Last night, our friend and oft-collaborator the one and only Allen Poe gave us, the nitwits, numb skulls, and ne’er do wells at Never Nervous, a little shine with The Culture Appreciates, a series of shows aimed at the culture, hip-hop, giving back. To say that we’re all honored and humbled is an understatement, especially since Poe went above and beyond in adhering to the first rule of scene etiquette. This was a tight show packed with awesome emcees, beats that make this Grimace shaped Hobbit bounce in public, and friendly faces that I’ve only ever met through the internet. It was rad to check out the newly renovated Z-Bar space, which I hadn’t been to before. That stage and the lighting are incredible. Like, just imagine that business in the doorway to your house or something. You’d feel like a true manager every time you walked through the front door.
I got there early or at least earlier than everyone else, which is a rare treat for Major Dad over here, but I banked on Poe’s promise for punctuality. And he delivered, dammit! I had the privilege of meeting Rmllw2llz, the minds behind Local Haunt and CELS, and (too briefly) Jordan Jetson. I can’t speak for Jake or Phil, but if I didn’t talk to you, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to, and I definitely want it to be something I amend as soon as possible; I love meeting new people (see below for lame details!). In one way or another they were all friends I’d formally only e-known, which isn’t uncommon I guess in 2017. We are all islands, I suppose, adrift in a digital sea of time and space.
The cool thing is that I could kick back and enumerate the folks there, the friends we’ve met through our time covering the hip-hop scene, and I feel like it wouldn’t be enough. Jake said it better than my fool self, but there is no Never Nervous without you, be that the hip-hop community or anything else. We love digging into what people dig into and I promise you beyond anything else, this is the one thing we’re all on the same page with. I’ve created art in a vacuum for decades, and it can be isolating. Clearly I’m not making music with the intent to stoke my pride in any way, whether manifested through financial or ego success, but it is at least nice to actually be able to talk to people about whatever it is that you do, why you do it, and meet on some higher level of communication. Real talk: that’s what music is to me, the purest way to communicate complex feelings all in the moment, and I am confident, for my partners here as well.
Everyone absolutely slayed on Thursday. Touch AC opened up the set with his spiritual bops and meditative jams. That second track he played, “The King” is so, so fire y’all. I couldn’t not bounce just a little bit, which is good for Pee-Paw’s heart rate over here. He took a breather mid-way through to let some folks from Framehouse come up, and they killed a nice little mini-set all the same. Next up was Eons D. First, I wish I’d introduced myself, because he seems super awesome. Second: holy shit his set was amazing. His solo tracks were boss, his rhymes are tight, and bringing up 1200, Metez, and Jetson was a solid move. Last but never least was Goodbar, who brought that grit in a way that really only he can do. I feel like he may be my spirit rapper in some ways, just because of the amount of fuck it that goes into what we both do, just bare and starkly honest.
Watch a video of featuring a song from each set below:
What’s cool is that it was a pretty varied show, and even had our friends in Shadowpact (love you homies) been there, it still would’ve been just as diverse. Touch had more of a Stones Throw vibe to his beats, where Eons D and company had more trap work going on, which brought in a nice energy. Goodbar just sounds like grimy Def Jux or Wu-Tang beats, ugly in the best, most uncompromising way. As a person that consumes and listens to a lot of music, it was nice to pick out those subtleties and see them capitalized on.
My night ended by making a boob out of myself making it weird with Shadwick of Quiet Hollers, before talking the ears off of Peter Wesley and CELS, who patiently listened to me like I had something to say. I bounced, ate food I still regret, and hit the hay, basking in the glow of spending time with friends afforded to me through music. It was nice to feel like part of the community and not just an outside observer, and I know that Phil and Jake are with me on this. We’re happy to help any time that we can.