As the line between underground and mainstream hip-hop becomes more pronounced while simultaneously more blurred, there’s still solid independent West Coast hip-hop to be heard. This Saturday at the Roseland a whole gaggle of inter-related Cali bred hip-hop artists leave the open mic night behind and take the stage at the Roseland.
The most recognizable name is Aceyalone of the Freestyle Fellowship and Project Blowed label crew. Ace is straight-up one of the best MC’s around (there are probably like two thousand “best” MC’s, actually). He flows pure about interesting, often positive subject matter. Ace’s Fellowship-mate P.E.A.C.E. performs as well. Also taking the stage is a bunch of MC’s, DJ’s and producers more or less all from the Afterlife Records camp.
The Chillin Villain empire is a large and varied crew who came up where many So Cal area artists also did, L.A.’s Goodlife Caf퀌� open mic nights. Fellow Goodlife and Project Blowed open mic live band regulars Legion will also perform. Legion MC’s drop freestyles over often-improvised hip-hop, jazz, reggae and funk grooves. They’re about to release a full length on Afterlife records.
The full lineup for the Blow Out is: Aceyalone and Peace of Freestyle Fellowship, host J-Smoov, performances by DJ Drez, Bus Driver, Chillin Villain Empire (CVE)-which includes Rhymin Riddleore, Tray Loc and Wreccless, Hip Hop Kclan-which includes Ellay Khule and Pterradacto, Volume 10, Legion (live hip hop band), Cotton Candi, Cypher 7 and locals DJ Shobannon and Shortround.
Many of these names aren’t too familiar. Whether that changes in the future or not won’t change the fact that they’ve been working hard bringing music and activism to their communities. The messages and causes they get behind are positive.
Some of these, and other indie-hop artists sound like they could easily be mainstream. Some don’t. Regardless of if they ever reach the bigs, it’s clear that they are doing what they love, and entertaining a lot of people in the process.
Many of the Afterlife records artists can be heard on the compilation Welcome to The Afterlife. The music is straight ahead, nothing new, but solid. Legion does their live thing, various producers show their basic solid drum machine and sampler chops and the MC’s deliver.
With so many MCs and DJs, the live show should be busy and high energy. They’ll do their best to pump the Roseland up, and if they succeed, it should be a good time. Aceyalone fans may prefer to bob heads and hang on the lyrics, which should still be a good time. Needless to say, this may be the only chance you get to see these artists outside of a crowded L.A. open mic night.
The Blow Out is all ages and goes down at the Roseland, Saturday night. Advance tickets are available at Fastixx locations. There will be a free in-store performance at 360 vinyl, 224 N.W. Couch at 4:20 p.m. on Saturday.