Tech N9ne, Black Star, and Frat Rap
So, Tech N9ne: Dude is an independent force to be reckoned with. He tears up the Billboard indie charts and enjoys what seems like millions of fans, and he's coming to the Showbox Sodo on Friday, November 4 with his Strange Music signees Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun, Jay Rock, and Flawless, and even his pal Neema (who, very logically, heads up Seattle marketing for Strange Music). If you've read this column over the last million years, then you probably know that Tech's frantic brand of face-paint apocalypto rap gives me the screeeaming heebie-jeebies, but I do respect his grind (SOYGNH and such). I definitely dig that Strange put out the hard-grinding Jay Rock's excellent album, Follow Me Home, and is taking that gruff-voiced Cali constituent out on the road; as part of the Black Hippy squad, along with Kendrick Lamar (not to mention ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, though I honestly rarely have, it might be a "strange" fit to some, but I think Rock's particular gangsta fits right in.
Yo, you saw that Black Star are coming to town, right? Right! At Showbox Sodo, on Saturday, November 5. Opening up are my girls THEESatisfaction, fresh off tour dates with Shabazz Palaces (and about to do some more abroad), and another local crew whose name I haven't seen in a while: Abyssinian Creole! Khingz and Gabriel Teodros almost parallel Black Star in that they were a great combo that got one album off years ago (2005's Sexy Beast), and have made great strides as artists since then (From Slaveships to Spaceships and Lovework come to mind), but haven't ever seemed like they would get it back together—till now. Cheers to it, fellas.
Now, remember all that crap I wrote last week about Mac Miller? Yeah, there is one thing about his ascendance with which I genuinely take issue: He's opened the door to the Frat Rap phenomenon and all the beer-pongin'-ass second-rate Millers are pouring in (there's some good beer-based jokes here, seeing as one of these fools actually calls himself Sam Adams). Maybe it's a generational thing—after all, I was raised on '80s movies (where the frats were always the enemy) and '90s hiphop (ever read Bomb the Suburbs? Sure you did). But I also believe in it ain't where you from, it's where you at, as long as where you're at is a place called "respecting what came before" and "actually decent at rapping." Most of these clowns are pushing a party line of awkward suburban try-hardism as a virtue, and for that, Mac Miller probably gets the occasional, and probably deserved, guilty case of night terrors. Case in point: Chris Webby, headlining at the Crocodile on Sunday, November 6. This guy would've been lucky to get a buck on the nerdcore circuit four years ago, and now you probably can't kick the YouTube machine without some of his shittiness falling out. Such is life. Some of the old heads, upon seeing shit like this, scream, "Battle stations!" but I'm more like, "Abandon ship!" Make for the lifeboats—women and children first. Learn the guitar or something. [Thinks of Lil Wayne...] Wooh, scratch that last part.