A strong hip-hop vibe permeated the air at Quioxte's last night -- fitting, since we were all there for the #COHipHop Unity Concert 2. Before everything got going in earnest, a cluster of performers and beat battle contestants chopped it up on the patio while plumes of smoke hovered over them and DJ Ktone and DJ Dozen held things down on the tables inside, spinning plenty of local hip-hop. Mr. Midas kicked things off with a rousing performance of "Run My Town" that had Master Fuol of Lyricist Lounge fame in full dance mode, hyping up the audience.
Following a series of lackluster performances, the beat battle got underway. Although there were a few highlights leading up to the face off -- namely Fort Collins resident Lil Suave, who warmed up the crowd with solid club tracks, and L.Dot, whose energy gave the room a different feel, and a stellar freestyle from Brandon Eubanks, of Fly Magazine " -- the beat battle honestly proved to be the most exciting part of the evening.
Prior to the start of the battle, Lenny Lenn was overheard remarking that he'd be surprised if he made it out of the first round, a statement which ultimately proved to true, as he was eliminated in the first round by Graffiti Black, an obvious crowd favorite.
Yonnas Abraham, of The Pirate Signal, garnered the first real applause and enthusiasm of the evening with his off kilter, hip-hop-inflected electro beat with staggering drum kicks. As several members of the audience zealously raised their hands and cheered, Abraham pumped his fist in glee and ended up besting his opponent, TC Crook, fairly easily.
Mr. Midas and several judges, in a wild card move, brought Crook back out later to face off against Nick Neutron, a new face in the building. Crook put up a valiant effort but wasn't strong enough to fully execute a win. For his part, Neutron displayed some notable creativity with his beats, but they weren't strong enough to topple Abraham, who chalked up another win with a Black Hearts' beat that had the crowd hyped and banging on the walls.
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Meanwhile, Graffiti Black's "Eye of the Tiger" snare and bassline combination did the trick in regards to establishing some much needed posturing, but it was Davey Boy's club stopping, window-shattering beat that sent Graffiti Black to the sidelines with much good natured jeering.
Abraham and Davey Boy, who represent two completely different sides of the hip-hop spectrum, came together in battle glory to complete and underscore the theme of the evening of unifying hip-hop. Davey Boy, who mostly watched the entire battle with silent confidence, let his beat do all the work. And although Abraham brought plenty of energy and hard knocks, Davey Boy ended up winning.
The Fresh Breath Committee, Young Doe and DJ Awhat, who was planning on performing with The Pirate Signal, were all on hand and were slated to perform alongside Master Fuol and J Stallin, but didn't end up taking the stage due to timing. While the entire evening was devoted to the foundation and unity in hip-hop, curiously, there were no female participants or contestants, something that would bring swift change to the dynamic for the next #COhiphop Unity Concert.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Brandon Eubanks' freestyle rivaled many of the performances. Random Detail: The black lights at Quixotes made everything appear purple. By the Way: There was a rockabilly band called Stonefed covering "The Humpty Dance" on the patio.