At 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 31 at The Uptown, the night felt equally like musicians playing a club as it did friends playing for each other at a house party. The venue was not packed, but that did not stop the hip hop musicians on stage from demanding their audience step up and participate in the show. Arms were pumping and people were yelling responses to the musicians. There were even some exceptional yo-yo tricks on stage and skateboarding in circles through the crowd in between sets.

The show combined a group of local hip hop and rap artists and was put together by Skinny Douglas, the “Skinny” of Skinny & D8CH. The night affirmed that there is a strong and creative community of hip hop artists in Oakland. Moreover, the community is incredibly supportive of each other. Whenever an artist wasn’t on stage, they were inevitably right up front cheering and dancing to the music being pumped through the room by their friends.

Almost all the artists on stage grew up, or now live, in Oakland. The first set included Space Ghost, who sang, “I’m trippy, I’m trippy, just like a Berkeley hippy,” who presently lives in Oakland, followed by Method Californian, originally from Sacramento, but who now lives in Oakland.

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Some of the artists who performed are regulars at various venues in the city, such as the duo Too Chill, who had a strong set of beats produced live by Bayroo Burner. Bayroo has a show every other Monday at ERA Lounge called “Bumps,” while Stanley Ipkuss, who smoothly dropped lyrics, can be found occasionally at Awaken Cafe. The duo just got back from a week of touring the West Coast.

Champlu performed next. During the set, the powerful, fast-paced two rappers were accompanied by soulful female vocalist Della. The bold and melancholic melody of Della swirled around frenetic rapping. The music easily captured the attention of the crowd, getting people up and dancing.

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In between Champlu and the last set of the night, there was an impressive combination of beatbox and rap. The cadence of the rap was quick and the beatbox complicated. It was definitely one of the  highlights of the night.

The show ended with headliner Skinny Douglas along with beat producer and fellow rapper D8CH. The two confidently controlled the stage. During song introductions, if Douglas felt he was losing the audience’s energy, he would stop talking and immediately jump into the next song.

D8CH and Skinny Douglas headline The Uptown

D8CH and Skinny Douglas headline The Uptown

Skinny Douglas had the most diverse set of the night in terms of tone and accompaniment. Not only did his set include a song with live guitar and bass, but at one point he invited guest, Dead Kennedy, on stage who performed tricks a lit-up yo-yo while Douglas rapped. Whether it was true or not, it seemed as it the yo-yo was perfectly timed with the beats of the songs.

Halfway through his set, Douglas mentioned growing up just blocks from The Uptown. This was his first headlining show in his hometown. A reminder, he said, “that dreams really do come true.” And as his dreams were coming true, he was helping his friends and fellow musicians reach their dreams, too.

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About The Author

Katie is the Music Editor at OL. She's a music geek, culture junkie, massive A's fan, and Oakland native. When she was six, she stood for five minutes with a felt pennant stuck under Chris Mullin’s armpit. Check out her Oakland music listings at www.oakampd.com, follow on twitter/instagram as @craziesthawk, or contact at katies@oaklandlocal.com

One Response

  1. Kevin G.

    Nice review, that show was pretty dope. Too Chill is definitely something to check out, dope hip-hop coming out of the Bay. That rapper Ipkuss kills it with the lyrics and Bayroo is insanely nice on the beats!

    Reply

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