Hip Hop Harambee at Nomad World Pub, 9/15/12

Photo by Erik Blume
Talib Kweli was the headliner for the Hip Hop Harambee.
Hip Hop Harambee
With Talib Kweli, Sims, Big Zach, and more
Nomad World Pub, Minneapolis
Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday's Hip Hop Harambee, an all day hip-hop block party held in the parking lot of the Nomad World Pub, was by all measures a success. You couldn't have asked for a better day to have an outdoor block party on the West Bank, as the weather stayed sunny and warm throughout the 8 hour event, and people definitely seemed excited by what stood to be one of the final outdoor concerts of the summer.

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Slideshow: Hip Hop Harambee

Up Rock on Abstract Pack, the EP, and the Hip Hop Harambee
Talib Kweli to headline Hip-Hop Harambee Block Party
The lineup consisted primarily of local rap acts, with a few genre twists that felt appropriate and kept the day's sound from getting stale. DJ Kool Akiem started off the day spinning tracks, and continued to do so between each of the 15 (!) sets. Before rushing over to the Electric Fetus for a Chalice set, Lizzo began the live music with a bang with her group the Larva Ink, playing a lively set to a relatively small crowd.
Photo by Erik Blume
Long Doe's Mike the Martyr followed, running through a number of new tracks, including his verse off Flood Watch for "Shameless". The sets had fairly quick turnaround, with host Alicia Steele cutting in between to introduce artists, and as Meta took the stage next, the day's variety of styles really started to set in.

Meta manages to conform his flow and energy to any setting, but challenged himself and the audience by performing some heavier material concerning police brutality and his father's death. Closing with Meta May's"Senior," a powerful track written about his father on the very day he passed, the St. Paul rapper's strength was showcased as he turned what could have been a difficult song into something uplifting, moving, and dancable. With both his mother and new ears in the audience, it was clear he wanted to punch in a challenging set.

Photo by Erik Blume
When Up Rock set up their MPCs and live drum set, it was clear they were going to bringing something unique. The former Abstract Pack duo brought a live show that matched the fun energy of their recent EP, and the feel was a seamless blend of electronics and old school party rocking, as both rappers play the role of producers and jumped back and forth between the two on stage.

Duenday followed, cementing the theme of revelry that underlined the day by providing their charismatic and positive vibe and boundless stage energy. The crowd was getting gradually thicker by this point. Sean Anonymous took stage afterwards and carried the torch with some tracks from his recent solo effort Anonymo and was later joined by DJ Snuggles, who provided vocalized beatbox scratches, and Tony Phantom, who helped Sean out with some Wide Eyes tracks.

Photo by Erik Blume
Dimitry Killstorm of Wide Eyes got some play afterwards, as he provided beats for Haphduzn's upcoming album, and the tracks sounded great in a live setting. Haph's tall frame and bassy voice made for a big presence, especially on the single "Brand New Nostalgia," whose whistling music history lesson felt like a fitting intro to connecting following bomba act Bomba Umoya to the overall sound of the day. The not-rap was a refreshing pause from the back-to-back whomp of MCs, but it sunk into the day's sound well and broadened the scope of what is considered the "hip-hop community".

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