By Joseph Golfen
This weekend marked Summer of Sound's second concert. This time around the hip hop-centered event invaded Chaser’s Bar and Nightclub in Scottsdale; a laid-back, grimy bar that shares a strip mall with both Americano Tattoo Parlor and the Jesus Is Lord Christian supply store.
The night kicked off with The Premiere, who took the crowd by surprise and started with a smooth soulful song that would have smacked seductive had the phrase “I’m gonna fuck your mind,” been excluded from the chorus. Once the first tune faded out, The Premiere’s mix of lighting fast rhymes and blue-eyed soul came out to shine. Dressed in matching black dress shirts and metallic blue ties, the two man group hammered out intricate tunes, adding in dashes of 80’s synth-pop, staccato string loops and heavy metal guitar.
In between set, DJ Gizmo spun an eclectic mix of hip-hop, funk and pretty much anything else she wanted. Members of the National B-Boy League, flipped, twirled and spun around on their heads without ever loosing the beat.
Cut Throat Logic’s two-man attack of Justus and Deonte signaled the second set of hard-hitting rap. The two MCs spat rhymes about everything from the state of hip-hop to the state of Arizona.
“We rap about Arizona because we do love our state and we love this city,” the heavily tattooed Justus shouted.
Once Cut Throat Logic finished up, instruments were set up on stage. Antedote, a 9 member group hit the stage taking up drums, keyboards, bongos, guitars and bass, as well as a trumpet and saxophone. The members of a the groups were a mishmash of characters, from bearded rappers to the crew- cut brass section.
The Cousin of Wize hit the stage next. Where Antedote fused their lyrical flows with funk and soul, The Cousins of Wize preferred to pepper their set with a heavy dose of reggae.
And the Rasta attitude didn’t end with the music, with the dual rappers spouting lines like “All we want to do is get high,” and slamming out songs about double-fisting drinks at the bar, while a tenor saxophone player wailed along.
By this time the crowd was fully invested in the show as evident by the infectious dancing hand-swinging. On stage, the performers were feeding off of the attention and pumping out energetic tracks one after another.
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Headliner Zion-I was no exception. This Oakland-based crew toned back the stage show to just two MCs and a DJ, but even with smaller numbers, they kept the energy up.
“We love coming here,” said emcee Zion. “It’s too damn hot, but it’s always great to see you.”
This dedication to Phoenix was an appropriate end to a night of high-energy, high-concept hip-hop groups, all of whom showcased the varied and eclectic mix of cultures and styles that make this city worth singing about.