Archive for El-P

Mind Inversion Exclusive: Lucas Dix Weighs in on Hip-Hop in 2012

Posted in Year in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, December 27, 2012 by Tim Althaus


Top 10 Albums (no particular order)
Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, m.a.a.d. City
“Swimming Pools (Drank)”

Kendrick Lamar has the Outkast factor.  I can listen to his songs, intently focusing on the lyrics while getting lost in the scenes he vividly describes, or I can zone out, not pay attention to what he’s saying and dance to the beat while singing along with the incredibly infectious hooks.  GKMC feels like 3 Stacks and Big Boi rolling through Compton with Caine and O-Dog from Menace II Society.

Standout Tracks:  Money Trees, Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, The Art of Peer Pressure, Swimming Pools (Drank), The Recipe Continue reading


Concert Review: El-P and Killer Mike at the Fineline MPLS

Posted in Concert Reviews, Local Love, Music News with tags , , , on Sunday, July 8, 2012 by TSN

The Fineline as a venue was nothing short of amazing for an intimate hip-hop show, with a very ‘live’ crowd and even more amped performers.  Impressively done, I say.  Go see these acts.

I heard about El-P at the fineline about a month ago and right away I knew I needed tickets.  The Fineline is, in looks, similar inside to First Ave, but a mite smaller.  The best part, I got to see some really great performers for $17.50, however drinks were not cheap.  The show was Amazing, here’s how it went…

Despot:  Was a highlight act of the night, and was the opener?  Surprise, this guy was on point.  Despot came on in great fashion.  His message was upbeat and he came on as very comedic, and crowd oriented.  He even managed to incorporate some aerobic into his set, getting the crowd involved with some Despot (Simon) Says action.  The pace of the show was set early on, and only built from Despot.  Despot’s DJ resembled MF Doom in appearance and did a very good job of keeping the beats solid and crisp.  I had heard of Despot by name, but I had not heard any of his music, not surprisingly because he has yet to release an album, which I now highly anticipate.  Expressing that he might release an album soon, or possibly never, jokingly.  Let’s hope he does.  Despot came across as energetic, lyrically mastered, and was really cool to chat with after the show.  He also sold some pretty “genius” merch, which he designed and touted on stage.  This guy has charisma and a lyricists appeal.

The crowd at this time was great, but intensified nearing the main stage for the main acts.  I found a spot left of center, right where the artists walked on.  This was a great spot.  I highly recommend this location at a show.  Constant high-fives from your favorite artists.  I was not too crowded out, only a little by some other individuals in search of my awesome spot, a few beautiful women in fine attire, and some hip-hop heads talking hip-hop.  Go figure.  I was there to enjoy the show, and did so effortlessly.

At this time an act came on of which I had never heard before (Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire) and brought the energy up a notch.  Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire came out, one wearing a ski-mask and the other dressed like a G, looking hard and sounding hard.  There beats were banging’.  I think at one time someone’s hat got snatched, thrown on stage and adorned by Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire himself.  The crowd got even more amped and the performers fed off this accordingly.  By the time Mr. Mothafuckin’ eXquire got off I was completely and utterly ready to see El-P.  I was ecstatic, and moderately buzzed from some beers.  Killer Mike was up next.

This is right before Killer Mike gets on stage-I think I see El-P standing to my left, right next to Aaron and the crowd is going nuts.  Again, I am close enough to one of my favorite artists to realize how incredible the Minneapolis music scene is.  There is a lot of closeness in the hip-hop world up here.  Grateful for the many supporters and artists in the locale.  Maybe, if you get the chance, come up and take in the surroundings as much as you can.  Even if you miss something you will still get an eyeful.  This city is extensively invested and immersed in the local music scene.  Its a cycle of good acts.  

 Killer Mike is huge and on top of his game.  His message was positive and his music was produced amazingly (his new album mostly by El-P), his lyrics were well put together and made me want to party.  The crowd got super rowdy for his set.  Believe in your dreams and anything can happen, were the main ideas of his send off.  I was inspired.  Killer Mike killed the set and really got everyone warmed up for El-P.

Finally, El-P, what can I say?  I am a huge fan, I love his music, he is a production virtuoso and his lyrics make me wish I could write music of such a caliber.  I at the very least envy his delivery, with confidence and conviction, and approach to mind expanding ideas.  Dude tells it how it is.  This is the first El-P show I have been to and I was not disappointed.  He gave 110% and kept the crowd happy.

El-P is solid on his game, doing what he loves and it shows.  His attitude was business and party, he was a crowd pleaser from word one on the mic.  Slug came on stage brandishing a stuffed animal (Killum*) from the Full Retard video, which was pretty sweet.  Before he did his set he came on stage numerous times and pumped up the crowd, most of the time carrying a bottle of Grey Goose.  A preview of what was to come, you might say.  The crowd was out of control when El-Producto jumped on stage.  He claimed he was doing Cancer4 Cure in its entirety from front to back, and he made it happen.  By the time he did songs from Fantastic Damage I was completely sated.  The show was great, if you didn’t get a ticket and you are an El-P fan you missed a very impressive show.

After the show at Pizza Luce, we noticed we left our credit cards at the bar and had to go back and pick them up.  We got inside and pretty much were able to chat with all of the acts, I even got into a one on one conversation with Tony Bones about hip-hop in Minneapolis, about Prof and other musically inclined people from South (MPLS).  Got to see El-P again, running around with the stuffed animal (Killum*), saw him run down the street towards downtown and then we left.

Hands down this was one of my favorite shows.  For price and venue, it couldn’t have been better.  The crowd (full of a lot of local celebs) was great and all of the artists put on a top tier show with little to zero snags throughout.  Check them out if you can.  If I could have had one more thing I would have asked that Slug do a song with El-P, but the show was excellent sans.  I approve of the Fineline for any show, this was some great stuff.  If you get the chance to catch these acts, do so,  you will not regret it.  Tell your friends.

Photos by Terry Scott

*Thanks Aaron for the correction on the name.  (“El-P(‘s) stuffed animal is the Killum, not a muppet bro.”)

Killer Mike, “Big Beast” (Feat. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble) (Prod. By El-P)

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on Thursday, February 16, 2012 by Tim Althaus

Something with El-P on production?  Yes, I am down.  Killer Mike, Bun B, T.I. & amp; Trouble, have gotten together with one of my favorite producers/rapper of the underground hip-hop scene (El-P) to create some music for the masses.  It is truly an interesting day when mainstream artists can collaborate with an underground king-pin such as El-p.  This has been done by artists before, but not to this extent in this music setting.  I am a fan of heavy beats, catchy samples, and nice word flow, and this song has it all, minus the fluff and hype.

“Hell Yeah” by dead prez is a prime example of collaborations of a different variety of stars from different sub-sets from different music styles.  I enjoyed that song when I first heard it; I was sort of surprised by the talent on the track.  It is amazing seeing artists reach out to different genres and music classes to create good music.  When the mainstream is lacking in talent, it is no surprise that they turn to true artists who still remain underground.  The underground scene has an abundance of creativity and a lack of ego, for the most part.  When artists like this come together they either come together, or they don’t come together.  This collaboration, and variety of artists fits nicely.

El-P is off the hook with his samples, and his jumpy anxious style beats.  It may not be traditional, but it is in your face and effective.

This song is the first song released off of Killer Mike and El-P’s  R.A.P. music album.  They did an album together, Holy Shit!  No surprise something interesting from El-p, no surprise a classic formula for good music was utilized to create this raw sound.  One can appreciate the classic bumping hip-hop sound, this beat makes you want to get on your feet.  I feel like I am listening to N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton again for the first time, when considering the beats and cuts within this track I am reminded of how hip-hop started and what it first sounded like.

When El-p is on production you can expect something different banging and original, as a classically trained jazz musician he is super solid on his sound.  When you add the grit-grimy sound of the Southern flow, and the mainstream aspect of Killer Mike, Bun B, T.I. you get something extremely out of the ordinary, but also groundbreaking in the respective mainstream.  Hearing this makes me wonder what the album will sound like.  I am excited to hear more.

If you dig El-p, or want to get into more of his music I would check out Fantastic Damage  and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead.  A similar style is reflected upon in this track.  El-p’s sound is easily recognizable, and his collaborations are extensive.  He is a Beat Vet in my eyes.

All these serious cats together, its enough to make a hip-hop head smile.  It is a good day when it sounds smooth like butter and the lines that were are only a blur.  I can appreciate a champion putting out solid music to bob our heads to, but a motley crew of sorts and I am pumped.

