Hip-Hop Hates MS @ Cactus Club

By - May 3rd, 2010 11:05 pm
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This past Friday night, Milwaukee Hip Hop artists convened at Cactus Club to help raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. Organizer JC Poppe acted as master of ceremony to keep the performers coordinated and the beats bumping. As JC stated in last week’s Fan-Belt interview, he was not there to perform. Considering most of his connections and recognition has come from social networking on the internet, he is the ideal person to be putting shows like this together.

JC had a camera crew there to get footage of some of the groups for press packets. From booking shows in the past, he found having footage of artists a helpful aide in solidifying an event. The crew was a couple of his friends filming more of his friends, the MCs. This helps illustrate the communal underpinnings that have been forming in local hip hop: friends helping friends. This also extended into the music. After every few songs the MCs would shout out a thanks to the producer of the track who was usually hanging out somewhere in the room. Also, banter between people on and off stage gave the show a laid back feel. It felt less like a show and more like just a bunch of friends getting up and rhyming some of their tracks.

In typical fashion, music didn’t really get going until 11 pm. But by 11 both the audience and the MCs were more than ready to get things started. SPEAK Easy was first to get up on stage and he wasn’t alone. He had Big Trip up with him. These guys came out with lots of energy and were on point. They didn’t miss a beat. They had a style that was direct and strong – a great way to get the audience engaged. For never seeing these guys before I have to say I’m impressed. The first and last songs were straight up banging which is what you want when going on before anybody from the House of M.

Raze and A.P.R.I.M.E. were next up. They were there to have fun and it showed. The time between songs turned into impromptu comedy sketches that provoked the audience to add interjections every so often. They had SPEAK Easy up for a track as well as Frankie Flowers which gave even more dimensions to their already animated stage personas. In my opinion, the hottest song was the second one they did. A.P.R.I.M.E. on the lyrics and Trellmatic on the beat, this track mixed the Boom Bap formula with Bebop – with a walking bass and meandering jazz organ playing under the words. Post-Modern Hip Hop?

Frankie Flowers then came up to kick his set. I was waiting to see what he was like after hearing good words said about him. He was noticeable right from the beginning as the dude getting his boogie on in front of the stage for the first two acts – building his energy. Frankie was different from the others in that he was there with a purpose. He rocked his tracks with little dialect or fanfare between songs. Instead, he let his lyrics speak for themselves. The ending of one his songs pitted the attention given to mostly fallacious claims (money, cars, women, guns) against the power of the truth in hip hop. You can call the truth boring, but in the end it will prevail.

Topping of the night off was KingHellBastard. If Milwaukee Hip Hop was kung fu, KHB would truly be the drunken masters. There style is relaxed, fun and packs a wallop. If you don’t know this, you’d best believe. Their set was a healthy mix of some old songs as well as a couple new ones that have yet to be released. And no show would be complete without a Dana Coppa freestyle – that shit was relentless.

Nearing the end of the night, JC informed me that over 60 people came through the doors. Add that to the $1000 raised for the walk which took place Sunday May 2nd as well as the after walk bash at AJ Bombers, JC was hoping to have netted at least $1500 for MS. The nature of the event, folks getting together for the name of a cause, seems not too different from the nature of Milwaukee’s Hip Hop scene.

Categories: Review

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