What does it mean to be from the East Side? To be overlooked. To be undervalued. To be counted out before the game even starts. Growing up on the East Side puts a chip on your shoulder. Your thrown into this environment with so many different cultures that you even you have trouble knowing where one culture’s neighborhood starts and another ends. But that’s the East Side. That’s also the advantage of the Eastside. This past weekend 3 artists Doc Freeman, YungxHalloween, and Yung Qwan showed just what it meant to be from the East.
Paying homage to the Beastie Boyz, the 3 artists did their own flip on the name and came up with what would become the Eastie Boyz. The SoundPony stage was set as hip-hop was in the building. The first up was the artist known as YungxHalloween who got on the mic and showed a side of the East. YungxHalloween has a sound that explodes with energy and emotion. Also, in his music he represents for his community and his Hispanic culture as he drops gems and terms that if you know, you know. At times he seemed to blend into both Rap and Rock n’ Roll, which is true to the Beastie Boyz legacy. Go check out his Instagram: @yungxhalloween
Next up was Yung Qwan. I feel like Yung Qwan had this period of time where he was completely ghost from the scene. Coming off the highs of an amazing EP and the Fire In Little Africa project, it was bizarre to not see him out and rocking shows. This night he reappeared, but without his signature dreads. He stood center stage with a microphone in the stand. I can say that when it comes to the bars it was clear that he's still got them, but it was at the end of the song where you could see his change, as the beat continued to play Yung Qwan repeated the chorus with a pain that deepened with each repeat. “I cut the locs off, looked in the mirror, and found me”, I think Yung Qwan is in a new version of himself and it's exciting to see. His artistry is expanding before our eyes and his new project is gonna be crazy. Look out for that fa sho and go follow him on Instagram: @iamyungqwan
The last performer of the night doesn’t need an introduction. You can call him Doc Free, you can call him Doctor Freeman, but just don’t call him not from the East Side. Doc Free has been reppin’ and waving the flag since his insurgence into the Tulsa Hip-Hop scene. His impressive resume’ has made him one of the most well-respected MCs (also a member of the Oilhouse collective) and also one of the most sought after djs that can rocks crowds no matter the genre. No doubt his dj skills have also helped him uncover some sampling gold. His words cut with this laser cut precision that only a doctor could. (go listen to Dr. No, he is so on target with this album, like if James Bond was spitting real life Spy shit.) This night the doctor didn’t need an assistant as he was his own dj while also spitting bars from behind the table. And when the music was over, he was gone. Lost in the nights bars he escaped to hit the j., after the completed mission. Go follow him on Instagram: @docfree918
The Eastie Boyz. It’s a showcase of the East Side’s best. Who knows if the next time it will be the same crew. Who knows if next time it will be on the Eastside. The only thing that matters is that the Eastside has some amazing talent. This night proved that it’s just started.
When you think of what’s underground and what’s considered indie, your first thought to come to mind is that hip-hop has so many underground artists, especially in a city like Tulsa. But that wouldn’t be true. If you look at hip-hop even here in Tulsa, it’s beginning to get the recognition it deserves. That starts with having acts at big venues like Cain’s or even the Vanguard. To be truly underground means that your genre isn't in these big venues and therefore you have to create spaces that go against the norm of poplar mainstream music. That sounds like Noise. Noise is a genre that goes against everything conventional and is definitely not mainstream. That sounds like what we witnessed on Wednesday night at the One Aux event at Noise Town.
I know what you're thinking. What’s Noise? My answer would be, what isn’t Noise. Because Noise isn’t something that can be defined. It is more or less experienced. The first performer of the night NURTURANCE is a living embodiment of that. During NURTURANCE's set he surrounded by all these high-end pieces of equipment with so many different cords and outputs. It was as if he had a mini studio with him. He played each piece of equipment like a conductor making the machines play with a frequency that moved sound, while a projector displayed images of him and also silhouettes of people that you couldn’t quite make out. His performance was intense concentration but with a freedom, and at times he would lean over to a controller with vertical wires and literally bend the sound. Now that’s Noise.
The next performer was GOLDIELXCS. GOLDIELXCS has performed in both R&B and hip-hop heavy events, but this time seemed different. This time felt like the unstructuredness of the genre gave her the freedom she was looking for. Her performance proved just how wide the spectrum of genre of Noise is because it was completely different than the first. Her music was so soulfully unstructured. GOLDIELXCS used a beat making-like setup to play looped sounds. It was as if her voice carried in this spatial spacing that transcended her into different places in the room. At times she would pick up the mic and go into this short vocal backing of the track almost she was there to back up this moment in time as an alternate timeline in the multiverse. She’s played with a comfortably that let you know. I’m the shit. This is my Noise!
