It's been said that San Diego doesn't have a hip-hop scene. While the San Diego hip-hop scene is small, to be sure, but it exists. While most normal people might not invest as many cool points into being apart of "the scene" as nerdy rap bloggers might, there's something to be said for attending a show with a tangible sense of community and support. You know, as opposed to your typical show where everyone keeps to themselves as they wait -- impatiently and annoyed -- for the headliner to come onstage.
Thankfully, the former was the case at the Casbah on Tuesday night. With Parker and the Numberman anchoring a bill consisting of Broken Dreams, Brother Nature and Daygo Produce -- without any sort of headlining name, really -- the show carried an idealistic, "strictly for the love" vibe that was hard to write off, even for the most cynical cynic in me. In front of a small crowd consisting of other artists, various friends and supporters, what could any of these artists hope to gain from this show besides the rushing sensation that comes with the chance to perform and the camaraderie that develops from performing in front of your peers?
It was kinda inspiring.
The performances themselves were pretty solid. Brother Nature opened the night with a plea to stop the violence -- a response to recent shootings that had occurred in southeastern San Diego--before jumping into a set of lighthearted, soulful hip-hop. Broken Dreams and Daygo Produce followed suit with similarly soulful music, though the audience's interest seemed to wane during Daygo Produce's performance.
Parker and the Numberman capped off the night on a high note. The thing about Parker and the Numberman is that they possess this loose, improvisational quality about them in their music and their performances. They seem to take more chances, willing to spit on anything from more traditional boom-bap to indie rock-influenced, lo-fi synths to evendubstep. Really, the duo sounded ready to rhyme on any beat that DJ Collagey would play for them, whether they were prepared for it or not. Of course, it helps that they have the technical acumen to be able to adapt to a wide range of styles. And it was just icing on the cake when Parker swung the mic stand around, taking aim at us as if with a rifle full of rhyme bullets. It was a diverse, fun set that characterized a relaxed atmosphere.
Quan Vu Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog SD Raps.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by following him on Twitter or e-mailing him directly.