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As the headline touts: Saturday night was indeed a thrilling night for homegrown hip-hop in the Mile High City, even as it was also a study in contrasts. Starting the night off at the Walnut Room and catching the masterful floorwork of BreakEFX, fresh off its stint on America's Favorite Dance Crew, followed by an energetic set by the Food Chain, it felt like we were paying homage the true, essential roots of hip-hop by embracing its core elements and where its been.
Taking in The Pirate Signal's set at the Marquis, meanwhile, which was supported by a seemingly incongruous cast that included The Sunset Curse, DJs Peter Black and Musa, among others, felt a lot like glimpsing ahead to where its going -- or where it has the potential to go, rather, if enough kindred artists likewise bravely take bold steps forward and strive to break the mold. Using tools of the past, The Pirate Signal is steadily carving a path into the future. See bits of the evening through our eyes above.