To better and more diverse collaborations all around.  Cheers!

Tim’s Side Note: As Terry said, El-P and Killer Mike are going to be doing a full-length LP together, and I’ve known this for a while, but I had no idea what the outcome would sound like; this just might be my favorite track so far this year. The beat reminds me of a mixture that El-P arrived at from using a formula that combines Fantastic Damage & I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. I can not wait for this album to hit shelves.

My favorite line and an instant Hip-Hop quotable from Bun B: “When you step out on the Ave, make sure they wanna see ya/cuz being Trill is an onomatopoeia.”

Download: Killer Mike, “Big Beast” (Feat. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble) (Prod. By El-P)

Wild Style Wednesday Review: El-P, Fantastic Damage

Posted in Music Reviews, Wildstyle Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by Tim Althaus

fantastic_damage_frontIt’s very easy for me to say that El-P has re-invented the wheel twice in the Hip-Hop game. The first time he did it was with Fantastic Damage (One of the best debuts ever?), and without a question he did it again on I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Don’t get me wrong, I love both albums as much as you possibly could, I just think Fantastic Damage has a slight edge on ISWYD. The dark, hard hitting, brain hemorrhaging beats on this album are some of the most crazy concoctions my ear drums have ever had the pleasure of discovering. To me it’s no wonder that people were waiting for I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead with such anticipation… they new it was going to be a classic because of Fantastic Damage. Continue reading

Vast Aire Wages the “Battle of the Planets”

Posted in Audio, Downloads with tags , , , , , , on Monday, August 10, 2009 by Tim Althaus

Vast Aire 073

If you haven’t been paying attention to the beef-radar lately, Vast Aire released a diss track towards Cage and the rest of Def Jux. All of this rivalry going on has to do with the unfortunate passing of Camu Tao. Cage outed Vast very harshly about how his relations really stood with Camu, and this track apparently was Vast’s response. It really saddens me to see all this bullshit beef going on in the Hip-Hop community, it’s really the last thing that we need right now.

On a related side note, I got an e-mail on my Blackberry last night about El-P’s newest blog post on MySpace. It is pretty much all about Vast and the whole Camu situation, and if you have a moment to spare I would highly recommend you check it out here.

Download: Vast Aire, “Battle of the Planets” (Feat. Genisis)

Spotted @ 2DopeBoyz

Concert Recap: Soundset 2009, My Journey To Mecca

Posted in Concert Reviews, From The Rail with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 by Tim Althaus

Me going nuts when Pharcyde dropped "Raise It Up" in tribute to Jay Dee

Me going nuts when Pharcyde dropped "Raise It Up" in tribute to Jay Dee

As you can see by the picture I look like I am in a great mood. That’s because I was outstandingly over-joyed all day on Saturday in Shakopee, MN at Soundset 2009. I really couldn’t have asked for much more the entire day. My camera died roughly an hour and a half into the show (thanks to Erik for the pictures as well as other people on Flickr) and I ended up looking like a lobster from sunburn, but it was all worth it to be at this show. Even though this show was on the first weekend of summer, I can guarantee that this show will be the highlight of my entire summer.

The first show of the day I went to was I Self Devine who I was not super familiar with, but knew some of his background. I have to admit that I was very impressed by his performance and I can’t wait until his new album drops on RSE later this year. He had a lot of energy on stage, which in my opinion is absolutely key when it comes to an all day Hip-Hop festival.

I Self Devine taking a quick breather during one of his songs

I Self Devine taking a quick breather during one of his songs

Blueprint was next, and boy was I in for one hell of a surprise. I am probably one of the biggest Soul Position fans there is, and when I found out Rjd2 wasn’t coming I was a little disappointed. Let me tell you that Rj not being there made no difference whatsoever. Blueprint went on stage at Soundset and completely ripped the microphone to shreds going through tracks like “1988” & “Tramp”. My favorite part of his set, though, was when he busted out “Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Rock-N-Roll” from the Soul Position album Things Go Better With RJ & Al. After seeing Blueprint at Soundset, I look forward to seeing Print no matter who he performs with.

