Wiz Khalifa, Katalyst Kickoff Part, J Battle, Oddisee
Here we are, a week since a huge natural disaster (peace and love to my East Coast folks) and about a day since what very well could be a manmade one—oh god [Big Sean voice], please tell me the black guy won.
On Wednesday, November 7, at the WaMu Theater (the new "it" rap venue, apparently) check out Wiz Khalifa—since you spent last week indoors, Netflixing the Mac & Devin movie—along with his whole Taylor Gang. Yes, Juicy J (kinda weird to think of an Academy Award winner and Southern rap pioneer as part of all that, but yeah), Chevy Woods, XXL "Eye Candy"-ternt-rapper Lola Monroe, prolific San Francisco reputable Berner, and Tuki Carter will do their damnedest to bring the easy-times beer-pong soundtrack. There will be lots of Converse, weed smoke, and poor life choices: all part of a complete breakfast.
Or, y'know, save your shekels for a far more worthy cause the following evening (November 8) at Neumos—the Katalyst kickoff party featuring Grynch, Spac3man, Prometheus Brown, OTOW Gang (Khingz, Mic Flont, Massiah, and Uce Wayne), and Luck-One, with DJs El Grande and Seabefore, and your hosts Gabriel Teodros and Sista Hailstorm. Katalyst is a youth-driven art and music education program at WAPI, a local nonprofit whose "goal is to help youth deal with substance abuse/dependency issues and to provide youth with healthy alternatives to substance abuse," something a lot of hiphop tends to forget (though it remembers to explicitly instruct preteens on which drugs to do). Over the past few years, the program's funding has been chipped away, and proceeds from this show—the first annual kickoff part of their youth-run Katalyst Records—will go directly to the program. "This show," Mic Flont tells me, "could potentially fund two-thirds of the program with its proceeds"—and you can make this happen. Young hiphop heads in Seattle, feeling charged and wanting to change the world for the better: Here's where you can help, g.
Meanwhile, downstairs at Barboza, Gran Rapids' J Battle is having a release party for his new beat tape Nun Chucks; he, P Smoov, Kyle Thomas, and Darwin will be playing all original productions all night.
Repping the MMG—no, the other MMG: Mello Music Group—is DC-bred MC/producer extraordinaire Oddisee, appearing at Barboza on Friday, November 9. His newest album, People Hear What They See, is inspired and understated, a way-refined and thoughtful work of hiphop for grown-ups of all ages. Sleep, and regret it one day—dude is truly a talent, standing far out from the boring underground holdouts and the Tumblr-wave's aggressive mediocrity; Oddisee's always-poignant take on boom bap sticks to the ribs with a rare measure of style, soul, and substance. I'm highly advising you go fuck with him and his live band, plus the considerable talents of JusMoni & WD4D (do yourself a major, and see them perform their Queen Feel material; you'll thank me) and traveling funk purveyor dj100proof. It's not easy (for me, at least) to find new, straight-up hiphop that isn't boring-slash-dumb as shit—that still feels vital, relevant, and fresh—but Oddisee nails it every time.