Monday, June 16, 2008

Scorching the Showbox

The ultimate show from Noise for the Needy was a knockout. Seattle artists Common Market, Gabriel Teodoros and Grayskul opened for Talib Kweli at the Showbox, representing the Seattle hip hop scene triumphantly. In three back-to-back sets with barely a pause between them, the crews from the 206 displayed tremendous charisma, riotous rhymes, and a beaming sense of local pride. Without exception the music was smart and engaging and the lyrics were poignant and passionate. Between songs the Greyskul crew shouted that no one is making music like Seattle, and it was easy to believe them - I've never heard so much hip hop that displayed non-stop humor, imagination and originality.

Common Market's performance was really the highlight of the show. MC Ra Scion was all anger and lyricism, delivering blistering tirades on everything from the social justice movement, to fair trade, to the state of local hiphop, to fatherhood in urban communities. I didn't catch every word, but you couldn't mistake the force of his convictions. At the end of the night Talib Kweli played the star and had charm to burn, but I don't think I'm the only one who felt that his set was an anti-climax after the enthusiasm and brilliance of our local crews. Word.

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