Print preaching to the crowd during his set

Print preaching to the crowd during his set

Blueprint 3

Print spitting his heart out on "1988"

"Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Rock-N-Roll"

"Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Rock-N-Roll"

The next show I saw was Abstract Rude (who brought along Aceyalone & Myka 9) who I’ve been trying to get into lately. He put on a pretty good show, and when Aceyalone & Myka 9 hit the stage the energy really started to rise. These 3 guys together are a great group and it shows they are all highly influenced by each other when they are together.

Abstract Rude, Photo Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Abstract Rude, Photo Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Haiku D'Etat, Photo Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Haiku D'Etat, Photo Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Before this show, I had been waiting about 4 years to see Eyedea & Abilities. I missed them at last year’s Soundset and hand’t been able to make it to Minneapolis for a show when there was another opportunity. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to this show. The dynamic between these two is absolutely amazing and seeing them play classic cuts like “Star Destroyer”, “E&A Day”, as well as cuts off of the upcoming album By The Throat was nothing short of fantastic. It was also great seeing Eyedea give the stage to DJ Abilities so that he could display his amazing techniques on the wheels of steel.

Eyedea 2

Eyedea adressing the crowd


Eyedea spitting on Star Destroyer, Courtesy of Erik Burg

DJ Abilities tearing up the tables, Courtesy of Erik Burg

DJ Abilities tearing up the tables, Courtesy of Erik Burg

Immortal Technique is another guy that I was really looking forward to seeing live. I had heard so many good things from people that had seen him. I would have to say that Immortal Technique probably emitted the most energy out of anybody on stage the entire day of Soundset. Hearing Tech spit songs like “Point Of No Return”, “Industrial Revolution”, “Obnoxious” & other classics was incredible, not to mention that his speeches to the crowd made me (and probably others) feel like fucking some shit up. I feel like chances are, everytime this guy performs, everyone in the crowd walks away moved by his highly emotional & energetic performances. Immortal Technique is someone that everyone should see once in their life.

Immortal Technique Spitting "Point of No Return", Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Immortal Technique Spitting "Point of No Return", Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Immortal Spitting "Obnoxious", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Immortal Spitting "Obnoxious", Courtesy of Erik Burg

With the bar already set very high, the show kept moving. Hometown hero P.O.S. was next to perform on the mic and he put on a great show with local DJ Plain Ole Bill (who if I do say so myself, is a great DJ). He performed some of the great cuts off of his new album Never Better such as “Let It Rattle”, “Goodbye”, “Savion Glover” & “Optimist”. He also performed one of my favorite tracks off of Audition, “P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life” while telling the crowd to sing as loud as they could for his mother. The highlight of Stef’s set however (as Erik mentioned in his post) was “Low Light Low Life” when he brought out Dessa & Sims of Doomtree to bring their verses to life onstage.

P.O.S. performing Savion Glover Courtesy of Erik Burg

P.O.S. performing "Savion Glover" Courtesy of Erik Burg

Plain Ole' Bill & P.O.S. rocking Soundset, Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Plain Ole' Bill & P.O.S. rocking Soundset, Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Sims, Dessa & Stef, Courtesy of Erik Burg

Sims, Dessa & Stef, Courtesy of Erik Burg

Since I missed most of Sage Francis due to the fact that my face was already hotter than the sun from sunburn, El-P (with TMQ & Mr. Dibbs) was the next show that I was able to catch. I’ve seen El-P once before already and I knew that he was going to put on a great show for the crowd, but I had no idea it would be this good. He started out his set with my favorite track “Tasmanian Pain Coaster” off of his most recent album I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, which may have been the loudest performance of the day. He then continued through more of his catalogue: “Smithereens”, “Overly Dramatic Truth”, “Deep Space 9mm” & etc. At the end of his set he reminded us all of Camu Tao, who had passed away one year previously due to a fight with lung cancer. All I can say is Camu would have loved to have been there. The most amazing part, however, was when Mr. Dibbs took over on the turntables with his baby head routine that I had seen once previously. Dibbs stole the show with his turntable antics.

"Tasmanian Pain Coaster", Courtesy of Erik Burg

"Tasmanian Pain Coaster", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Mr. Dibbs & El-P, Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Mr. Dibbs & El-P, Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

El hyping the crowd with "Smithereens"

El hyping the crowd with "Smithereens"

After El-P came Freeway & Jake One. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from these guys, but I didn’t know it would be this good. Freeway went through some tracks from the Rocafella days as well as tracks he was featured on from Jake One’s White Van Music. They also decided to bust out some new material from their upcoming Rhymesayer’s release The Stimulus Package. Let me tell you right now, The Stimulus Package is an album you are not going to want to sleep on people. These two have some really fucking good chemistry.

Freeway getting ready to go onstage, Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Freeway getting ready to go onstage, Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Freeway on "Line em' Up", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Freeway on "Line em' Up", Courtesy of Erik Burg

We actually left this set a little bit early so we could catch Southern favorites, CunninLynguists. We got over to the Fifth Element Stage to catch Cunnin’, and immediately I get a message from Erik saying “DOOM is a no show”. I started laughing hysterically and blazed what seemed like my third or fourth joint of the day because I knew I was about to see one of the best shows of the entire day. I was right in every aspect because Kno, Natti & Deacon fucking tore up the Fifth Element stage. All three of them have so much energy with the stage, and at the same time they are so interactive with the crowd. They went through a diverse set from their catalog: “Old School”, “KKKY”, “The South” and more. I can tell you that I honestly didn’t want the show to end at all. I look forward to seeing these guys many times in the future.

Kno, Deacon & SOS rocking the crowd, Courtesy of Kyle Konczal

Kno, Natti & Deacon rocking the crowd, Courtesy of Kyle Konczal

CunninLynguists going "Old School", Courtesy of Kyle Konczal

CunninLynguists going "Old School", Courtesy of Kyle Konczal

Cunnin 1

CunninLynguists bringing "The South" to Soundset, Courtesy of Kyle Konczal

After the CunninLynguists set, we were actually able to catch about half of the Brother Ali/BK One set because they got pushed up. I’ve seen Brother Ali a few times and I know that he puts on an amazing show. I was able to catch the tracks “Good Lord” & “Forest Whitiker” and Ali was on top form with these tracks. Ali is one of those guys that just has a persona about him, his aura just emanates off of the stage and everyone absorbs it. He really puts on a great show no matter when you see him.

Brother Ali & Slug performing "The Believers", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Brother Ali & Slug performing "The Believers", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Brother Ali spitting "Good Lord", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Brother Ali spitting "Good Lord", Courtesy of Erik Burg

While I was watching Brother Ali, I got a tweet from Rhymesayers that DOOM was in the house. I was a bit apprehensive at first because of all of the bullshit that this guy has pulled in the past. It literally took (the first) DOOM what seemed like 30 minutes to take the stage. I was literally getting pissed, but then I heard the “Benzie Box” beat and my head started to nod immediately. After the first track there was some typical bullshit going down on stage, making it look like DOOM had to leave the show. Just when you though it was over… the real DOOM took the stage and went through a decent amount of his catalog. “Gazillion Ear” in my opinion was definitely the highlight for me, nothing like hearing DOOM over a Dilla beat, especially live. I have to say though, I agree with my man Aaron & the homie Blueprint… DOOM’s show kinda blows, I’d rather hear him on an album. I understand that DOOM has a certain nostalgia about him and that’s what a lot of people love about him, I just don’t buy into it. PLEASE do not take this as me dissing DOOM, he makes incredible music, he’s just an average performer.

"Gazillion Ear", Courtesy of Erik Burg

"Gazillion Ear", Courtesy of Erik Burg

SUPER!, Courtesy of Erik Burg

SUPER!, Courtesy of Erik Burg

The Pharcyde was something that I was definitely looking forward to a great deal. They were insanely pivotal to the West Coast scene and they re-united for this show. I’m not up on their catalog as much as I should be, but they rocked the shit out of the main stage. I would say they were definitely one of the top acts of the day. It seemed like everyone in the crowd was feeling them. They started things off with the classic “Runnin'” and continued down the line with classics one every song they performed. They even broke down into the classic Slum Village track “Raise It Up” in memory of their late friend J Dilla. As mentioned in the top picture of my post, I went absolutely nuts because I fucking love Jay Dee.

The Pharcyde "Runnin" shit on the main stage

The Pharcyde "Runnin" shit on the main stage

"RAISE IT UP!", Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

"RAISE IT UP!", Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

It seemed like the day was about over, but no Soundset would be complete without hometown favorites Slug & Ant. These two were arguably the crowds favorite, and I would put money on over half of the people being there just to see them. They went through your pretty typical array of Atmosphere songs, “Godlovesugly”, “Shoulda Known”, “Trying To Find a Balance”, “Sunshine” & etc. They finished with the fan-favorite-karaoke-jam “Always Coming Back Home To You” with the vast majority of the crowd singing along with Slug. These two really know how to put on a show for a hometown crowd with no disappointment what so ever.

Slug is "Trying to Find a Balance", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Slug is "Trying to Find a Balance", Courtesy of Erik Burg

Ant on the wheels of steel, Courtesy of Erik Burg

Ant on the wheels of steel, Courtesy of Erik Burg

Slug rocking the hometown crowd

Slug rocking the hometown crowd, Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment:

Soundset 2009 is one of the best musical experiences I have ever had. It was everything I could have asked for and more. Rhymesayers Entertainment knows how to throw one hell of a Hip-Hop festival, and I can guarantee you I will be on tickets right away for the next Soundset. Make sure you watch out the rest of this year, Rhymesayers has some big things coming up and I know you won’t want to miss them. I know you are probably sick of me rambling on about this show so I will end the post now, hopefully you enjoyed reading about my experience half as much I enjoyed writing about it.

From The Rail: Soundset ’09 Part 2 (Videos)

Posted in From The Rail, Mind Inversion Exclusive, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 by Erik Burg

crowd1A weekend that’s already been heralded by me once, Soundset 2009 brought some of the best hip-hop talent in the nation together in one spot, in our own quaint little Minnesota non-the-less. Yesterday I brought you some amazing pictures I caught from my usual front row spot, and today I’m back to give you some videos from the festival (Part 1 if you missed it). The audio on them isn’t amazing simply due to the sheer volume of the stage, but bear with and enjoy!

I had been waiting years to see El-P, and when he took the stage with DJ Mr. Dibbs Sunday at Canterbury I knew that something amazing was about to happen. Opening with “Tasmanian Pain Coaster” was stunning, but when El-P played “Up All Night” and Dibbs cut on the tables for a good six minutes during it my jaw nearly hit the floor. Check out the couple verses El get through and then watch the madness ensue as Dibbs proves once again why he is one of the best DJs out there. Feast on this sampling!

As I mentioned in Part 1 of my column, P.O.S. has been making tons of headlines for Rhymesayers this year, dropping the spectacular Never Better this winter and tearing it up on tour with Atmosphere all year. When the man of many instruments took the stage Sunday afternoon he unleashed a furry within the crowd that had been unmatched to that point. The high point of his set came when he brought both Dessa and Cecil Otter on stage to perform “Low Light Low Life” off of the aforementioned Never Better. It’s my personal favorite off of the album, and was everything I expected it to be live. There are some great shots of the crowd going crazy during the video as well, so hit play and watch one of the better tracks all day at the main stage of Soundset.

Naysayers aside, I thought that seeing MF Doom play was the highlight of the festival. It’s such a rarity these days, and the elaborate and sometimes comical nature of it all made his appearance and performance well worth the entire ticket price. After the real Villain finally took to the mic I got video of nearly every one of his tracks, seeing as I never wanted to forget what the masked man brought to the un-expecting crowd. The reception of Doom was terrible, and I’m slightly bitter at the crowd for that, but whatever, his new tracks were awesome live. Check out both “Ballskin” and “Gazzillion Ear” below. You’ll notice a slightly different view on the second video, as it was at that time that I jumped the fence and ended up going backstage to later meet Metal Fingers. At any rate though, Enjoy!

That’s all I got folks, I hope that you had as much fun at the fest as I did, and I hope you enjoyed these two columns as much as I enjoyed putting them together. 

From the Rail: Soundset ’09 Part 1 (Pics)

Posted in Concert Reviews, Music News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Monday, May 25, 2009 by Erik Burg


Soundset ’09. A weekend for the ages. From the collective hundreds of dollars we spent at Town Hall brewery the night before the show all the way to eating Culvers the day after with Sage Francis, Soundset was everything it promised to be. I came for the Doom and I got it (surprisingly), I lost count of the number of Atmosphere shirts I saw (god only knows what ticket sales would be like without them), I chilled backstage with some of the greatest in the game for two hours (sometimes I get lucky). I’m here now to share these moments with you through the pictures I gathered. Check for part 2 (videos) tomorrow!

