performances I've ever seen, so be sure to make your way to the stage when he grabs the mic.
Buck 65 isn't exactly normal. I can't recall off the top of my head which MC he's most frequently compared to, but the number of times I've heard him described with the name "Tom Waits" attached has been pretty high. And people still tend to bring up the 2004 interview he did with the magazine Kerrang! where he (facetiously) claimed to "hate" hip hop as some kind of mark against him. But it's hard to think of someone in the biz who's as engagingly bizarre, especially after his '07 album Situation -- a concept record about, but not entirely resembling, culture as it stood in the year 1957. He's the type of lyricist who can get you interested in stuff you never really realized could work in a rap context, including but not limited to that raspy voice of his.
Finally, Philadelphia rapper Freeway (whose "What We Do" still hits hard) and Seattle producer Jake One (who's produced for damn near everybody) are paired on the bill, and should provide a few previews of their upcoming collaborative record The Stimulus Package -- which, if this selection from Jake One's White Van Music is any indication, should be a potential first-day purchase. And thanks to the way this bill's set up, attendees might get a chance at seeing Freeway and Brother Ali collaborating on "The Truth" live, which is something you don't get to see every day.