“man 9 months ago I was in a fucking small ass booth checking parking tickets now i’m a starving artist… shit fuck’s my head up. “
Who knew a gruff-voiced former Crown Heights parking attendant-turned-weirdo-emcee could pack Eclectic with sweat, rhymes, and somewhere between eight and twelve raucous hype men? Not me. Not you. As promised, it sounded a bit “like the time you saw a Mexican dude and a Chinese dude arguing in Spanish while a garbage truck backed up and someone drove by blasting the bass line of ‘Grindin.’” Except louder, and without the strippers.
After spirited opening sets by Wes’ own Kill-F (seriously: spirited) and Harvard-based Silky Johnson, Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire took to the stage for 30-35 minutes clad in a red Phillies hat last Friday, ran through raucous feel-good verses about “Dunk Driving on a Wednesday” and “Good Pussy in Chicago,” then retired quietly to the back of the stage and let his DJ’s club mixes rule the crowd for a lil while. As Argus correspondent Michael Darer ’15faithfully reports, “Eclectic found itself particularly enlivened during the show, shaking with thunderous beats and boastful lyrics so that the entire house rumbled like a volcano.”
Below, a gallery of images primarily from eXquire’s set, with a few of Kill-F mixed in. If you snapped any of Silky Johnson, send them our way at staff(at)wesleying(dot)org.
This Friday, rapper Cities Aviv (preceded by Will Feinstein ’13, who recently dropped his first solo EP) will take the stage at Psi U. A description of the acts follows, courtesy of Patrick Newman ’14:
Kill-F: Aka Waka Flaka Feinstein, AKA Trill Feinstein, AKA Will Fine-Dime-stein, will be opening up with some face melters off his recent Very Good EP (see album title for description of his style). Check out his Bandcamp page for more of his music.
Cites Aviv: “Memphis” Gavin Mays is an eclectic hip-hop act with his own perspective.” He’s coming out from Memphis with one of his producers to to kick back with all of ya’ll and lay down some tracks on the PSI U stage. His most recent album, Digital Lows is the shit and he’s got more ish in the works. Check out his Bandcamp page for more of his music.
From Izzy Coleman ’15 comes an announcement about the new Freestyle Collective of Wesleyan:
The Rap Assembly of Wesleyan is starting off the Spring semester in a big way! This workshop is designed to guide participants to open, fluid thinking and debunk the mysteries of “true freestyling.” Yeah it’s dope, but it ain’t impossible!
Hosted by David Stouck ’15, Izzy Coleman ’15, and E. Oks’Evan Okun ’13 of The Freestyle Collective.
Today on the AlumniVideo Watch series, Wes-by-way-of-Brooklyn-based hip hop collective Blue Belt (feat. Rob Rusli ’10, Saeid Vahidi ’10) drops a really freaking weird video for “YOYOYO.” The bizarro rap group just released its debut full-length LP last summer. This particular track namedrops everything from Eeyore to Harold Camping, if that gives you some idea, and the video mostly involves some dude wrestling Bigfoot on the beach. Seriously, though, the track is excellent. Says Rusli: “This is what Asian-Americans do with a degree from Wesleyan, muthafukas.” Word, bro.
Don’t call it a comeback: after three sweaty months in Crown Heights and a semester-long Buddhist immersion in Bodh Gaya, India, Wes emcee ZachG—Zach Goldberg ’13, also of campus funk/rap fusion act Bones Complex—is spitting beats, rhymes, and life from his home in Durham, NC.
Bones Complex will be back in action this spring. Until then, Hypothesis, a Durham-based hip hop crew, is Goldberg’s main squeeze, and “No Matter What Road” is its most powerful track yet. Check the sweet video for the track above—filmed by Goldberg over a six-month span, the clip features footage shot in Brooklyn (sup, Crown Heights Arts Gallery), Durham, and Bodh Gaya, with cameos by a whole buncha Wes peeps along the way. As Goldberg himself explains,
Wesleyan junior Mark Nakhla ’13 picked up American Sign Language as a freshman. In the years since, Nakhla has spent a considerable amount of time and effort signing videos for the deaf and hard of hearing community, including Backstreet Boys’ “The Call,” Katy Perry’s “Fireworks,” and OneRepublic’s “Secrets”—basically your average WESU playlist. Most of the videos involve Nahkla, stationary, signing in front of an unchanging, domestic background. Until now.
The latest is an ASL interpretation of Drake’s “Headlines,” with help from Noah Korman ’14, Adam Keller ’14, and Greg Faxon ’14. Says video contributor/not-so-anonymous tipster Korman: “This video’s production and signing however have reached new heights.” He’s right: this is a tightly choreographed Drake-themed journey through the Butts tunnels and beyond. It’s already topped 400 views in one day and counting. Check it out here or embedded above.
…that Wesleying must invariably comment on a Das Racist release; to fail to follow the suit of the NYT, the Wall Street Journal, and P4k, among others, would be sheer negligence on our part. They’ve even gotten another one of those sweet feats from GQ (have you ever really looked at soup dumplings…I mean really looked?!). The fact of the matter is that unless you live under a rock—and that rock happens to be located somewhere far, far away from Middletown or any area with a significant population of “indie” folkz—you’re probably well aware of Relax, the latest project of rap wonder duo Heems (Himanshu Suri ’07) and Kool AD (Victor Vazquez ’06) and hypeman Dapwell (Ashok Kondabolu). If you’re not, check this vid immediately.
The brainchild of rapper Spoken Phor (Patrick Salazar ’13) and producer Maestro (Anthony G. Edwards ’11, of We Are the HEROES), “Half Way There” is a refreshing addition to Wesleyan’s ever-expanding catalogue of student creativity—it’s bold, triumphant, and best bumped loud. The mixtape was dropped on Dat Piff on October 26th, and is currently available for free download. Acquiring it is certainly worth the effort: echoing the efforts of such fresh, bombastic gangsta revivalists like Freddie Gibbs, Spoken Phor delivers well-constructed verses with unflappable confidence. Maestro’s immaculately polished production and vocal stylings from Melanie Brady ’12 perfectly complement Salazar’s flow.
Half Way There - Spoken Phor
Though he occasionally employs tropes typically associated with mainstream hip hop, Spoken Phor is far too intelligent to treat swagger as anything but a reference point; in the gripping final track (produced by J. Paul ’11) after which mixtape is titled, Salazar waxes introspective, baring the frustrated pain that motivates him to press on with his craft. Contextualized by the poignantly raw ruminations of its last verses, “Half Way There” verily comes full circle, and the result is moving.
What’s also remarkable is the confluence of talent present in “Half Way There”. Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and with any luck, we’ll see more of it from these gifted individuals. Salazar recently performed at Amherst and is in the process of booking a show at UPenn; here’s hoping we’ll catch a Spoken Phor performance at Wes in the near future.