The next performer of the night was SYNTHDOM. His setup was so grand that everyone marveled at it. One of the audience members began to calculate all the pieces of equipment and how expensive it is. This is the mothership. This is the setup that artists with lower end equipment's try to mimic. And it showed how just wonderful it was when the first synth progression played. His set started with a backing drum kick that he then layered different drums, cymbal clashes, and synths on top of. He was the master of his setup and at times looked like a mad scientist jumping from sound to sound. To a rapper at times, it sounded it feel like being in the studio with a producer who is making the beat from scratch. And true to the genre of Noise. It’s not how it starts. It’s how you feel in each moment of the performance, and with SYNTHDOM, no two moments were the same.
The last performer we caught that night was ACESHOOTMEDOWN. That’s a long ass name. Unexpected. Sort of like the performance though. She got on stage with only her phone that was bluetoothed to the stage's sound system. ACESHOOTMEDOWN started rapping! What!!! But that’s Noise. It’s unexpected. She had bars as she took the stage with a bravado and stage presence that let everyone know that she was the shit. Her music was probably the most structured of the night as we grounded ourselves, knowing that we personally were in our element. We know hip–hop. ACESHOOTMEDOWN seems like a student of hip-hop as told through her stories and song structure. I’m looking forward to seeing her again and where she takes her music.
So, there you have it. Noise. Unorganized Noise. To an outsider it may seem like an AV club convention with the AV carts and monitors and all the cords. Just the sheer electricity alone separates this genre into something that’s different. But what we learned is that Noise is a community that knows each other and is supportive rather than competitive. It’s a genre that feels more improv than the programmatically structured predictable styles of mainstream music. It seems to focus more on bending sound than adhering to it. Lastly, Noise is more than the sound that it makes, it’s more about the experience that it creates that audiences love. So next time you want to hear some underground music. Go listen to some Noise, the genre that’s underground!
The first day of 2024! We watched the ball drop, we sipped champagne. We did all the etceteras. But what we didn't know is that there would be a tape. A tape from the legend that they call Pade and his producer dj noname.. I don't gotta say too much because the tape speaks for itself.
So let's just listen to the tape!
You can Purchase the tape from BandCamp here: Stoic: Day One
When you’ve been in the Oklahoma music scene for a while you start to notice the trend. In the beginning it’s these old artists, that people know and respect and have pushed the culture forward. Then there’s the middle-aged artist that have been doing music for a long time, but you start to see outside influences take their time away from the music such as relationships and kids. Finally, you have the young artists. These are the artists that haven’t been jaded by life. These artists don’t have much money but what they do have on their side is time, and a fearlessness to get their music in front of anybody and everybody who will listen. As J. Cole put it, “I was like a young Simba, couldn't wait to be the king.”.
Last night embodied the young artists that are waiting on their turn to take the throne. The Don of New Era, a fitting title for the nights festivities was filled with the upcoming artists in Tulsa. The new era of kings, which included performances from Crigga, Wxlon, Savvy Kray, JediahKO, Uncle Jay, Shay Breezy, ABK, and JuiceBox. You might be wondering how these artists all came together. It was a collaborative effort from all the artist plus The Underground Collective, Sharpside Trent, and also DJ Alive on Arrival.
Admittedly I didn’t catch all the performances, but the performances I did left a lasting impression. My biggest surprise of the night was Uncle Jay. I didn’t expect for his music to be that good. And it was so versatile. He was able to turn up with the crowd and also have some vibey chill music. The crowd was moving to his music which showed that he’s on to something. Make sure you follow Uncle Jay (@unclejaymakesmusic).
The next artist that really caught my attention was Wxylon. Of course, because of his looks he’s going to get a Kid Cudi comparison. I would also say he also draws comparisons because of the way his music seems to draw in people. By the time he got to his second track the crowd had already surrounded him and were holding on to every word. But he’s not only a rapper, he’s also a producer who produced some of the tracks that were performed by artists sharing the same stage. Maybe that makes him more Kanye, but mostly that makes him an artist. You are definitely going to hear more from him in 2024. Make you follow wxlon (@wxylon)
Last but not certainly least is an artist that has been going for the thrown ever since I first seen him at The Soulbody Cyphers American Idol style contest. JediahKO. It seems like from time I first saw him he’s done nothing but go up. When we talk about artists that can bring a crowd, it’s definitely JediahKO. He’s been one of the most consistent and most booked artists this year. The music just speaks for itself. He has that part down. The versatility to go from hard hitting bars to love songs embody what it means to be an artist. He has a comfortability on stage that shows and he can move the crowd. He is also on our mixtape “The Purple Tape Volume 1.5: The Purple Flee” where he delivered a dope performance on his song “Samson”. The price for JediahKO is going up in 2024. Make sure you follow JediahKO (@jediahko)
Advice: It’s important to know that when you’re young, you can still learn from people who’ve been there and done that. In my case I’ve been to 100s of shows. So here are some things I would tell all the artists. The first major rule is: DON’T RAP OVER YOUR LYRICS. This is what separates a rapper from an emcee. Trust me, you will be able to do so much more with your performance by not rapping over your vocals. The second tip is: Learn breathe control. With being an artist there is so many bad influences but one thing you have to do is to be able to rap rap for over 10 minutes, and the only way you can do that is learning breathe control which takes most likely, training. But it goes a long way to not be wheezing trying to catch your breath and still be mid-bar. My last tip is: Network and work the crowd. You never know who is at these shows, so don’t just leave after your performance. Stay and network because it might be the person who books shows looking for new talent sitting right in the audience. Or it might be an artist looking for more artists that want to perform. Your network equals your net worth. LITERALLY!!!looking A bonus tip would be: Put your music on BandCamp other some other site where people can buy your music rather than solely streaming it. Trust me, the bags bigger. And get some merch. That's a whole bigger bag.
All in all the night had some amazing talent. Too much to highlight. I can’t wait to see these kings grow and take the throne. But the unique thing was that this group of young kings who all had their own palaces, for one night joined under the same banner. Will it ever be done again? I sure hope so. Because these events are important. And the thing we can do as music lovers is support these young kings by going to their shows, liking and sharing their content, and of course, actually buying their music. Not just streaming it. But actually, buying their music. This is how they invest in their craft and get better, And when they finally do claim the throne still, we need to support them, because kings still need support at the top. Ask Simba!
Picture this. You're in your 4th rap battle ever, and your opponent says some shit so crazy that you know that it's gonna go viral. That's exactly what Jaylocke found himself in during the 3rd round against veteran battle rapper Aaron Sawyer. So, how do you beat somebody thatâs went viral? Thatâs easy. Just be so much better than them, that even after the videos and memeâs have go away, people remember you. Also, you have to make them remember what really matters. Winning. Floating around the internet is the clip from of Aaron Sawyers with an animated verse about his opponent Jaylocke. I gotta admit the wordplay was nice. But did it win him the battle? Thatâs what matters. Thatâs what battle rappers are remembered by. Not a hot line. But the number on the left being greater than the number after the line. So let's breakdown the battle:
ROUND 1: Fight
Again, Aaron Sawyer is a veteran battle rapper, so it was only appropriate that he goes first. And in the first round Aaron Sawyer was set out to teach the newcomer the Five Pillars Of Battle Rap. Pilar 1. Disrespect your opponentâs manhood. Pilar 2. Challenge his character. Pilar 3. Schemes, angles, punches, and jokes. Here are a few of those bars:
Next it was Jaylockeâs turn: And straight out the gate Jaylocke had some tricks up his sleeves. First, he talked about hygiene, or possibly the lack thereof under Aaron Sawyerâs sleeves. Jaylocke handed Aaron Sawyer a stick of deodorant. This did get the crowd going. Who doesn't like a well-timed prop? But back to business, it was now Jaylocke who was on the clock. Here's some of the bars that caught my ear:
Round 2. To start off the round, Aaron Sawyer showed that he is a quick witted by using Jaylockeâs previous Madea bar against him. He even showed him how you should use a GWayne bar in a battle rap, while he focused on his Pilar 3. Look at these:
ROUND 3: Finish Him
Round 3. You can't hold back. If you're a veteran in the rap battle game, then you know it's time to leave no doubt. It's time to Finish Him! Aaaron Sawyer started out with Pilar 4 which was angles.
The Scorecard: Finish Him
Drumroll. There were three judges with a split decision of 2-1.
