Photos by Aaron Thackeray and Dave Herrera
Westword Music Showcase Saturday, June 14, 2008 DC10
The feel for most of the day at DC10 was a sense of community. Hip-Hop fans and artists alike mingled in and around the venue shaking hands, giving pounds and enjoying the Colorado hip-hop vibe that permeated throughout the day. You couldn’t tell that this was a competition to get the most votes, as none of the artists in attendance lobbied for any all day.
Life Crew’s Ichiban set the day off with an energetic performance even though he was onstage by himself and performing for about ten people. Most of the material was from his mixtape, Psycle Killer Mixtape and his upcoming album, Psycle Analysis.
F.O.E. took the stage next and kicked out his most familiar songs like, “FOE,” Colorado anthem “Tha Box,” and the riot-starting “Tic-Toc.” F.O.E. came through with Jewell Tyme family members Karma, Street, Savier, Haven and label boss 800 the Jewell, who all got a little bit of microphone time, once again proving why they’re considered one of the best hip-hop labels out of Colorado.
Showcase favorite Dent, who has been nominated in the hip-hop category the last few years, always changes up his set from year to year with surprise guests. This year Dent performed songs from his album, ConFi’DENT, and brought out D.O. the Fabulous Drifter, Heavy, J Cook, Mr. Verbal, Ron Julian, and Graffiti Language (Marz & Aura) to share some time on the mike.
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Spoke In Wordz followed with a spirited performance solidifying his Best of Denver title of Best MC. DJ Manos supported Spoke behind the wheels of steel, and Dino from Infinite Mindz, O.N.E. and Shay all joined the MC during his set. DC10 also had a special guest make an appearance – Braille. Fresh off ripping the Paid Dues Festival stage the night before, Braille and his DJ, Idull came through to the venue to check out the music from the local hip-hop scene. He stuck around for a few hours, mingling with the crowd.
In between sets, DJ Quote and DJ Cysko Rokwel kept the party moving with classic hip-hop and slick turntablism. At some points during the day, it seemed as the crowd would have been happy with just hearing the two DJ’s spin all day because the mixing was so fresh.
It took a few moments for live hip-hop band Debajo Del Agua to setup with the variety of instruments they play, but it was worth the wait. The group ran through tracks like “Double Speak” and “Otra Forma De Ser” and kept its set more hip-hop themed, than the full ranged Latin-tinged sound they’re known for. Regardless, the band brought a big crowd with them and rocked the house.
Infinite Mindz took the stage next with KS 107.5’s DJ Chonz behind the turntables and help from Spoke In Wordz and O.N.E. The highlight of the set, however, was when Spellbinder took the stage to spit his ragamuffin flow for “Just Wait” and an unnamed track that followed. Most of the material was from its debut album, Monkey Rebellion Music, one of the hottest local releases so far this year.
3 the Hardway getting it on.
With DJ Cysko Rokwel on the turntables, Es-Nine on the beats, and A.V.I.U.S. on the mike, it’s no wonder why local hip-hop fans are checking 3 The Hardway. But when the beats start bumpin’, Cysko starts cuttin’, and the crew start spittin’, it’s pretty evident right away why the outfit was nominated in this year’s showcase, even though they formed just a year ago. Although the trio is still working on their album, they had a few songs together including rousing “Sunshine,” but kept the set hot with tracks from A.V.I.U.S.’s solo album Patience.
ManeLine's Inkline spittin' fire. ManeLine's ManeRok rockin' the mike.
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If you were expecting to hear the old ManeLine favorites, like “Voices”, when the trio took the stage, you were in for a surprise. Mane Rok, Inkline and DJ Tense performed all brand new songs from their forthcoming album including “The Good Bad,” with O.N.E., and a new joint featuring F.O.E. that’ll have fans from all over the city clamoring for the new album.
Umconscious ended the evening with an uptempo, vigorous set that featured the ode to Colfax, “The Avenue,” and “Road Rage”. The day had been far spent and some folks were starting to trickle out of the venue, but for those that stayed were able to get copies of the band’s EP, as well as a hat or t-shirt.
All in all it was a great day for Colorado hip-hop, with many people in attendance commenting that this was the best hip-hop lineup the Showcase has ever had. Truthfully, it’s hard to disagree.
-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno