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music culture , news, and commentary

Logic at Omaha’s The Slowdown

Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, also known as the rapper Logic, performed to a sold out crowd in Omaha, Nebraska at The Slowdown last night. The up and coming rapper is clearly working hard and amassing a large following. According to Rolling Stone magazine Logic is “all style, no substance.” But that pop music magazine is dead wrong on this rapper. Granted, he seems to have a bright future in hip-hop, but what he is doing right now should be commended, not looked down upon.

What really stood out at this concert was not just Logic’s performance. It was the crowd. Honestly, there were a flurry of hands up in the air at this concert, because when a mass of people are having fun watching an artist that they like, it is only obligatory to throw some hands up. What was different about this show was that seemingly, up to half of the hands had the “black mark” of being under the legal drinking age of 21. This fact was not all that shocking.

Regardless of age, Logic is preaching about peace, love, and positivity to a younger generation that might not yet know about the evils in the world. Also, check out his performance of the song “Buried Alive” from the show last night. Lastly, if he comes to your town and you are a fan, buy a ticket before it sells out.

Talib Kweli at Omaha’s Waiting Room

Today, Talib Kweli is one of the greatest rappers alive and just last night he performed to a sold out crowd at The Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska.  His opening acts included Hasan Salaam, Niko IS, and a great performance by Immortal Technique.  The highlight of the show was clearly the Brooklyn-based rapper though, and he dropped a lot of knowledge on a crowd that seemed to appreciate every word he spoke.

Something happened about midway through the show, and it is something that has been taking place a lot of the time when Talib picks up a microphone and shares his voice with masses of human beings.  He stopped rapping and starting just talking to the crowd.

“… mainstream, corporate, commercialized hip-hop… which while, that’s the hip-hop that all of us pay attention to… even everybody in this room… and let’s keep it real. That’s the hip-hop most of us pay attention to, cause we spend a lot of time talking about how much we don’t like Nikki Minaj, Drake, Little Wayne… and we spend a lot of time talking about that. .. And don’t front like ya’ll don’t.  And we spend not a lot of time celebrating what you do like.  And you know why I know?  Cause more people like the real s*** than the bulls**, but the bulls*** sells more.  That’s how I know.  Because people vote with their dollars. That’s what we are doing right now.  I’m not an iPod.  I’ve got something to say.  I’m here to express myself.  Enjoy the live experience.  If you care about hip-hop, you have a responsibility to support what you like.”

These words of Talib Kweli are absolute truth.  Support the music you like and love with your dollars by purchasing their albums and going to their concerts.  Also, click on the link to view his opening song called “Palookas” from his 2011 album Gutter Rainbows.

Doomtree at Omaha’s Waiting Room

So there was a great rap concert last night in Omaha, Nebraska and hopefully you were there.  It was at The Waiting Room (@waiting_room) and included P.O.S, Sims, Transit, and Cecil Otter, among others.  All of these rappers and artists call themselves as a collective, Doomtree.  And they have been around for more than a decade.  They were once signed to the well known record label Rhymesayers, which started in the 1990’s in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Sean “Slug” Daley and friends.  But now, they run their own label.

There was one female rapper that stole the show last night though.  Her name is Dessa, and aesthetically she is gorgeous.  But more importantly, she is an artist with a sound and lyrics that are astounding.  She performed a song that many recognized, “Seamstress” and it was epic.  It was about herself poking holes, stitching, and trying to fix broken things that are sometimes beyond repair.  This included a broken angel in a box beneath her bed when she was a child, a bird in a cage, and men.

When all was said and done, it was another great rap concert for a room full of hip-hop heads.  If you ever get the chance to see Doomtree live do yourself a favor and get to their next concert.  They are on tour right now. Visit doomtree.net for more information.

Logic – Under Pressure

This album review is a bit late.  In the world of hip-hop nowadays, there is a lot of crap out there.  Every kid in his parent’s basement that has a MacBook and a microphone can put together a full rap album.  But when there is a gem that has not hit the mainstream and pop radio it can be exciting.  This brings us to a rapper named Logic, who hails from Gaithersburg, Maryland.  His fan base around the world right now is at least half million strong on the social network, and this is because his music is magnificent.

Under Pressure is a classic, and it is also his debut album.  If there is one song you should listen to it would be “Alright” featuring Big Sean, but there are more.  Some of his lyrics come off as redundant, but the sound is unique.

Essentially, Logic may not become the next Wiz Khalifa.  Considering his awful and seemingly horrid upbringing in a Section 8 government home, he should have a lot more material in the future.  However, he is coming up and you should get on his bandwagon now… before your friends make fun of you for not knowing his name.

Isaiah Rashad – Modest

There is a rapper named Isaiah Rashad that sports dreads and has a music video for a song called Modest. There may be cynicism in the title of the song, because the lyrics are certainly not modest, but the man’s music is great nonetheless.

There is a line he uses in the song that is reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar when he explicitly states, “b!tch don’t kill my vibe” and there are other easy comparisons to Lamar as well. But Isaiah Rashad is unique and has monstrous delivery. He even drops religious connotations about Babylon, and when he is wearing the suit in this video, “Nail me to the cross and I’m just hangin.” And there is also the following line, “Least they left that serpent in my fingers I’m just smokin’.” So evidently, he has also smoked marijuana, which is news to only brand new listeners.

The really cool part is in the second half of the video though. His alter-ego wearing a sweatshirt gives a real insular quality. Even though casting no one but himself in the video can come off as a bit pretentious, the end result is nothing less than incredible.  Click to play the music video.

