The Tucson Hip Hop Festival is two days away. I love festivals and can't wait. Festivals are like adult playgrounds - so many options available. Wandering from one stage to another is a blast. Before the actual show though, festival lineups offer the opportunity to explore a list of artists. I have as much fun going through the lineup as I do being at the actual show. It helps diversify and expand my musical knowledge and most importantly, I come across songs I'm legitimately excited to hear live. Here are a few tracks, I'm pumped to see performed Tucson Hip Hop Fest on February 25.
Elijah Kilo - Tiger Striped Camo
A good vocal sample as the basis for a beat gets me almost every time. Especially when it plays like the background music during a cruise around the block with a dope spitta in the driver's seat talking tales of street hustling. Elijah Kilo is that OG dude weaving in Genesis, chess metaphors, and questions about loyalty as he talks about hood experiences.
Liquid Sound Disciples - Wise Up
This is that rap as self-help. A bite-sized morsel of how to get yourself correct in under 4:00 minutes. The lesson is simple - wise up. Ephewe, Citrus, TuffKookyz, Symbolic & 808 are the ones kicking knowledge over a funky guitar sample that builds into a crescendo of strings before minimizing and leaving the listener with a course of action.
Big Meridox - El Padrino
Rap can be so simple at times. Not saying, it's easy. I'm saying strip it down to a drum beat, maybe a sample, and a rapper just spitting. Here Big Meridox does exactly that giving his rhymes center stage. It's that uhhhhh, uh huh, uhhhhhh boom-bap lyrical rap. Hard not get immersed in Meridox's one verse track spit like a man with some shit to get off his chest.
Headlock - Mad Diamonds
I admit I heard of Headlock but never heard their music. I even met Tom and IllSlur in Tucson. But they have one of those names that makes them difficult to find online. To get ready for the fest, though, I went on a mission and turns out, it's not that difficult to find them. I'm glad I did. Mad Diamonds is another track stripped down to the bare rap essentials. Headlock manages to sound like he could be the fourth emcee in the Beastie Boys.
Chezale - Mavvin is a Habit
I'm willing to bet this track sounds huge live. Put this song in a densely packed club and folks would definitely turn up. Chezale's confident flow rides over a wavy beat of 808s and rolling snares. You wonder what's mavvin...Chezale will let you know it's a lifestyle, an attitude, and it cannot be purchased. You have it or you don't.