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Hip Hop

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What the Festival is Set to Deliver an Epic Fourth Year

The days are getting longer and the weather dude is telling me the temperature isn’t going to dip below 80 degrees anytime soon, so this could only mean one thing, What The Festival 2015 is right around the corner! This year marks the festival’s fourth go-around, and the folks that put this shindig together are gearing up Oregon’s Wolf Run Ranch for another successful weekend.

This festival has a little bit of everything. It takes place on a gorgeous campground about 25 miles east of Mt. Hood. There’s enough room to walk through a (glow in the dark!) forest, lounge on plush sofas, benches, and any other designated or non-designated chill zones, dance in a splash pool with a stage that pumps out beats all day long. You can attend workshops, go to yoga and all that jazz. And to top it off, you get to witness a slew of the top producers and DJs in the game.

Names like Big Gigantic, Griz, and Seattle’s ODESZA top the list of a funkafied lineup, and there is also a number of local acts and up-and-coming artists that fill out the three day extravaganza. This event is held in Oregon for good reason. There is plenty of Portland influence, especially on the music side, here is a list of local flavor:

Indubious – Electronic reggae, or reggae with electronics. Somewhere in the middle of that is the hard hitting duo from Ashland. A live bass player and keys/and synths mix beautifully in front of beats will go off in psychedelic tangents, but always find their way back to the traditional reggae songs they’ve been making for years.

Hustle and Drone – Synth pop straight outta Portland. H&D has seen a large growth of success over the past year. The songs they write have an indie rock influence and always hold a danceable beat.

Ernest Lovers w/ Pete Krebs – Quite a bit of a different pace than the majority of the lineup, but these are local legendary song writers. They will provide a nice break from the chaos and give your brain cells a minute to rejuvenate with some slow and melodic honky tonk.

EPROM – Bass heavy with a little bit of hip hop. EPROM is one of the most notable Portland acts on the list and is set to have a big summer. He makes his beats with old school drum and bass influences and touches and dabbles of dubstep and trap. It’s damn near impossible not to dance for this.

Solovox – Piano extraordinaire and beat maker. Carl Solovox knows how incorporate his refined piano skills and put them to use on a synthesizer. He’s been known to remix some classic rock and roll (Johnny Cash, AC DC, the list goes on) and always creates a dance party of epic proportions.

Barisone – Master of silk and smooth. Barisone has become a household name in the Portland community with a steady working relationship with FAK Wednesdays and Bubblin. His music is grounded in hip hop and R&B and will change what you thought you knew about the word “sexy.”

Device Grips – straight up dance funk – full band! The (relatively) new Portland band, Device Grips are making their name quickly with blues infused horn-heavy funk with a little bit of rap n’ roll to create some of the liveliest music out there. Don’t be the person that has to tell people a year from now that you missed this set because you were trying to get a burrito (nothing against burritos, but trust me on this one).

Lovebomb Go-Go Marching Band – One of the most extravagant acts you’ll see, ever. This band hails from outer space, I assume, given their space helmets and vibrant clad of silver linings that make up their uniforms. Who knows what they’re going to pull out for a festival like this?

Other notable local artists include: Chrome Wolves, Lincoln Up, Mr. Wu, Takimba, Trashcan Joe, PRSN, Tyler Tastemaker, Deafmind, Octaban, Hal-V & Space Case, Quarry, Laura Lynn, Computer Pham, Diablo, and Montel Spinozza.

Moral of this story: Get your tickets to What the Festival and try and catch every one of these!

-Colin Hudson


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Solo Sexx Prepare for Summer Tour

Most people probably wouldn't normally associate Amherst, MA with early-90s hip hop, but the rap duo Solo Sexx is looking to change that. Their most recent release, Party Musik EP, is full of well-produced beats and sharp, witty lyrics. 
My favorite track from Party Musik is "Hipsta Chick". The beat sounds like it came straight out of 1993 and the lyrics are some of the most accurate, entertaining and absolutely hilarious I've heard all year.
With lines like: "I'm fashionably hatin' on her rich kitsch/she's lookin' like a Christmas decoration/now it's time to face the nation/hope she's ready with her carol/singing God bless the U.S. of American Apparel", I felt an imediate bond with the group over our mutiual dislike of over-priced t-shirts and cut-off jean shorts.

Solo Sexx are currently raising funds for a small sumer tour, kicking off June 26 at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA. For info about their GoFundMe campaign, click here. For more updates about Solo Sexx, check out their Facebook page.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

 

Party Musik EP from solosexx on Myspace.

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Attend a Screening of Nas Executive Produced Indie Film Shake the Dust in Berkeley, CA

You can check out the awesome indepdenent film that shares how hip hop and break dancing has crossed International borders and touched the lives of young people all over the world. Shake the Dust gives a very intimate look at hip hop youth culture in Uganda, Columbia, Cambodia and Yemen. This film is very compelling and we totally recommend you check it out!

From executive producer and Grammy-nominated rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones and journalist-turned-filmmaker Adam Sjöberg comes the buoyant, globe-trotting film SHAKE THE DUST.

With a propulsive soundtrack of international hip-hop samples, music from both emerging emcees and established superstars like Nas, Common and Talib Kweli, as well as some of the most jaw-dropping breakdancing moves ever committed to film, SHAKE THE DUST is an inspiring tribute to the uplifting power of music and movement. By highlighting the stories and moves of some of the most talented breakdance crews in the poorest urban neighborhoods of Colombia, Yemen, Uganda, and Cambodia, Sjöberg weaves together the stories of rappers, DJs, and b-boys across three continents, revealing how breakdancing today acts as a positive force for social change.

June 3-6 — Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, Berkeley

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SEX TAPE @ STUDIO BAR

Which celebrity sex tape have you watched? Well hit the mute button and listen to SEX TAPE. SEX TAPE is dark,sticky,smooth and sexy with bright and rhythmic vocals that create the mood. "Drive//Slow" tantalizes your senses, making you want to close your eyes and slow your whole body down. See SEX TAPE tonight at the Studio Bar for CMW. After this hot and heavy show, you'll probably want to go home and make your own sex tape. See Chris LaRocca again 5/13 @ the Cameron House.

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Plato III Tells Us How a Young Rapper Feels about Fame

First off y’all, sorry for the slowness on the music drip the last couple weeks; your editor here was in the midst of a move and shit got wacky.

Now, back to the grind. In the interval here, we received a tip-top hip-hop submission from budding Austin musician Plato III that we are full throttle diggin’. It’s a music video and, as far as we can tell, the only track available online from this young guy whose intensely polished composition belies both his age and his small amount of material (at least, online material).

The track, called “Natalie Portman,” is all about fame- how it affects the hip-hop thing and the people that are going for it. Plato lays out his view of this monster force in the genre and how it’s a weird thing to balance his own aspirations to musical success with a personal tendency to shy away from the Sisyphean acquisition of fame and stardom. “Yeah i’m tryin to be well known/but with knowledge of self/like everyone else/I’m gonna end up a book on the top of the shelf/collectin’ dust/it’s embedded in us,” says Plato.

Thoughtful is an overused word in criticism of hip-hop like this, and it’s really an undervaluation of the craft at play here, especially when you add in the detailing on the video. The thing, directed by Aidan Myles Green, is a lesson in not wasting a second on anything that doesn’t serve the track, and it does what few music videos do in actually adding further dimensions to the concept that the track is based around.

It starts with constant flashes of the fame world that Plato is discussing, shots of Jordan and Monroe and rappers and Joaquin Phoenix in his crazy fake star phase and others living the big public life, all in blurry black and white with quick cuts and no long shots. These are contrasted with what are obviously real-world images from Plato’s life- little, relatable things like Polaroids with a girlfriend and walking into an apartment building. When he steps in that apartment, out of the public eye and into his own private world, the thing goes color and takes the first extended shot of Plato.

The transition is us seeing him in his day-to-day, giving a warm casual kiss to his girl and sitting at a spartan bedroom musician set-up, and this switch-over from big and chaotic and nearly imaginary to intimate (small is the wrong word) and warm and approachable is almost felt physically when you see it. She gets ready for bed in the mirror, he fiddles with a track, stops to come give her an intimate touch on the hips and they laugh together before he brushes his teeth alone, and then they both go to bed where it’s all cute love shit and not the fantasy world of beyond perfect, unreal sex that we usually see when a rapper goes to the sheets with a beautiful woman.

It’s great, authentic and impeccably done, as is the track with its 80s synths and melding of melody and rapping, of big picture commentary and personal revelation, and it gives us at The Deli a pretty fierce desire to see more of this kid, though with the understanding that we’ll probably see more when he’s good and ready to put it out and not before. “Natalie Portman,” both track and video, are just what you want to see from talented up and comers in the hip-hop scene in 2015, giving you the brain and the heart at once, and not sacrificing one bit of power in the head-noddin’ department. Thanks for submitting Plato III, and the rest of y’all, watch below. We’ll leave ya with a quote from the man’s Facebook, where he talked a bit about coverage on the track from another Austin music outlet:

‘“Natalie Portman" is an analysis of fame's consequences, not just lyrically, but also stylistically. The trendy title, the blatant use of auto-tune, and the syrupy synth-driven music are all used ironically to emphasize how originality is often sacrificed when popularity is the only objective. The song couldn't be more hip-hop in spirit.’

We agree without reservation.

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