Yo! What’s up, WOHMers?
It’s your Head-Editor-In-Charge, Mac Smiff, here decompressing from a wild week of fun in the pretty city of Portland where 3 legendary rap duos touched down since last Monday.
Last Monday, the 13th, The Roseland Theater hosted what I feel like may have been the best rap show of the year as Big Boi (of Outkast) and Killer Mike packed out Portland’s most popular venue. Wisely, We Out Here Magazine slid through to chronicle the debauchery.
No lie, I was vocally bothered that there were no local openers. I was further irritated that the dynamic duo brought a wack opener, Ace Outrageous, who’s single Finger Lickin’ Good (an ode to oral sex) sent the majority of still-arriving crowd rushing to either the bar or back outside to smoke. An indy rock band called Fishhawk followed and quite honestly, I wasn’t paying attention but people said they were pretty good. I was pretty sure it couldn’t have been better than the convo I was having downstairs with a handful of my favorite cool kids, but I also have it on good authority that they just got signed off the strength of the tour. Swag.
Once Killer Mike took the stage, everything changed. There is a critical difference between a rapper and an MC. In case you haven’t heard, MC means “Move the Crowd”, and that’s exactly what Killer did. We all went nuts as he opened his set screaming, “I don’t make dance music, this is R-A-P! Opposite of that sucka sh*t they play on TV!” Later in the evening, the WOHM! crew – along with our friends from V1Creative – got a chance to get a few words with the ATL rap star. He was even nice enough to give us a shout out.
Big Boi took the stage next… And do I really even have to explain this? As a rapper, the Outkast/Dungeon family veteran has the distinct and admirable advantage of being wanted by what seems to be every woman alive. This is all the more amazing because he’s like 5’6″. Even Sharde Marie – who’s a solid 5’11” – swooned every time the ATLien posed for her front row camera. While performing one of his best known songs, I Like The Way You Move, Big brought some gals from the crowd up to the stage, accidentally setting up one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen at a concert.
See, there were these young ratchets in the front row, one of whom had clearly caught the eye of the hype man. When he summoned her on stage, her not-so-attractive friends followed. Security let them go side stage, but when they tried to get onstage to twerk something, there was a quick “No!” and security blocked their entry. Hilarious. They were so mad… And I’m pretty sure they lost their friend for the night, at least.
Thursday the 16th brought another infamous duo to Portland. I was not the only one confused why the Queensbridge tandem known as Mobb Deep was playing at a second rate venue like the Alhambra Theatre, but I was happy to see that there were local openers… Until I saw the local openers. I’m not going to put anybody on blast here but of the 3 local groups that took the stage, there was one rapper worth mentioning.
D3 of Gresham’s All Star Krew isn’t even old enough to drink in the club, but caught my attention with tangible lyrics, a slick flow and an unwavering confidence one might even call “swag”. He’s got some work to do, but he’s young with a solid foundation. I was surprised to see that a bigger deal was not made about Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No) being on tour with the M.O.B.B. The pair of talented producers/marginal emcees had some solid turn up music; alas, rapping over your own vocal track is a really bad look.
Finally, Prodigy and Havoc took the stage, taking their time as they rolled through 2 decades of hits. At times, they too rapped over their own vocal tracks – mostly on newer songs – but then they got into material from Infamous and Hell On Earth… I cant lie. I stanned for Shook Ones. But when security told me I couldn’t stand on top of whatever structure I was standing on, I complied. Always play it cool with the bouncers, yo.
Yesterday, yet another high-powered tandem landed in the City of Roses. Fabolous and Pusha T rocked the Roseland exactly a week after their ATLien competitors, drawing a similarly large crowd. I’ll be honest, I missed the openers, arriving just as Pusha took the stage.
Truthfully, I had mixed feelings on his set. One of the best technical rappers out, Pusha and his hype man seemed lethargic as they lumbered around stage seemingly pleased to be lyrically gifted. As hot as it gets on the Roseland’s stage, he never took his sweaatshirt off and I’m not sure he even broke a sweat. Even when he broke out with Mercy, the crowd never really seemed to turn up.
Fab was a completely different story. While not particularly energetic either, Fab’s charisma proceeds him, allowing him to illicit crowd response in a seemingly effortless manner. His set was also theatric, with light drops and tidy transitions between every song. During the nearly 2-hour set, it dawned on me how much Fab’s success has been helped by his versatility. From Trade It All to You Be Killin’ Em to Breathe, Fab had something for everyone.
That’s 3 huge shows in 8 nights and I saw a lot of y’all out in the mix. Every artist seemed honestly impressed with Portland’s turnout (and turn up) so let’s keep supporting when big artists come through. I’ll see you next time!