|Photo by Erik Hess|
With Meta, Mike the Martyr, BdotCroc, DJ Just Nine, and SGLD
7th St Entry
December 14, 2012
On Friday, Greg Grease took over the 7th St Entry for a release party of his latest Cornbread, Pearl and G, an incredibly solid album. The man's flow is a monster, distilling intricately composed and
detailed narratives into a fervent slickness that eases through tracks. As SGLD spun some Dipset the place began to fill up with supporters, who eventually sold the place out.
BdotCroc started the show strong, leading with "Pressure," one of the highlights of Hear Forever
. It was a bill of those who have put in some serious time and effort in rap lately, and the song is representative of the night; artists who work better under pressure. As BdotCroc ran through a tight set, she also introduced a night of true spitters, and her stage power was on point with the remainder of the bill.
Once Mike the Martyr stepped onstage for his set, energy began to build and people continued to move forward. Trademark sampled-soul beats and weeded bars, the Long Doe representative once again edged the crowd into the right mode for the night. With some persuasion stemming from the frequent suggestions to drink (his call and response involved chugging drinks as Kendrick Lamar's "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" played), the rising MC got some real movement from the audience. "Lake St Lauryn" was a favorite.
By the time Meta had begun his set, the room began to relatively rival the Doomtree next door. Packed to capacity at this point, Meta got the opportunity to showcase his incomparable stage presence to a full and appreciative crowd. Meta brings something new to a set every time -- be it new songs, new approaches or deep cuts from his extensive 2011 catalog. Closing with a yet-to-be released track and his powerful "Senior," the rapper who helped raise the bar in the Twin Cities recently proved why. This was already a show to remember, and the headliner hadn't even hit yet.
Greg Grease came up finally to introduce us to Cornbread, Pearl and G
, running through the beginning section of the album, whose impeccably engineered beats thump in the club setting. After the heavy "Death Ballad" finished, Grease began a decidedly collaborative set, beginning with the Lizzo-assisted "I Still Love H.E.R". I.B.E returned as a performer for "Do It To The Death." Freez came up for Grittee Committee's "Dreams." Meta appeared again for "Harvest." When the solo cut "Conflict of Consequence" left Grease carrying the stage alone again, it reflected just how stripped-down the Cornbread
record is in terms of vision, despite the flurry of guests.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
Greg Grease and Mike Frey grouped with a collective intentionality and cooked up a project that was clearly its own beast, rooting its core in the lyricism and command of one capable MC, but the show displayed a collectivity that was more present than initially realized. Behind the decks, DJ Just Nine juggled records (showing off a little as Grease yelled at him to "slow it down," at which point he cut the records to remix the beat live), just ahead of the biggest surprise guest of all: Mike Mictlan.
Grease had been wearing a Mictlan shirt all night, a constant reminder that the energy from the Doomtree Blowout next door was ever present, but I was not at all expecting an appearance like this. Mictlan said he'd just been rapping for two and a half hours,. and if you've ever been to a Blowout, you know how hard the Doomtree crew goes while there. But here he was, spitting some new material from SNAXXX, with his raspy, overworked voice pushing itself to new levels. The Grease/Mictlan standout "WZRD SCIENCE" felt so huge in the space, with a true bombast exacerbated by the duo's powerful raps. Mictlan then brought Lizzo out for "Give It to Mikey," another definite highlight.
|Photo by Erik Hess|
Grease then wrapped up the night with his crew, TUSS, who proved very strong at vibing with the man of the hour's material. Closing with "Flute Beat," his "sort of theme song," centralized his main themes of the night: "I love my people/ and I love my struggle/ but we gotta go harder/ if we wanna see freedom." And, of course, "We can roll two blunts if you match with the Gregory." These are raps about the importance of community and partying together. The show was an exciting display of raw talent and a clear indication of why Grease's profile is rising lately.
Critic's Bias: These are some of my favorite artists coming up now, all doing really innovative stuff.
The Crowd: Lots of support from the hip-hop scene at large.
Overheard In The Crowd: "It ain't done mahfuckys!"
I Still Love H.E.R
Do It To The Death
Conflict of Consequence
Just Nine Beat Juggle
Give It To Mikey (Mictlan + Lizzo)