@ SummerJam 2010
In it’s seventh year of showcasing some of the best hip-hop from Portland to Eugene, SummerJam 2010 gave the WOW Hall in the heart of Eugene, Oregon a full menu with flavors from Northwest’s old and new schools of rap. With premiere acts the likes of Cool Nutz, Endr Won, Maniac Lok, Mackdub and Todd G as well as rising local talent such as Absoloot, J Will, Drops, Philosophy and J Philly, to name a few. Willy Mays aka Mackdub, has been pushing Oregon’s hip-hop scene for over 20 years and has been working with local rappers to elevate the Northwest.
Caught the last song of the night for Drama, the sound live was laid back. There must have been a lot of performers that had places to go because many of their backups were wearing various backpacks – “Hey dude, thanks for having me in the show but I gotta jet.” I got away with one of Drama’s CDs and there is a characteristically low key vibe with just enough flavor to keep things interesting. DJ Shimmy and Crisis hit the ground running, introducing the first Hispanic flavor of the night, spicing his rhymes hot like habanera with some rapid fire cholo-chops. Crisis began to awaken the crowd, getting the people moving but also drawing out one tactless detractor eager only to hear his favorite rapper which didn’t happen to be the act at hand.
Arriving with a posse both on the stage and in the crowd, Absoloot animated the stage with enthusiasm and a smooth delivery of some heavily street influenced lyrics. Sporting the signature “Got Guap”, Absoloot spins a tale of the darker side of life in Eugene. If the depictions of E-town life presented by Absoloot and other artists are correct, party-goers in Eugene might be henceforth be warned – B.Y.O.B.B (Bring Your Own Body Bag) as the local atmosphere in the Southern Willamette Valley is pretty heavy through their street tinted glasses. Keno’s sound progressed with heft as his performance warmed through the set. SummerJam was happily broadcast as an international gathering of local talent, the African native now rapping as Young If (pronounced eef) mixed in some multicultural elements but otherwise fit into the backdrop of American hip-hop quite snuggly.
While there was diversity in sound from the artists who performed prior to the arrival of Philosophy, it seems the college graduate was unique in his attempts to elevate the room by delivering something other than the sex-money-drugs formula so often repeated in much of mainstream music. Philosophy was also the first to bring his own accompaniment and appeared to have produced the beats for many of his own tracks. Through innovation, showmanship and energy Philosophy got a majority of the crowd moving, shouting along with his Northwest inspired lyrics while bodies were bouncing up and down. The chorus line for Kent B’s homage to the ladies in the crowd, “You Don’t Know How You Make Me Feel” was perhaps the most sing-along-friendly hook of the night. Drops and the Green State crew had a fluid blend of styles with Mackdub and proud uncle Dustin Fuller contributing on several tracks.
Eugene’s reformed and born again pimp Todd G brought some old school flavor with his Gorilla Gospel. Fresh on local soil after having recently returned from touring Europe with the premiere of Northwest hip-hop, Todd G has built his own celebrity with features in publications like The Source and Vibe, you can dig more into his personal story of streets-to-redemption at www.toddgministries.com. Todd G shared the stage with a cameo from Rated X who flawlessly delivered the only freestyle rhyme of the night. Rapper J Philly and Sasquatch have joined forces to create the hip-hop super group The Cavedwellers, and the crowd was responsive to their unique take on old school spits. In addition to his role as the organizer and MC of SummerJam 2010, Mackdub kept the party rolling by inciting the crowd with a few raps of his own. J Will was constant in his role of CEO of beats for the night and stepped from behind the turntables to kill the crowd by raising his own mic.
Northwest A-List Rap Celbrity Cool Nutz took the stage like a pro with Maniac Lok and DJ Fatboy tearing things up. For whatever reason, either Eugenian hip-hop heads are all on 11:30PM curfew or just don’t have a lot of respect for those who are really pushing the Oregon scene at the highest levels, but the crowd thinned out during one of the best performances of the night. Just in case the reader is unaware, Cool Nutz aka Terrance Scott, helms The Northwest Radio Breakout Show, Oregon Hip-Hop Festival and founded Jus Family Records with business partner Bosco Kante. Cool Nutz and the crew will be returning to E-Town on October 3, 2010 at the McDonald Theatre when Tech N9ne comes to town. Taking center stage in his hometown, Eugene’s own internationally known son of swag, Endr Won torched the stage with blends from his earlier and admittedly darker themes as well as the lighter, while still not cuddly, side of his more recent music. Endr Won was all pro even amidst the flippancy of Eugene’s too good for what’s good magically evaporating crowd.
SummerJam 2010 was a fun and full bodied blend of some of the best old and new school Northwest hip-hop available. Mackdub and the WOW Hall were enthusiastic hosts and our introduction to the venue left us hungry for more. Keep tabs here at hurdcore.com as we follow up with artists from SummerJam and prepare for more live performances here in the Willamette Valley.
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