The concert venue Neumos has really stepped up this year providing us with some of the best hip hop concerts ever. In the first quarter alone they brought in some real hip hop heavyweights such as Rakim, Method Man, Mystikal, Ghostface Killah and more. Would this be another epic show? The sold out sign on the poster may be indicative.....
The first group of the night was one that I had heard great reviews of it's one of Seattle's local hip hop gems in "Grayskul." As I said I was unfamiliar with "Grayskul" but as soon as I saw our guy "JFK" aka "Ninjaface" on stage I truly new that this was going to be a treat to behold.
"JFK" aka "Ninjaface" gettin' it in - Photo by sureshotfoto.com
"Grayskul" representing Seattle hip hop - photo by sureshotfoto.com
Well, about 10 seconds into the first song I knew I was right. These guys are the truth. I've said it before, and I'll say it again Seattle has some talent!!!
Seattle hip hop at it's finest - Photo by sureshotfoto.com
Next up was LA based emcee and producer "Busdriver." This was my first opportunity to see him in person. Although, personally not an artist that I've ever gone out of my way to listen to or see, this guy is talented. He controls and applies tweeks to his own beats in real time while rapping. I can tell you, not an easy task.
"Busdriver" in technicolor - Photo by sureshotfoto.com
"Busdriver" getting the crowd ready for "Aesop Rock" - photo by sureshotfoto.com
Now it was time for the headliner "Aesop Rock." I'd never heard him before I took this assignment but upon doing research he came up as one of the leading underground artists. Hmmmm, well I don't know about that. I personally consider myself an underground hip hop snob and in talking with industry insiders Aesop's name had never ever come up. This is quite possibly because I'm usually talking to east coast artists or people in the international scene.
"Aesop Rock" (background) and "Rob Sonic" (foreground) performing their brand of hip hop - photo by sureshotfoto.com
The first thing that was evident upon hearing "Aesop" was that he's intelligent. His brand of hip hop might be considered alternative. How many underground emcees cut designs in an audience members hair during the show? I'm not knocking his hustle one bit. He's done a great job of shipping his art, finding an audience, and giving them what they want. It's just not the kind of stuff that typically lives on my devices. When I think of the leading underground artist's I think of "Immortal technique", "Jedi Mind Tricks", "Chief Kamachi" and artists like that.
"Aesop" at Neumos in Seattle - photo by sureshotfoto.com
I will say this, his DJ (DJ Big Wiz) is a turntablist of the first order. So much so that he did one of the sickest, longest turntable solos that I've ever seen. As all true artists do he made it look easy.
"DJ Big Wiz" - photo by sureshotfoto.com
"Busdriver" and "Aesop Rock" Seattle - photo by sureshotfoto.com
All in all it was a good show. "Grayskul" stole it though. Seeing them would have been worth the price of admission alone. Northwest hip hop is making strides each and every single day.
Stay tuned for upcoming releases:
Grayskul's "Zenith" drops September 17th
Th3rdz "this, that, & Th3rdz" drops June 18th
Check out some of our previous posts: