|Photo by Adam DeGross|
with Kirko Bangz, Rapper Hooks, Sean Anonymous and Taylor Madrigal
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Long before the South cracked the rap mainstream, UGK had a following that
led to the pop charts. Saturday night at the Fine Line, founding member Bun B performed a range of material
from the early "Pocket Full of Stones" to the huge hit "Int'l Players
Anthem," and represented a powerful and unique career arc.
Audio Perm's Taylor Madrigal, aka Tip, has been all over recently,
holding down long DJ sets to both pump up and placate waiting audiences,
and he arrived with Bobby Raps to turn up alongside his well-chosen
club tracks. From a critic's standpoint, the set was excellent,
but at times it seemed the people weren't as familiar. Opening with some
Houston classics, like Mike Jones's "Still Tippin'" into "Back Then,"
but the set went a number of different places from there, and warmed the
crowd up well for the show.
|Photos by Adam DeGross|
Local openers Sean Anonymous and Rapper Hooks took the stage later, just after Phillip Morris stole the audience's attention with impromptu pop-and-lock battles and salad-toss pantomimes. Though sets suffered slightly for some sound issues, both MCs pushed through. Sean Anonymous has a few surefire tracks up his sleeve and never fails to capture a crowd. He brought Lizzo up for their recent collaboration "Cold Shoulder" and got big cheers through the short-but-sweet set. Rapper Hooks came with what he called "pourin'-up-Hennesy music," including some new tracks from his upcoming project. Microphone issues remained but brought out a welcome aggression to Hooks's performance, which finds his slick rhyming over slowed spacey beats; yelling at times to keep at an audible volume, Hooks worked within constraint and added some nice rawness to the vocals.
Kirko Bangz has amassed a considerable fanbase thanks largely to his hit "Drank In My Cup," a new Houston-meets-Drake sung rap that boasts some 44 million views on YouTube. He hit the stage to a sea of cell phones recording his performance, a largely lip-synced run-through of his big hits like "What Yo Name Iz" and older mixtape tracks like "Play Me." Pretty much every song got huge responses from the enthralled crowd, but it would have been nice to hear Bangz complete a full line. Still, the enthusiasm was there and certainly spread to the audience.
|Photo by Adam DeGross|
After what seemed to be a short set, Kirko turned back around and decided to start freestyling in the crowd, preceding another three songs in the downtime until the Bun B set. It's easy to be critical of rappers using backing tracks, but it was affirming to see that kind of "I don't want to stop playing yet" drive at a show of this size; Kirko had some big fans present, and their appreciation bolstered what otherwise might have been a lackluster performance. He then took an Instagram pic of the crowd and told them to come get autographs at the merch table.