The June edition of Saytown Beatdown looks at a pair of visiting legends, an exciting residency for local talent and a gem of an album from some of the city’s finest minds. As always, don’t forget to share your hip-hop projects, shows and general wisdom with me at email@example.com.
E-40 and Too $hort live on Juneteenth: Any list of important and influential West Coast rappers would be incomplete without mention of E-40 and Too $hort. Individually, these two have put up decades of gangsta ruminations on the pains and pleasures of living the thug life on the best coast. Each also played a role in defining the respective sounds of two seminal rap labels, E-40’s Sick Wid It and Too $hort’s Jive. Still active as they both near 50, the duo released a pair of solid collaborative albums back in 2012 that read like concise histories of West Coast rap. $26, 7pm Thur, June 19, Backstage Live, 1305 E Houston, (210) 446-7950, backstagelivesa.com.
Rap & Roll at Fitzgerald’s Bar: On the second and last Wednesdays of each month, Saytown rapper Spy MC hosts Rap & Roll Wednesdays, an open mic event that aims to bridge talent across the gaps of genre and aesthetic. Though the series has underperformed thus far, Spy MC is looking to buck the trend for the summer’s showings. Hit up Spy MC at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign-up. Free, 9pm, Fitzgerald’s Bar, 437 McCarty Ste 101, (210) 629-5141.
Beatdown Review: Blend Phonetics’ Transitions: Coming together to speak about the various types of transitional moments in life, rappers Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson and Karim Zomar joined with producer/Dreamland Collective head Bryan Hamilton to create Transitions. It’s a mature, sonically diverse, bilingual, multi-generational hip-hop album that proves positivity and realism are not contradictory concepts. Sanderson says that her involvement in the project is motivated by a desire to foster connections. She tells the Current that “[people] are so different, all of us, but music is a beautiful bridge and a common ground.” It is Sanderson’s world-wise, dense flows and several poignant spoken-word poetry contributions that anchor Transitions, an album full of well-curated local features and Zomar’s kaleidoscopic, driving Spanish raps. As Sanderson puts it, the project’s larger goal gives a good idea of the flavor of the album: “We are all interested in seeing how Blend Phonetics could positively affect the city in the process of unifying people of different ethnicities, religions and cultures.” Grab it at dreamlandcollective.com.
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