This past weekend was so dope. The rebranded World Culture Music Festival (now called Dream Land Festival) was filled with everything from a jog, to panel discussions, to live music, to vendors, to a film screening. It was really an amazing sight to see. And all this going on right here in Tulsa. With all that being said I think it’s interesting to see who were the WINNERS and who were the LOSERS of this past weekend's 1st Annual Dream Land Festival.
Tulsa. Tulsa won in the fact that so many amazing people came to Tulsa to spread their knowledge and to be involved in the culture. But what was really win was the people that are movers and shakers in Tulsa getting their recognition and being in the spotlight. That goes for both people in tech as well as the artists in the music industry. There was so much networking going on at the event, it was a beautiful thing to see.
The Artists. I think this past weekend was an opportunity for artists to truly get out and network and take advantage of the weekend. There were literally A&Rs, artist managers, social media managers, etc, etc. There was literally a breakout session to teach artists how to get money called “How To Make Real Money As An Independent Artist” hosted by the co-owners from Build Your Own Dreams. The sad part was that the room was not even half-way full. How don’t you show up to a free.99 event about how to get to the bag? Also when it comes to knowing what time an artist went on not even half the artists had a flier. Not even a post about what time they were performing. How are your fans going to show support if they don’t know what time you’re going on? Also where was the merch??? With this many people here in Tulsa and I only saw a few artists with merch.
Jah The Jedii. There is no bigger winner than her. The artist from Atlanta who has busted onto the scene and made waves with the Ground Waves showcase with rapper Murs where she impressed and got a co-sign from the town GOAT Steph Simon. But wait.. It gets better. She was then given a chance to perform on the main stage on Saturday night. But wait. It gets even betterer! She was then brought on stage by Grammy nominated artist Rapsody who also co-signed her and gave her the mic on her set. The only thing that didn’t go right for Jah The Jedii is that she didn’t have any music out to direct all the fans that approached her after the weekend. But this will change Friday! She’s releasing her first project that will be on all digital streaming platforms! Best believe I’m looking out to see what’s next for Jah The Jedii.
Father. I think he was a wildcard pick. He went on a Friday which in Oklahoma if it’s a workday it’s hard to get us out the house. Also, staying for a concert where the main act doesn’t go on to well after 1am. That’s just not Oklahoma. We in the bed. Which showed during his performance. The crowd had thinned out. But being a true artist Father still rocked that bitch like it was 1,000 people in the crowd. He got to see and meet his true fans and turn up with them. so I can’t say this was. that major a loss. Plus he still got the bag.
K.O. She has to be one of the hardest working artists in Oklahoma. Just look around downtown and you were sure to spot her poster up that had a QR code that let you know everything about K.O. She supported and networked at all the shows. Her performance was crazy. Or should I say performances. The Saturday performance at the main Holberton stage was bananas. She owned that stage. She owned the crowd. She showed why she was so great of an artist. She had fliers telling what time she was going on. She had merch so that you could support. There was literally nothing I can say bad about anything she did this weekend. She won!
Tulsa. The festival brought so much value that it was surprising to see that it wasn’t packed at all the events. This was the time to be apart of the culture and see all it had to offer. I only wish that the highshoolers would’ve came out and seen the black tech crowd. Just to know that it existed in Tulsa. Also to see the artists and producers and the behind the scenes people. There are so many aspiring artists. Instead of moving to Atlanta or California or New York. First find out what resources you have here that you can take advantage of. You’ll be surprised. Especially now with all the money that is coming into Tulsa. This is the time to get educated, to know your land.
The Headliners. LaRussell and Rapsody. Both are amazing artists that got to display their talents to Tulsa. Not only did they show up to Tulsa but they supported Tulsa. They broke bread in Tulsa by supporting local businesses. Rapsody spoke about how she went to Silhouette Sneakers & Art and copped some gear. LaRussell poured into Tulsa on his discussion panel where he talked about navigating the game as an independent artist and how he stays true to himself and doesn’t get caught up in the trends. Both artists gained new fans and probably were exposed to a market that they never thought about. Who knows if Tulsa might become a reoccurring tour stop for them.
The biggest winner was the festival. It keeps growing. It keeps getting bigger. And 1 day Steph Simon will have that Ferris Wheel he's been wanting. It all started with a VISION!
Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have any losers or winners that didn’t make the list!!
Shyheim. But many may know him as “ShyGuy” or “ShyGuy From The Northside”. He appeared out of nowhere! But when he hits the stage he raps as if he’s been there the whole time. His ability to create cohesive projects with depth and originality have become a breath of fresh air. And the air is no clearer than on the northside. A place that we so happened to be at on Saturday August 20th led by the North Winds. The destination was Hawthorne Park where Shyheim brought everyone into his world or as he calls it “The Northwind Masquerade”. Here's Shyheim explaining the origins of ShyGuy:
”ShyGuy was created from my trama I grew up not really feeling loved. So I created characters in order to cope. I also hid behind anime characters and cartoon characters. And ShyGuy came out of that. Now I’m bringing him to the public, so that I can rid of this trama. Gotta work with everything in order to make something whole.”
The nostalgia of Hawthorne park set the stage for an event that was the epitome of “do it yourself”. Shyheim didn’t wait for a huge stage to get constructed. He didn’t wait for a massive pyrotechnics setup. What he did do was call on his friends and family to help him construct an intimate setting where the spotlight shined bright on Shyheim. He had his stage. He had his people. And most importantly he had the North Wind.
When it came to his people. What was supposed to also feature Lawrence Leon and his music. Didn’t. Unfortunately Lawrence Leon had caught Covid a few days before the performance. Our prayers and wishes go out to him for a speedy recovery. Another artist Zzaj who is featured on Shyheim’s track “Kaiser” was also unable to make the performance. But was fortunate was the artists Zorro, and another being 7urreal, who is apart of the collective Tribe Luminescent, of which Shyheim is apart of. It was dope watching Shyheim put some of the spotlight on 7urreal. Cause I learned that day that he got bars.
Shyheim. Most know him as ShyGuy and if you've been to any of his performances than you know that they have been mostly done under the ShyGuy moniker. But this performance was different. Throughout ShyGuy’s performance his mask fit firmly to his face while at times rapping in a still reserved matter. That was until we heard the chant. “Tryna leave this box I’m in, break loose (I’m tryna loose)”. With each repetition the chant got louder and louder, until finally Shyheim removed his mask and threw it to the ground. THIS WAS THE DEATH OF SHYGUY. And with that also came the birth of Shyheim Nwadiei. The thing that stood out most about Shyheim Nwadiei as compared to ShyGuy was that from the first bar, there was no question that he had the juice. The way he rapped “Talk to Me” was as if he was stepping into his greatness and finally realizing his gift was for the world and should no longer be dimmed. You are the Light!
From then on Shyheim Nwadiei took over and ran through an impressive list of tracks that ranged from familiar to unheard. Some of the noticeable ones being tracks from his latest album Calls of the North Wind. (Read our Album Review: Shyheim Nwadiei - Calls of the North Wind (tulsalines.com). But the question still remains. Is ShyGuy really dead? Here’s what Shyheim Nwadiei had to say:
“From this day forward. No more being called ShyGuy. It’s Shyheim Nwadiei! Only time you gonna see ShyGuy is at the North Wind Masquerade. SHYHEIM NWADIEI HAS TAKEN OVER!"
The lights dim as a sold out crowd sit quietly facing the jazz quintet and a microphone that was center stage awaiting the main act. The one and only 1st Verse. The room had such a jazzy feel, The bar just to the back of the room filled with patrons, the waitresses navigating their way through the packed room from the tables and back to the bar. The seating was very personal. Very intimate. As you would expect everyone was dressed for the occasion. The only thing missing was the momentary light from a match and the resulting clouds of smoke, but in these times the No Smoking signs make this no longer apart of the experience. It's now replaced with by illuminating cellphone screens and smart watches. But outside the artists circled near a row of parked cars, pass around the ceremonial jazz cabbage. Smiles, handshakes, and introductions ensue as the smoke dances against the midnight sky. The venue is called LowDown, and is very important to the Fire In Little Africa project because it was where the first video "Shining" was shot. This was another installment of the series of shows titled Jazz In Little Africa. This time headlined by the legendary 1st Verse.
PSA: if want a music journalist to come to your show. Put them on the guest list. There are a lot of great publications that always are good go to to help get your the word about your show out there. That includes IndyPot, 20onDaTown, Woklahoma, ASLUT, and Oaka, Root Tulsa, Black Wallstreet Times. ok.1, Etc.
As 1st Verse walked into the venue the band jammed, friends and fans embraced. Accompanying 1st Verse was a line of featured artists all featured not only on the guest lists but most importantly as artists that were there to support him on stage. The artists settled along the back wall of the venue as 1st Verse went backstage. If there’s nothing else he's gonna give you a show. His years of performing on virtually every stage in Tulsa has helped him to develop a familiarity and a comfort level with the stage. His performance was like an old friend as he talked to the crowd between songs. He's a true Master of Ceremonies. His words cut like a well sharpened knife, and again his confidence in his mastery allows him to smile after he delivers a lethal verbal assaults. The syllabalistic assault of Verse is so crazy that he could say, "sufferin succotash". And the crowd would snap their fingers in amazement of how he even fit it into the verse. That cat was in his pocket.
This night wasn't only about 1st Verse though. This was a night to celebrate and the relationships that he has built along the way. Some of these artists came all the way from Oklahoma City to be apart of the show. Do you know how hard that is to do? But that's a testament to how much weight that 1st Verse's name carries. He started the show off and like the star player, setting the tone with his song "Greatest Feeling" off his collaboration project with dj noname.called 1st Name. And like the star he tagged in artists to accompany him on stage as if it was a WWE tag team match. Guests artists included; Tra3Qwan, K.O, Mr. Burns, Young DV, KeezyKuts, Pade, and Bettyman. Everybody that was on stage seemed to be at optimal bars. It goes to show that anytime that you're on a track with 1st Verse that you tend to step your bars up. Sometimes though you even step outside of what is expected. Mr. burns a lyrical assailant in his own right, surprisingly on this night lent his vocals as he performed the track “Pixel Fade” which is off 1st Verse's EP Throwed Lenses. A project that was produced by Oklahoma legend John Moreland. This night highlighted just how expansive 1st Verse's catalog is.