Orishas – Cuban All-Stars, Hip-Hop Cubano

There is a Cuban group from Havana called Las Orishas.  They have been together since the late 1990’s, when they first formed on the urban streets playing percussion, rapping, and dancing.  It has been a long road to fame for the group, but they are now back in Cuba likely working on another album.  They have alledgedly travelled throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America and have performed in front of millions throughout their careers.

Last summer they performed in Chile to a massive crowd, and there is a video on YouTube that can be found of the performance.  It is very much breath-taking, and watching a Cuban music group actually travel throughout the world is somewhat astonishing.  The thing is the four artists this article is referring to are not on stage.  This is because sometimes names change, groups disband and reform, and in the summer of 2013 the Cuban government supposedly allowed artists from orishasthebest.com to leave the country to perform.

With that being said, the reason for this article is to only praise and admire from afar this music group.  There is a lot of variety in their phenominal material.  There is also a specific song that will hopefully tickle your fancy called “Represent” and you will listen to it right now if you click.  Also, if you do some digging you can find the full rap album A Lo Cubano from 1999.

Kane

There is a dee jay who calls himself Kane. He is from Bellevue, Nebraska and calls Omaha his home. He has a family, a daughter, and he is legally blind as a bat. One of the advantages to losing one of the five senses, is that with human beings the other four senses will compensate and make up for it. This is especially true with Kane when it comes to sound.

Currently his company A Kane Production is more of a side project, but there are also the rumors stating different things. Getting a hold of the man is damn near impossible and finding his music can sometimes be difficult, but fortunately his soundcloud account is still alive. And thank God for that. There are still a lot of up and comers on soundcloud, and a lot of kids trying to find fame by uploading terrible sounds they record in their Mom’s basement. But Kane has some commercial sounds on his account as well, and this is because at times he is hired to do so.

There is one specific piece that you should take the time to listen to though if you enjoy a simple rhythm, alluring melody, and just breath taking song. It is called “A Brigg’s Wedding” and it is beautiful. It is not a dance beat, but rather something you could walk down the aisle to at your church when you get married. This is the type of sound that can bring a huge smile to a groom’s face as he awaits. But it can also bring a tear to a father’s eye as he gives his daughter away.

Essentially, Kane is an extremely gifted human being. If you would ever like to get a hold of the man for a commissioned sound, unfortunately all that he has right now is a Twitter account, but he can and will reply on occasion. Follow him on Twitter @kennycheairs and listen to the song http://soundcloud.com/akaneproduction/a-briggs-wedding.

Kane – A Brigg’s Wedding

Nas Researches His Ancestry

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In an episode on PBS of “Finding Your Roots” Nas had a conversation with Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr to take a look at his ancestral history.

In the video Nas sees photos of his family and their slave owner, Benjamin Franklin Little, who purchased his great great great grandmother, Pocahontas Little.  At the time, she was 15 years old and was bought for less than $900.

Nas, visibly upset, reflects on what life must have been like as a slave in 1859.  Watch the powerful video to learn more about Nas’ past, and his plans for the land Benjamin Franklin Little once owned.

Brother Ali at Omaha’s Waiting Room

Brother Ali, the legally blind and albino rapper from Minneapolis, performed yet another memorable show at The Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska last night.  He is still hitting the road on his Home Away From Home Tour across the United States and Canada off his most recent album, Mourning in America.  Clearly this man is a hard worker, because under the beam of lights the sweat began to drip from his face just after a few songs.

The thing about Brother Ali that sets him apart from other rappers is that he follows the teachings of Allah and calls himself Muslim.  Also, reports indicate that he is either currently learning or already knows how to speak Arabic.  On top of that, he was arrested a few years ago for crossing a picket line at an Occupy protest.  Without a doubt, it takes a lot of passion and conviction to get arrested for protesting any one cause.

In regards to Mourning in America, Brother Ali still has a lot to say about it.  “This is not just a new album, but a new chapter. There’s a kind of democratic reawakening in people at this point in time. I was really looking to take these topics and really hit them hard. To try to open ears and hearts and invite people to take some action and feel empowered. To be engaged and take some agency and responsibility for what’s going on in the world.”

Click on the link to be redirected to our website, for his opening song from the show, “Fajr” and you will not be disappointed.  Lastly, if you missed the show last night, don’t worry because he will more than likely be back in Omaha in the future.

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Chance the Rapper at Lollapalooza 2014

Chance the Rapper was already there when when we started watching. He had just finished a song and he said, “What the f*** is up?” The crowd was already energized, and he rapped the song, Brain Cells. It was awesome, because we had never heard a live rapper use the rhyme, “the flabbergasted avalanche of ambulances near.”

Then after that rhyming was over, he got the crowd more hyped up with the display of lights, hands up in the air music, and of course more about his marijuana use. He did play a new version of a song that we had never heard before, but that everyone knew the words to called Wonderful Everyday. When he began it, minds in the crowd slowed down a bit and it was beautiful. It was a simple message and it came from the man’s heart. Just believe in yourself and everyday will be wonderful, and that is why he is loved and adored by his fans.

Eventually, he left the stage… and the chanting began for the encore. We knew he was about to go out with a bang… the guitar started and it was a bit reminiscent of Michael Jackson, but it was him. It was a one song encore that left the crowd not just satisfied, but euphoric.

Lollapalooza 2014 was one of the greatest music festivals ever witnessed by attendees. But for Chance the Rapper, it was also an incredible experience. During his performance on stage he said, “This is the coolest **** I’ve ever done.”

Chance the Rapper - Lollapalooza 2014
Chance the Rapper – Lollapalooza 2014