| music culture , news, and commentary

music culture , news, and commentary

Atmosphere at MAHA Music Festival

It was right around 6:50 pm on Saturday, August 15th when Atmosphere took the stage at MAHA Music Festival at Aksarben Village in Omaha, Nebraska.  This hour long set would leave a mark on the attendees.  The crowd smelled of alcohol and green, and as Slug and Ant started their show with “Sunshine” it was evident that even the birds were bumping to the beat at this concert.

So many songs from the early 2000’s were revived, including many hits from their older works. Sean Daley performed many songs from the Lucy Ford EP this time around.  The anthem “Don’t Ever ******* Question That” was a great inclusion.  Also from the same Extended Play, “Guns and Cigarettes” was delivered.  Lastly, his a cappella of “The Woman With The Tattooed Hands” was legendary.

As the sun set behind him, there was a moment while he was on stage when Slug said, “My name is Sage Francis.”  He then performed a song called “Embarrassed” that featured the late Eyedea and Sage.  The show did come to an end with one of their most popular ballads, “Trying To Find A Balance” from God Loves Ugly.  It was epic. Lastly, check out the performance of the song “Kanye West” from their most recent 2014 album Southsiders.

Kid Cudi at Grassroots Music Festival

The first night of Grassroots Music Festival 2015 was a hot and slightly chaotic experience. Thousands of people squeezed into Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, July 31 and an estimated 2,000 waited outside for an hour just to get in. The only good thing about this event was the music and performances by the artists. Logic as an opening act was memorable and some appreciated when Mac Miller said, “Where the titties at?” His choice words for Donald Trump were appreciated as well. But it was the main performer of the evening, Kid Cudi that absolutely saved the day.

Kid Cudi took the stage around 10 pm under a full moon and the crowd went nuts. He said, “Holy F***! The weed smells good!” And there were many smells of the plant throughout the crowd for sure. He put on a brand new song called “Confused” from his upcoming album Speedin Bullet to Heaven. When he played the popular ballad, “Pursuit of Happiness” it was sheer intoxication that took over. And thankfully, he also played the song “Mr. Rager” as well. Check out the video of the song and do not miss him next time he is in your town.

Nappy Roots at Hullabaloo Music Festival

On a beautiful summer night in Nebraska, Nappy Roots performed for a large crowd at Hullabaloo Music Festival.  There is not a music act today that exemplifies the so-called Dirty South quite like them. They hail from Bowling Green, Kentucky, a college town of over 50,000 people and a place that is more known for the Corvette Museum than breeding rap groups. But it is the small town home of these old country boys that sing of a world where gravel roads are more common than urban highways. Many of their lyrics would be expected to be heard on a country music station.

This concert was special for a few reasons. One different aspect was the crowd that made the event. It felt a bit like the circus due to a flame thrower, person in a wolf mask, and of course, the kids breaking up fluorescent necklaces and smearing them everywhere. Plus there was a child on a small unicycle. Next year, if you are in Nebraska, do not miss out on Hullabaloo. And if Nappy Roots ever come to your town you should take the opportunity to witness them first hand. Check out the performance at the festival of the song “Awnaw” from their 2002 album Watermelon, Chicken, & Gritz.

The Roots at Stir Concert Cove

The Most Legendary Roots Crew performed at Stir Concert Cove in Council Bluffs, Iowa once again on Saturday, July 18th. This group started in Philadelphia circa 1987 at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts where Black Thought and Questlove first met. Only a decade later they were mainstream. And eventually they became Jimmy Fallon’s House Band. For this writer, who has been a fan of The Roots music for decades and seen them perform over a dozen times in half a dozen states, this show was nostalgic.

There were amazing flashbacks of memories circa 2003 when they played “Break You Off” from their album Phrenology. They also played songs like “You Got Me” and a rendition of Kool and the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” that was great. The crowd was diverse and the atmosphere was energetic with every song. There was also DJ Iron as the opener, with some mad skills on the turntables.

Lastly, there was a sousaphone at this rap show. When Damon Bryson, also known as Tuba Gooding Junior, took the stage and performed solo, it did not feel out of place. Honestly, it felt perfect and he even walked into the crowd as he played. Check out the show video of his performance.

Geto Boys at Omaha’s The Waiting Room

Old school southern rap superstars Geto Boys graced the presence of a tumultuous crowd at The Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska in the early morning hours of June 22, 2015. After Houston Alexander put in some work on the turntables, some local rappers took the stage. Pocket Pete with a decent flow and Big Mista, who brought out some large self-identifying posters for his set, are both local Omaha artists and opened with prominent rhymes. Now even though it took them three hours to grace the stage, the best performance of the night went to the main act, Geto Boys.

Here is the thing about Geto Boys: they are terrible in the best possible way. This is the kind of music your grandmother dislikes because it is riddled with foul language, expletive terminology, and a slightly perverse mentality. And that is why they are loved and adored so much by their fans. It is also their compilation of horror stories turned rhymes that make them popular as well. If it is true that Bushwick Bill was legally pronounced dead in a morgue on June 19, 1991, then what happened when he took the stage just over 24 years later was nothing short of a miracle. Check out the snippet of his performance of the song “Chuckie” from their 1991 album We Can’t Be Stopped.


Atmosphere at Omaha’s The Slowdown

Slug (Sean Daley) and Ant (Anthony Davis), together known as Atmosphere, performed once again to a sold out crowd in Omaha, Nebraska last night at The Slowdown. This was a great show and for this writer, who has seen them perform live more than half a dozen times since the early 2000’s, the show was inspiring once again. It was really great to see Slug still working hard, still sweating, and still perfecting his art just to please his fans. There were less minors seen at this show and more grown adults, many with alcoholic beverages in hand, which in the past has been Slug’s vice.

On stage, Slug is really a force to be reckoned with and he even took the time to freestyle last night. His freestyle was not the greatest ever heard, but it was decent enough and fed the hungry crowd. Also, Ant can still scratch a record like no other deejay in Minnesota. Regardless of whether you like Atmosphere or the Midwest, the talented rappers and musicians that hail from this part of the country are often overlooked because they are not on the coasts.

Next time Atmosphere is in your town, buy a ticket and go. Luckily for us in Omaha, they are returning for MAHA Music Festival in August 2015. Lastly, check the video from the show last night of the song “Sunshine” from the EP Sad Clown Bad Summer #9.

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 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.