It was important to highlight the band. As they brought so so much to the atmosphere and the overall sound of the performance. 1st Verse is no stranger to performing with a live band. His Verse And The Vapors shows is just one example of his love for performances with live bands and the added musicality it offers to the performance. And it was important to highlight their talents. 1st Verse left some room for the band on the second verse of VSXOasis. He let the band get some. Led by Chris Combsy on the guitar, Bobby Moffett Jr. on the piano, bass player (unknown) , Josh Raymer on drums, saxophone (unknown). The was band was out of sight.
I asked 1st Verse. What do you feel like you brought to the Jazz in Little Africa show?
Man we brought the jazz. We brought the Little Africa. I think specifically I brought myself. Because it was a jazz setup and because of where I felt like I was at, and what I needed to do for the show. I picked different songs. It was a lot of different songs that we hadn't performed before. A lot of features. I feel like it kind of organically bought the Everything is Us with Fire In Little Africa artists. DV [Young DV], Beety [Bettyman], Because Beety is FILA too. K.O. Keezy [Keezy Kuts], & Pade. Just like having a lot of guests. But the songs in particular giving some fresh flavor and some more personal joints that you need an intimate setting to really perform like that. And I think they worked there forsure.
What will you get from a 1st Verse performance? 1st and four-most is a front row to master and a professional at his craft. Next you'll see the precision in his voice hit every syllable so effortlessly. We also can't forget the fans. One fan in particular, a long time listener of 1st Verse drove over 2 hours to see 1st Verse. Just before the the concert he kicked it with 1st Verse and played song after song off his phone, reciting his favorite bars from each song. Last but not least. You'll get some good ass music. So next time you get the chance to see 1st Verse. Go! You won't be made that you did.
And the view from the rocking chair improves/But I have yet to see a team fucking with the crew/Near and far, I saw it all, wide-frame/Everything with wings ain't a plane, mayne/Endo get rolled up like car windows/Avoiding the policemans, them Carl Winslows/The wind blow and change, and I am not mad/All garbage bag rappers need to find a style fast/It's written all over niggas like a Dapper Dan/Survive rough lands, cactus plants growing in desert sands/Alive I stand, left for dead, though a nigga didn’t die/I got highed up so I could autograph the sky, fool/
What an event! I'm talking about the Listening Party for 2Peece's EP "Sometime in June". The event was held on September 29th at The Black Wall Street Gallery. The host, 2Peece was dressed sharp to the letter T. Smiling as always, he was noticeably excited about letting everyone to hear about this amazing journey he's been on. So let's get into the event and the project called "Sometime in June".
The thing about a good song is that it attacts not only listeners but it also attracts other artists. So when 1st Verse invited artists to come on stage and spit some bars to his song "All Of The Players", you could see the artists salivating to get on the mic. But anyone that knows 1st Verse knows that his lyrical assault and smooth delivery is a hard act to follow. But for the ones that did step on stage they proved just that they too are hard acts to follow.
Many artists look down on a free show because it means for them that their art isn't being rewarded. So why do a free show? In many cases there are benefits to doing free shows, for example, exposure to a wider audience. The huge halftime Superbowl performances are for free, so are award show performances like the MTV Music Awards and the Grammy's. the hopes though is that you have access to a bigger audience that will then convert into fans. But what many don't know also is that you can actually be paid even when the venue says it's a free gig. The word of the day is Performance Royalties.
Alexander Hamilton. I met him. If you look at his Wikipedia pages you may be wondering how did I meet Alexander Hamilton when he died in the 1800s? Firstly, anybody can write anything on Wikipedia. But also people do curate the pages for accuracy. So yes! It's true he did die in July 12, 1804. But it's also true that on September 1st, 2019 I did meet Alexander Hamilton. But not only that, I relived his life. How you might be thinking? Through the musical play "Hamilton". Inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow. Writer Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a musical that included music, lyrics, and a book. What's most significant about this play is that it is hip-hop. The play also incorporated other musical styles like R&B, pop, soul, traditional-style show tunes. But for the most part this was Hip-Hop's. This was for the culture. By the culture.
"You put that King up in front of my name and you gonna say it with pride."
King Spencer for mayor! Some may think this is a bold statement given his inexperience in politics. However, politics doesn't mean change. As Barak Obama put it "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." Change is what King Spencer didn't wait for. Change was what he became. Never was this more apparent than at his 6th Annual Hoop2Help AllStar Game fundraiser that happened at the Salvation Army West Mabee Boys & Girls Club.
We Made It! Friday! Let the champagne pour and the glasses fill. But before you do all that. Checkout another Tulsa Cypher by King Spencer. But this time it's the ladies turn. And they're out to prove that anything a man can do, that a woman can do just as well. As DJ Ali Shaw presents #FemaleSpittaz. So with a fist raised in the air these women show us all how it's done. OR as Tea Rush puts it, "You know how we go!".