It was a hell of a fight. Both competitors brung their 'A' game. It was a lyrical battle filled with highs and lows. And truth be told, the viral scene helped both battle rappers. My advice to Jaylocke is to project more in his performance and to remember that rap battling is a performance. You need to use different vocal inflections, especially when you come to the punchline. It helps the crowd hone in on the punchline. And my last piece of advice would be for Jaylocke to stand firm and mean mug the fuck out of your opponent. Make him feel uncomfortable with your stare so much that he stumbles. Also, it's important to note, that Jaylocke has so much potential and so much room for growth. So, look out for Aaron Sawyers and Jaylocke's next battles, And one thing is for certain. BATTLE RAPPIN' AIN'T DEAD. THEY JUST SCARED!
âAlso watch the whole battle below and let us know who ya'll think won:
Hip Hop 918 has become one of those events that happens every year that celebrates the culture, the music, and the artform. I know, it’s crazy to see right? Who would’ve thought that Hip-hop would’ve lasted 50 years. More importantly, who would’ve thought that Tulsa, Oklahoma would be the place to celebrate it and bring some of the creators to a town they’ve probably only heard of recently during the Black Wall Street Massacre Centennial. But Hip Hop in Tulsa is happening, and now it’s clear to see, that Hip Hop is getting it’s time in the city they call 918.
Next, we got a glimpse of the new school of hip-hop artists that have the potential to blow up from Tulsa. These students/artists are from the McClain High School Music Program that is taught by Tulsa artist Steph Simon. These kids are truly learning from G.O.A.T.s, And in a short amount of time, they’ve gotten amazing opportunities such as shooting their first music video 4929 (click to see the video), which an ode the address for the school. They also are getting the opportunity to perform on this stage. A huge jump for a first performance. They got to cut their teeth in front of hundreds, you could tell they were living their dreams, and that they had a ways to go before they were truly ready. But some people practice, to get in shape, and some people play, to get in shape. And they were there to win. The performance reminded me of the Wu-Tang posse’ cuts where at anytime there would be 10+ members on stage, all with their own unique swagger. These young artists are talented. But if I had to put on my critique hat for one minute. I would suggest that they not perform with their vocals. We want to hear YOU! But still they're still learning and have one of the best teachers to help them along their journeys. They're gonna figure it out.
One of the best things about the night was getting to see this musical roulette where 4 artists in particular (Jeezmino, K,O, Yung Qwan, and OTS J Huncho) took turns rapping their songs. Starting with Jeezmino, who did what she does. That's rap, rap. She left no doubt that she has bars and is one of the baddest in the game. Every time she steps on the mic, she commands the stage and her respect. With a beat or without a beat you're gonna here her. That's just how sharp her words are. They cut deep.
Next was K.O. What else can you say about K.O.? She’s one of the most versatile, lyrical artists in the state. If you were looking at how much she is booked you probably would think she has to be from Tulsa, or at least OKC. But she’s from neither. She’s from Enid and she reps it loud and clear. Loud and clear is what grabbed the audience's attention so much that there were these audible for “ohhs” from the crowd because of a bar that hit hard. And that’s what you’re gonna do when witness a K.O. performance.
Then we get to Yung Qwan. Yung Qwan came out of nowhere with his new fade instead of the dreads we’ve known him to have. His song selection was dope, even coming to perform his latest track “Rocket Man”. I think all in all it was a good performance. But if I had to put the critique hat back on. I would say that rapping over his lyrics took away from his performance. For example, Rocket Man seems like it has a lot of emotion that the performer needs to get across to the audience. But when you’re hear two different voices (the vocals from the track and Yung Qwan) who are not on the same tempo and sound completely different it’s easier to pick out the mistakes from missed notes and the wrong vocal pitch. It put the microscope that much more on his performance to spot the blemishes. But he's a great artist that can fix that.
Last but not least in this rap roulette was the KING OF THE APES! OTS J. Huncho. His performance was the one that hit the hardest. I mean to see his growth from his first performance to now, is like night and day. When he first started performing, he used his backing vocals as sort of crutch, he had all the bravado, but that couldn't excuse the fact that to be the best rapper as he claimed, that he couldn't rap over his vocals. But now he’s flipped it and used his backing vocals to his advantage to help out with catching his wind and also to switch things up. He's realized that when donig a performance it's not just spittin bars, also there's showmanship. And that's what OTS J Huncho is incorporating in his shows. It's exiting to see this young rapper mastering his craft and rapping straight bars about the town he's from living in. He is the one. OTS J Huncho.
After the roulette was finished another M.C. grabbed the mic. Marcel P. Black. An artist that exudes everything it means to be an M.C. And if you know him then you probably have heard his motto: “Real emcees don’t rap over vocals”. And true to his motto Marcel P. Black performed in pure hip-hop fashion, controlling the crowd with his voice. He even had the crowd 2 stepping to his song. Now if that ain’t an M.C. than I don’t know what is.
Another veteran that came and rocked the stage was Dangerous Rob. His performance more than anything showed how deeply rooted he was in Tulsa hip-hop, as Playya 1000 gave him a dope introduction about being there since the beginning. His performance also showed that he’s a marketing genius as three members of his entourage handed out Dangerous Rob branded shirts, of which the crowd ran to catch and also background workers held up signs. It's clear to see why he's been doing his thing for so long. He even performed his latest track "I Luv You", which showed that the veteran still has a lot left to say.
When you talk about Tulsa Hip-Hop there’s no way you don't mention Steph Simon. He’s been the one in the trenches with the machete clearing the path that soo many artists are now walking behind. He’s not only rapped next to your favorite rapper; most likely he’s booked them. Now if that isn’t a Tulsa King than I don’t know what is. Which is exactly what his accapella freestyle was about. Being the Tulas King. And as he said in the chorus, “Tulsa Kings run the world and Tulsa queens run the world”. From Steph Simon’s first song, to his last, he moved the crowd. He was in his Best Mood. He’s clearly in his 100,000 hours of practice and it shows. It’s his commanding presence, and his ability to move the crowd that moved the legend Eric Sermon to speak to Steph Simon after the show. Cause Steph Simon Is Hip-Hop.
Last but definitely not least was the legends EPMD (which stands for Erick and Parrish Making Dollars) made up of the rappers Erick Sermon (“E Double”) and Parrish Smith (“PMD”) and DJ Diamond that hell from Brentwood New York. This is where our hip-hop lesson begins. But not where it ended. Because throughout their performance, not only were they playing their hits, but they were also teaching lessons. Lesson 1. Pure New York Hip hop. Say we don’t rhyme over vocals. As noted earlier in the article. It's doesn't help. Lesson 2. Hip-Hop means you have a dj. And it was with this lesson that DJ Diamond showed his mastery of the turn tables by scratching and even doing various tricks while the spotlight was on him. And last but not least. Lesson 3: Never forget the ones who came before you. EPMD ran thru some of the most classic Hip-Hop tracks, that no matter what generation you’re from, no matter what side of the train tracks you’re from. You respect it. Cause it’s Hip-Hop!
So that sums up Hip-Hop 918 2023. You can’t tell that you don’t have a reason to go next time. It’s a free event that celebrates one of the biggest genres in the world. And you get to see some of the legends in the game do what they do best. Hip-Hop. Just as important, you get to appreciate the amazing hip-hop scene and artists that we have right here in Tulsa. Continue to support these artists by showing up to their shows and buying their music and merch. And by the time that the next Hip-Hop 918 rolls around you’ll be a believer that Tulsa IS SO HIP-HOP!
If you ever had the honor of being invited to a dj noname. event then you know just how huge of a deal it is. It’s like the Don Corleone sending you an invitation. And if The Don sends you an invitation, then you go. It’s an offer you can’t refuse. So, when I got the text from The Don, dj noname. I greatly obliged to show up to what was the dj noname. Residency at Mercury Lounge.
“It's not personal, it's business”. And for dj noname. business is good. He’s worked with the best artists in Oklahoma. I’m talking Steph Simon, 1st Verse, Earl Hazard, Bambi, DialTone, and the list goes on. And let’s not forget Snackin’ With Flavor with Keng Cut. It’s a masterpiece that stands alone in the dj noname. trophy case. And the unreleased projects are just as talked about as the tapes that are out. Another thing is that he also takes care of business as seen with his proud to pay campaign on BandCamp. Let's be honest. You get more money from BandCamp than you do from streaming. It's not even close for an independent artist. And those that know, know, It's good business.
"Power Wears Out Those Who Do Not Have It." And dj noname. has the power. It shows, especially when it comes to his residency shows. It’s nothing but heavy hitters! The level of talent that he is able to get on one ticket speaks to just how much power he has. Every time I go to a show and speak to an artist about how they first collaborated with dj noname., the conversations usually start with, “noname. sent me these beats and I was inspired.” And it's this inspiration that has gotten artists to start recording again or even back on stage. Even the audience members are filled with people who come to show their respect for an artist who has the power to make things happen. The man has his own socks! Tell me one dj in the game that has power like that.
“Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In." That’s how you feel when you go to a dj noname. show. Just when you think there is no other way the night can get better, dj noname. always throws in a curve ball. For example, unreleased tracks. I remember hearing “Best Mood” by Steph Simon at a dj noname. show., I swear I was close to leaving the party, but was pulled back in when the beat came on. "I'm the throwin' money out the sunroof, feel like I caught my second wind, I'm in my best mood, if I don't touch a mil this year, it's cause I touched 2". That's a short recap of how it went down. Everyone in the crowd rapping that part, while people who may have never heard the song watched in awe. And that’s what happens at a dj noname. show. You don’t wanna leave.
"Some day, and that day may never come, dj noname will call upon you.” Trust me. You don’t want to let down The Don. He has the power, he has the juice in the town. It's shown be his consistency to get some of the best artists in the town to not only jump on his tapes but to also come out and perform. So go! The music is going to pull you in. And if you haven’t gotten an invitation yet, don’t worry. It’s not personal. Show up anyway and believe me one day you gonna get that message. And when you do. Do me a favor, and answer the call.
And until then.... I'm in my "Best Mood".
By Ryan Anderson
Soulbody Cyphers Presents: Battle Royale - The Last Artist Standing
The Boxyard Tulsa
July 29, 2023
Soulbody Cyphers is a showcase performance event for artists from all over Oklahoma. Theirmission from their Facebook Page states; SoulBody HipHop Cyphers highlights underground hiphop talent all around the nation. A typical Soulbody Cyphers event would be 10-plus artists gathered in a building rapping some of their best bars over the same beat. But today’s event was anything but typical. This time around the Soulbody Cyphers did a competition for which this was the first round. 20 performers from Tulsa going head-to-head, performing one original song, and only the top 8 advance. To what? For a chance to be selected to go to an AirBnB to do music-related challenges and skill development programs.
The Judges. These weren’t just anybody pulled off the streets, each judge carries an impressive resume. Kode Ransom is a well-known poet and songwriter who has written most notably for the Grammy award-winning artist B.o.B.. MidWest BJ is a popular radio personality for 105.3 who also hosts a radio segment called the “Midwest Artist Takeover” that features songs from local artists. Thomas Who? is one of the most lyrical rap artists in Oklahoma who has also appeared on the Fire in Little Africa album and is a PPBC Trailblazer award recipient. And the final judge 2 Peece, who is one of the most sought-after producers from Tulsa whose music has amassed millions of streams, he’s worked with the likes of Steph Simon, Devin The Dude, and Lil Flip. so you can see, these are the real deal.
The Performances: The performances featured a wide array of talent, but a narrow list when it comes to genres, mainly Hip-hop and R&B, and a sprinkle of Neo-soul. The performers had a wide range of experience, from the veteran to the new kids on the block. You get the gist of it. Each performance was by itself unique and authentic. Each artist brought something to their performance that they thought would be worthy Soulbody Cyphers. That’s because Soulbody Cyphers is a community. One that has been built brick by brick by the artists and supporters. Support being a very keyword. Because when Anonymous Vox, decided on the unconventional method of performing acapella backfired into what became a recurring retry of forgotten lines, it was support from the artist and audience that helped him finish his song and still cheered for him. But don’t forget, this was still a competition, but few competitions exhibit this sort of support. And at the same time, few competitions had a Thomas Who? as their judge. Similar to a hip-hop Simon Cowell, Thomas Who? was the only judge out of the 4 that was willing to score an opponent below a 6. It was Thomas Who? who gave out a score of 4 out of 10 to an artist, and deservingly so. But with that, he gave the most honest and the most helpful critique of all the judges. On the flip side was a surprising performance from JediahKO, a performer that took control of the crowd from the beginning. He’s also a younger artist, so it was refreshing to see his command of the stage and to hear the depth from his bars. “How you supposed to put the Rugers down when niggas is Ruthless now.” This bar left all the judges amazed. His performance was an assurance that hip-hop was in good hands.
Another performance that caught everyone’s attention was Ace Da Kid's, because it was filled with raw emotion. Seated in a chair and with a phone pressed firmly against his cheek, an emotional Ace Da Kid rapped a voicemail let to his father about the lies and abuse that he could never tell him until this now. This was a special moment where he himself could not contain these raw emotions, breaking into tears, which created pauses in his verses that invited waves of emotions throughout the audience. Afterward, the crowd ran to the stage and embraced the performer. The performance even moved the judge Thomas Who? to feel this performance enough to give out the rare 10 of the night.
And then there was Kendra Bars. There aren’t enough words to express just how great of an artist she is. Her bars. Her flows. Her bravado. Misses bars take a bow, take a bow. She is someone that is making waves in the town. You’ve got to see a Kendra Bars performance for yourself.
Soulbody Cyphers may be moving to this new battle royale format. Who knows? But what’s not changing is the support from the community that has been built. I left the event with a newfound respect for some of the artists while also seeing the potential of others. So, to make it clear. Soulbody Cyphers got talent!
The Top 8 were:
Midwest BJ also picked JediahKO and Kendra Bars to be featured artists on the Artist Takeover which will put 10 radio-edited songs from these artists in rotation on 105.3.
2 Piece also gave away a collab studio session.
Kode Ransom picked an artist to do a songwriting session with as well as a studio session.
Rush Fest. If you've ever heard of it, then you know some of the amazing talent that has performed there. This year was no short of that. What's so unique about Rush Fest? It's a musical festival, right? Island themed right? What's so different between this festival and Hanson Fest? My answer is that this festival is for Tulsa. It shows the multi-versatile artistry that Tulsa has. From art in the form of paintings to the live musical performances. To the celebration of local vendors. And last but not least. Kode Ransom. (Read our previous article on Kode Ransom called Kode Ransom: His Message Through His Eyes)
A first glimpse look at Kode Ransom. He's a cool laid-back dude. Just watching him in a room there is never a moment that he's not talking to someone, whether that's to talk about music or just to say hello. That's because once you meet Kode Ransom you instantly feel his genuine spirit and his powerful words. I say the lyrics to the most ratchet song and make it sound like a speech from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakan. At times it seems as if he has the pressure of Tulsa's Black future on his shoulders, but he still carries the whole weight of a people without breaking a sweat. And we ain't even gotten to his talent. His songwriting abilities have helped him become one America's most dangerous, because he has the ink of Malcolm (X) and Martin (Luther King J.R.) and a pen that has helped him write for big name acts such as B.O.B.. while going viral for songs such as Brenda's Baby 1. He has his on IMDB page for goodness sake.
To watch Kode Ransom perform is to see greatness. Especially when he performs his poetry. He carries on in the footsteps of the greatest poets, while at the same time creating his own footsteps of greatness. And greatness is what what we witnessed that night. The island themed 473 bar, though packed felt like a snow globe spotlighted on Kode Ransom and isolating him in this moment of time. It felt like time stood still in a shaky world. His words hit hard in relatable cadences that brought black people home, that projected that pride in our community. He spoke in that forgotten code. We felt his words, we felt the message, we felt the bars and metaphors. The only thing we didn't feel was the time. To a writer. That's bliss. He spoke in a tongue that activated the crowns of kings and queens and gave us for that very moment the power to say we gonna be alright. and the boldness to say we can do better. The world needs more of this.
I remember approaching Kode Ransom and asking him if he ever thought of doing a poetry book. He said yes. But who knows will he or won't he. Until we know the answer, enjoy the artist that is Kode Ransom:
50 Years Of Hip-Hop!
To celebrate. Meet Us Saturday August 12th at the Center of Public Secrets!
Date: August 12th, 2023
Location: Center of Public Secrets
Address: 573 S. Peoria Ave. Tulsa OK 74120
This Saturday!!!! To celebrate 50 years of hip-hop, we gonna celebrate the South with our own Swap Meet called “Chop & Meet”.
All artists that want to sell physical copies of your music or merch, pull up and network.
For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to trade CDs or Vinyls, pull up!
We’re gonna also going to be selling physical copies of our New Mixtape called “Tulsa Lines Presents: “The Purple Tape”.
Also. we have a special edition mixtape to go along with, called “Tulsa Lines Presents: “The Pink Tape”.
Purple drank provided by @shaascreations / donation based/ pay what you can.
We will also be taking donations to help sponsor a student to go to the @raps101 summer music program. An immersive songwriting and music production experience that supports the local arts program here in Tulsa.