I’m typically not a fan of rap/ hip-hop music. I typically loathe going to shows at huge venues. Last night I went to a rap/ hip-hop show at the Target Center in Minneapolis and I never wanted it to end.
Last night was the 20th anniversary show for Rhymesayers Entertainment. 20 years of putting out amazing music is a feat in itself. Add practically selling out the Target Center and you have an untouchable beast of a label.
Growing up, I never listened to rap or hip-hop. All I knew was the crap that was on top 40 radio and I thought that was all there was. Then I moved up to the Twin Cities and found that there’s more out there than songs about getting drunk. There are rappers out there that sing about things I can relate to. There are rappers out there that are out helping the community. Those rappers made me fall in love with the rap/ hip-hop scene up here and last night I got to see so many of the acts that made me change my mind about the whole scene.
Huge arena shows are, what I think, what’s wrong with the music scene today. People will shell out hundreds of dollars to sit a mile away from a musician and watch them play on a jumbo-tron while they may or may not actually be playing their instruments or singing. Yes, I know I have been to may fair share of arena shows. I’ve seen Lady Gaga, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Miley Cyrus, and many more. I know what I’m getting when I go to those thought and I typically weasel my way in without paying the unreasonable ticket prices. Last night was a fair price of $20 throughout the Target Center. The seats were first come, first served. The artists actually sang and played their songs. Last night was not your typical arena show. It was an arena show of local music with regular people who were just amazed to fill the place like they did and happy to play their music for the masses.
There were far too many acts last night for me to write about each one so I will try and highlight my favorites.
- P.O.S was one of the first acts to take the stage. My roommate and I were a wee bit late due to work but were able to catch his last song. He had to play extra early because Doomtree, a local rap collective (no, they are a machine), had a show in Chicago last night that he had to make it to. There is no rivalry between the two groups which is amazing. Both Rhymesayers and Doomtree are full of amazing musicians and people. I kind of wish that all of Doomtree would have been able to be at the show last night but I understand that last night was supposed to be, and deserved to be, all about Rhymesayers.
- Toki Wright was amazing as always. Unfortunately, sets were short due to the sheer amount of groups and musicians they had to get through so he was only able to play three songs but he killed it with the three songs. It’s so amazing to see someone like Toki Wright on such a huge stage. Toki was actually one of the teachers at my college and is such a nice, down to earth guy. That’s what this scene is all about… the fact that here’s one of my old teachers playing to a crowd of thousands. Amazing.
- Grieves is definitely one of my favorite acts from Rhymesayers. He didn’t use this show as a platform to showcase just his new music, he played old songs that I didn’t think he was going to play. Grieves is just a skinny white boy living in Seattle but when he takes the stage, he is larger than life.
- Make sure you keep an eye on Prof. Mark my words, he will be the next big thing in the scene up here. His set was full of so much energy, it was unreal. There were numerous inflatable animals and beach balls thrown out into the crowd. There were even two of those “wacky waving inflatable arm men” on either side of the stage. His music was upbeat and fun. Even if you had never heard of him before, you couldn’t help but start jumping up and down.
- DJ Abilities did a touching tribute to Mike “Eyedea” Larsen. Eyedea was a beast in the scene. Together with DJ Abilities, they formed Eyedea & Abilities and were blowing up in the scene when he tragically died of an accidental drug overdose. Almost every rap show I go to in the Twin Cities, whether it is Doomtree or Rhymesayers affiliated, there is mention of Eyedea. Last night Abilities took the stage, as he frequently does in the cities, with his amazing turntable skills. The whole time he played, there was video of Eyedea being played in the background and he sampled many of the songs they did together. The set ended with silence and an old picture of Eyedea and Abilities. You could feel the heaviness in the crowd but it wasn’t an awkward heaviness. It was a heaviness that just showed the enormous crowd’s appreciation for Eyedea and all that he did for this scene.
- I was shocked when I saw Kimya Dawson walk onto the stage with Aesop Rock. I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Had I actually read the lineup, I would have noticed it said “The Uncluded” which is the duo of rapper Aesop Rock and singer/ songwriter Kimya Dawson. Of course, I missed that in the line-up but what a pleasant surprise. Kimya is the woman that did majority of the soundtrack for the hit film Juno. I never thought I would be able to see her live because she tried to live a low-profile life. The smile that filled my face never left from the time she stepped foot on stage. I did go a wee bit fan girl when I realized that she was standing behind me for majority of the rest of the show. How awesome is that, Kimya Dawson was right behind me. Hot damn that was a highlight of the night!
- The show closed out with Atmosphere who is always a crowd favorite. Slug, the rapper of the rapper/ DJ duo, is a beast and king of the scene here. Not just that, he’s an awesome, down to earth guy. They brought up many musicians that had already graced the stage along with some surprise acts including, one of my favorites, Murs.
Last night was one of those nights that is hard to put into words so I’m sorry if you found this post a little rambly. It was just one of those nights where there was so much going on and I found it hard to remember that I would have to write about it. I truly got lost in the crowd and in the music and in this world of local music that I love with all of my heart.
People came from all over for the show last night. It was a huge deal and it was right down the street from my apartment. What an amazing city. What an amazing music scene. What amazing people.
BOOM BAP PROJECT
MICRANOTS / I SELF DEVINE
SOUL POSITION / BLUEPRINT
MUSAB / ABSTRACT RUDE
AESOP ROCK / THE UNCLUDED / HAIL MARY MALLON
DILATED PEOPLES / EVIDENCE
BROTHER ALI / FREEWAY
ATMOSPHERE / FELT
Venue- Target Center
Sausage Fest Meter- Even Split
Percentage of the Crowd That Won’t Remember Anything When They Wake Up Today Due to the Consumption of Booze and Illegal Plants and Other Things- 68.3423432%
Crowd Surfers- None
Broken Bones- None That I Saw
Overall Score- 9.8 out of 10
Show on Deck- Every Time I Die/ August Burns Red/ Stick To Your Guns