By now, it's no surprise to see local rapper Algebra tied to some of the most interesting hip hop shows in town. After winning ABoT Music awards for best Hip Hop artist in 2009 and 2010 and building a solid following of his own, he started focusing on Oilhouse last year, sharing the spotlight with other MC's in an effort to keep things fresh while the local scene was growing.
This Friday night, Feb. 10, Algebra is at it once again and throwing in a new wrinkle as Soundpony hosts another hip hop showcase for the downtown crowd. Not only does the bill grow to include nine MC's this weekend, but six live drummers are added to the mix to give the night a whole new energy and what should be a completely different vibe.
The concept? No preplanned tracks. No DJ's. No rehearsals. Just live drums and live, impromptu rhymes. Yes, it could be a train wreck, but it could also be incredibly cool and inspiring.
Of course, Algebra is once again helping assemble the evening, calling in Sur'Ron, Dr. Freeman, 1st Verse, Steph Simon, Mike Dee, Victor, Mr. Burns and Meech (2011 ABoT award winner for Best Hip Hop artist). The big change in dynamic here is the addition of live drummers Mitch Gilliam (Only the Bugman), Nick Flores (Lizard Police), Craig Maricle (Scales of Motion), Mason Remel (Ceceda), Nick Bartel (Snorlaxx) and AK (Swagzilla).
When it all goes down this Friday night, the audience will get to see three 30 minute sets, each with three MC's swapping rhymes as two drummers lock in together to provide the beats to rap over.
In discussing the show with Algebra and how it all came together, he shared that "I like to do shows with a lot of people I know and to me, drums and hip hop go together like peanut butter and jelly. It's just natural. I know all of these guys really well, so I made a few calls and put it all together.
"As far as I know, no one in Tulsa has done this before, so it's kind of an experiment. People are trusting me that this won't be a complete train wreck. I entertain the idea that it might be a disaster, but if so, at least it should be an intelligently crappy disaster," he laughed.
"All of these guys are among the best at what they do, though," he continued. "There are no weak links. There's not a single MC up there that can't write, rap and freestyle all day long."
Perhaps what makes the live drummer twist more interesting is the drummer combinations. With six drummers, three different styles are represented as Flores and Gilliam come from the punk and hardcore scene, while Maricle and Remel represent the local indie-rock scene and Bartel and AK play with live Hip Hop acts. The combination of three MC's at a time only adds to the dynamic, allowing everyone to play off of each other and the energy of the audience.
When discussing the night with drummer Mitch Gilliam, he shared that what he is looking forward to most is getting to simply sit down and play. "With Only the Bugman, everything has to be precise and in the right space. It's very rigid and there's no flexibility."
"With this, I'm looking forward to making up beats on the spot and being able to improvise," he said. "A change in the beat can turn into a different riff and I've got someone else to play off of. There's really nothing to worry about, so it should be a lot of fun."
Amidst the highlights of the night, I'll be looking forward to seeing Meech shine in a different light and with a different set of MC's than he usually gets to work with. Algebra also picked Mr. Burns as one of the MC's that he's looking forward to hearing as he always brings a great energy to the table. Mike Dee should shine as well, as this is incredibly close to what he already does in Swagzilla, so although there is some element of risk in this show, it's not completely foreign to any of the MC's involved.
Most of all, this is an opportunity to further explore hip hop and how it can collide with the local rock scene, giving both sides an opportunity to be exposed to a different audience. Don't miss out on what should be a great night for all local music fans when it all goes down at Soundpony this Friday night, beginning at 10pm.
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