Slug 2(Atmosphere)

The mainstage at Soundset saw some ridiculous talent all day. For the second year in a row hometown demi-gods Atmosphere headlined it all, but I’m willing to argue that some of the lesser acts where much much better. Let’s start with I Self Devine. Not a terrible opening act at all. His message about what going on in Minneapolis was great: Poverty growing horizontal instead of vertical. That’s important and all, but his stage presence fell a bit short. Look for big things on album though in the future.


Next we have Blueprint, the man maybe more well known for his work as the rhyming half of Soul Position. For being stuck way too low on the setlist, Blueprint made sure he left the crowd surprised. His presence on stage was unreal, he had a way of making it look so easy, standing in place with a backpack on for a while, Blue seemed like he was merely talking. It was beautiful, and I think the crowd definitely had the same reaction, especially when he closed with “Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Rock ‘N Roll.” 


The trio of Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, and Myka 9 were next up on the beyond beautiful day at Canterbury Downs. I was really unfamiliar with all three, except for a Aceyalone track that was on a video game a few years ago, ha. They were all full of energy and seemed really excited to be on the main stage, but I felt like their music, and especially Myka 9 were not so hot. I have to say that I would have much rather seen Cunninlynguists or Blue Scholars in their spot, but nothing is perfect I suppose. Let’s keep going though….



Now the real talent began raining down. Eyedea & Abilities took the stage after those three left, and the crowd finally started to get into it. Thanks to Eyedea’s awesome persona and DJ Abilities stellar work on the tables, the show finally had the energy to match the hype. Abilities might really stole the show actually, with his 6 or 7 minute exhibit to all wanna-be DJs out there. The group is set to release their first album in 5 years next month and they played a few very good cuts off of it. A good start to a long day, for sure.



Immortal Technique. I feel like if I write anything bad about this guy that he’ll personally seek me out and do terrible things to my health. SO I’ll talk about some of the better things instead. The guys spits absolute fire, both lyrically and emotionally. The rants between songs and at the end of his set was both overly powerful and inspiring. Apparently he wants all of you to illegally download his albums, so thats cool I guess. He has a flow that matches a lot of what he brings to his records, aggression and precision, a deadly combination. Probably the most vocal off the cut of any artist there, maybe a good thing maybe a bad thing. Good stuff though.



We’re just heating up folks….

One of the biggest names on Rhymesayers lately has been P.O.S. His work with Doomtree and on his solo album is stellar, not to mention is punk band as well. He took to the stage as the first truly recognizable face to probably a majority of the crowd, initiating a spirit from the crowd that had yet to be seen. Armed with more than a DJ, POS rocked the guitar and MPC as well as the mic. It was awesome to see him interact with the crowd and give newer fans of Rhymesayers a chance to enjoy some of their best talent. Playing “Low Light Low Life” with a full cast was one of the best tracks all day at Soundset, and the only chance that a girl got to rock the mic on the main stage. 




A little guy by the name of Sage Francis took to the stage next, note the pun, looking even more out of place than 20,000 white kids at a hip-hop festival, Sage dominated the crowd thanks to antics with buddy and partner in crime B. Dolan. The two brought some much needed respect from the east coast, specifically the booming Rhode Island scene, note the sarcasm. But his set absolutely rocked, Sage seemed like one of the few performers to actually enjoy himself up there, and the guys was super personable when I Got to chat with him backstage (more on that later). 



Good to see Def Jux getting some love on the main stage again this year, El-P, the king of New York independent hip-hop thrashed his way through some of his best material on I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead and Fantastic Damage as well. Highlighted by “Tasmanian Pain Coaster” at the start, El-P seemed intent on blowing the crowd away with pure sound. His set was far and away the loudest of any artist, and the compliment of Mr. Dibbs on the decks was a sight beyond belief. Check for more on that tomorrow, including Mr. Dibb‘s entire 8 minute freestyle on the decks.




The most “mainstream” artists there was quite possibly Freeway, complimented equally by Jake One on the 1s and 2s. It’s safe to say that this set was the best good surprise of the day. Freeway’s style and flow was exponentially better than I thought it was going to be, exciting me for the entire Freeway and Jake One album coming out this summer called The Stimulus Package. All that could have been improved was if Jake One did some amazing DJ freestyle like we all know he could, but oh well.




Doom came next… or was suppose to at least. We got Brother Ali instead.

Not a bad trade I guess, but still, what the fuck Super Villain? The show must go on, and Brother Ali took over in the clutch. It was an amazing moment when the crowd started chanting “The truth is here, the truth is here” right before he came on, and Ali really seemed to fee off that intro. He had the biggest grin on his face nearly the entire set, playing tons of new and old stuff, but every track was one to sing along to. His set seemed the most polished vocally, Ali spit with such confidence and precision that it was jaw dropping and yet extremely upbeat. The essence of Minneapolis hip-hop, Brother Ali dominated a crowd antsy for what they didn’t see and anxious for the next Rhymesayers king to take the mic. 




And then it happened… The moment We’ve (I’d) been waiting for… The MF Doom show pulled into town…


The man’s more of a show now than he is a straight performer, but it was still awesome to see him actually perform live. After the imposter Doom (side) that is, ha. Playing the classic “Hoe Cakes” to a crowd that seemed almost fed up with the antics and the hype. But I wasdoom7 loving it, and it was at this point I made my break for it, for the big times, for backstage. Jumped the fence, took some video (check tomorrow for it), took some photos, and just bee lined straight for the other side of the stage. Amongst some of my heros I sought out Doom’s van that he just minutes ago rode in on. And there he was, the Villain, DOOM, MF Doom, Metal Fingers, Viktor Vaughn, you know the list goes on. So I snapped a great picture and sat down next to the legend. I hardly remember what I said, I think I just thanked him over and over, ha. Doom was well worth the wait, some people obviously weren’t fans, but I thought he was worth every verse of hype.





I was a bit skeptical of The Pharcyde in the 2 spot, but the newly reunited group of 4 MCs took to the stage with a fury and confidence not seen in years. Performing a playful set that featured the awesome “Passing Me By” and even a cover of “My Prerogative”, The Pharcyde definitely got and kept my attention their entire set. They even played the Gorillaz “Dirty Harry” for the part when Romye Robinson could come in and absolutely tear up the mic. That track put the biggest smile on my face I had nearly all day.




But the Night was closing in… and we all knew what that meant…

16 year old girls singing about hangovers and ugliness. Atmosphere. It’s year two for these guys as headliners, and it’s year two that the entire state seemed to go nuts for Minneapolis icons Slug and Ant. Backed by their full band, Atmosphere demanded every person’s attention as the sun fell behind the distant bluffs. From “God Loves Ugly” to the more recent Life Gives You Lemons material, their set was one that the crowd eager with anticipation all day was beyond ready to jam to. It was a safer bet to put money on them closing with “Sunshine” than it was to bet any horse at Canterbury all weekend, so their set was a little disappointing in a way too. I think I was just disgusted by the four suburban hispter/scenester/god awfully annoying girls in neon singing along as they walked out of the park. Atmosphere is on an entirely different level. Their fame, their popularity, their draw is so far beyond everyone at Soundset. It’s amazing to see and hear the crowd as they took the stage. As much as we might come to hate them after a while, Minneapolis hip-hop, Rhymesayers, and Soundset would cease to exist beyond  half-baked ideas without them. 

Slug 1

Ant 2

Atmosphere Band


So there it is, a lengthy recap of Soundset ’09. Sorry if you missed it, and hope you loved it if you were there. I’ve got Part 2 (videos) coming tomorrow, but until then… ENJOY!

The Gang

“Hey Homies!”

Wild Style Wednesday Review: Cage, Hell’s Winter

Posted in Wildstyle Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 by Tim Althaus

Hells WinterHell’s Winter might be one of the best label debuts I’ve ever heard. Hell’s Winter is Cage’s sophomore album, and it saw him coming into a different light than Movies For The Blind, and all I can say is that this album is really fucking impressive. Cage rhymes about some of the most insane shit that I’ve ever heard, but the crazy part is that he has actually lived most of it.  Def Jux as a label has put out a lot of really good material, but this album might be the best. This album makes for one hell of a violently vicious view inside of Cage’s mind. Continue reading

Final Soundset Lineup Announced

Posted in Music News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, April 16, 2009 by Tim Althaus


Thank you to the fine people over at HipHopDX we now finally have the unabridged list of Soundset performers. There are a few more that I was hoping for but as the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want”. I’m still happy that I’m going to get to see a lot of great artists on May 24th. Go get your tickets now, and the folks at Mind Inversion will see you there. Follow me after the jump for the complete lineup. Continue reading