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!!
Facts! Can be defined as; A thing that is known or proved to be true. So that means there’s no confusion when it comes to what is, and what isn’t. No matter if it comes from the source or it comes from a third-party. The facts are the facts. T3REZZY is out to show the world that everything he says, he stands on. And it’s with the release of his new single “All Facfs Freestyle Pt. 2” that T3REZZY is setting the record straight.
T3REZZY (also known as T3) is an artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He’s also invested in his craft and has went all in by dropping music and music videos, though he’s yet to put out a full length project. He’s using this to his advantage by putting out hit singles in order to create a buzz in the streets and gain new followers to his already rapidly growing fanbase. T3REZZY is an artist look out for.
For there to be an All Facts Pt 2. There obviously had to be a part 1 which you can find the video here (Click here to see All Facts)!. The difference between these tracks starts with the production. Part. 1 has more of a West Coast vibe. Also the verse is a little more aggressive and in your face. But on Part 2 has a totally different feel. The track is produced by 2Peece, a highly respected producer from Tulsa who has placements with some of the biggest artists in the game as well as placements with major brands. 2Peece delivers a beat that is similar to the Detroit Drill music that has helped create a new sound. This sound is what T3REZZY excels on.
T3REZZY has flow on the track that is laid back, showing his confidence in himself as an artist but not arrogant. There is still a hunger in each bar that culminates into some really dope quotable lines. “In these Off-White sneaks but the checks Nike” & “I remember missing meals, now we gettin seconds” are just two examples of the numerous quotable lines that are sprinkled throughout the track. There’s no question that T3REZZY is spittin’ All Facts. The song takes you deep into the mind of a hustler. Just steady on the grind. No breaks. That’s why this track not a freestyle in the sense that it’s unwritten flow, it’s more of a continuous stream of thought, that hustlers mentality, and also that’s why T3REZZY says at the beginning of the track, “2Peece I don’t need no hook for this one.” Because this one is for the hustlers. Also on the track is featured artist Kari2Dope. He goes in immediately after T3REZZY finishes his verse like a relay race. Both artists racing on the same team to get to the money. His delivery is upbeat and catchy, making him the anchor to the track just like in a relay. It’s a nice switchup from T3REZZY’s verse. It also showcases his skill and musical ability as you hear his voice ride the melody of the beat. “Two chains on me now, man this is some light shit, you can turn the lights off, and see this lit hit.”
What’s undeniable about this track is that it’s a go. It’s a dope beat. It’s dope bars. It has that right bounce. But most importantly it’s ALL FACTS! This track shows T3REZZY progression as an artist and is just a small taste of what we can expect from him and the new music coming soon. So until that full project drops we’ll be banging All Facts Pt.2. Listen to the track and let us know what you think!
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!"
Guerrilla Warfare. If your familiar with the term, then you know that it is all about non-military civilians who take up arms to fight against larger traditional military. OTS J Huncho named his first album Guerrilla Warfare, and it was all too fitting. The way he seemed to come out of nowhere and drop a tape that spread like wildfire. It was very much like a militia that he was creating, as his fanbase and supporters grew, so did his legend. The one who is determined to put The Hills on the map. And he’s looking to again use his Guerrilla Warfare tactics with the second installment called “Guerrilla Warfare 2”.
The lead single "Lions Den (Intro)" is the epitome of OTS J Huncho. When you hear an OTS J Huncho song what your gonna notice immediately is him. That’s because as soon as the beat drops OTS J Huncho starts rapping. He doesn’t play around with the beat. It’s go time as soon as that bass hits but often times even before the beat drops, he’s going in. Also, an OTS J Huncho song is gonna have bars, metaphors, and similes, all coming at you fast and direct. At times I found myself going back and relistening to a track and catching a metaphor that I might have missed. “I done called more plays than Tom Brady and Tyler Perry combined.” This track is OTS J Huncho. He gonna talk his shit and say it with his chest out. He even put out a video that you can checkout below.
I'm a Gorilla I'm a Dog,
One thing to note about the second track “Elihah Landrum” is that the title is the name of an actual person who is a basketball standout from Central high school that has committed to playing at SMU. The track starts out with a snippet from Floyd Mayweather’s HBO All Access for his fight against Pacquiao. And it’s easy to draw the comparison between the two. Both have a crazy work ethic. OTS J Huncho himself has put out track after track along side with an EP and now Guerilla Warefare 2. Both are also talking shit and backing it up. “One of these lame niggas wifein my head hunter, can’t lie I was mad as the fuck, she cut me off and shit for probably like a month, but she doubled bad cause ain’t shit like the Hunch”. That’s a hell of a statement to make. There’s also has a video that was filmed at the Skyline Mansion which used to be a leader of the KKK’s residence. If Tate Brady wasn’t rolling over in his grave before. He sure is now. Cause OTS J Huncho is posted with his crew all on the front porch. Take a look for yourself.
The next track is “85 South Show”. Which is also the name of a popular show that features comedians from Atlanta. OTS J Huncho even mentions the cast in the song. “Ima a young fly nigga like DC, playing with bitches like Los, and these niggas round here wanna be me, and my brother roll off a chico, that’s a bean if your ass didn’t know.” Not only is the flow crazy. The familiar sample of Drake’s Controlla can he heard playing in the background. This is a song you can cruise to, but at the same time you still get bars. OTS J Huncho is still rapping his ass off on the track. It’s like he never takes a track off.
If you're from Tulsa or just watch a lot of TV then you know that unfortunately Tulsa has a high murder rate. This is one of the reasons the TV show The First 48 chose Tulsa as a filming destination. And looking at the title of track 4 “Home of First 48” OTS J Huncho knows all too well the problems going on in the town. “If from the home of the first 48 where they play with extensions way more than beauticians.” It’s lines like these that tell of just how much gun violence is a part of Tulsa. Even with all the violence surrounding OTS J Huncho his talent is helping him grow into an artist that can help change the Tulsa narrative. “The only time a bitch played me was on the Aux”. The track ends with 4 bars from Big Tike’s culturally impactful single “Drank Up in My Cup”.
“They had them jokes and shit about The Hills,
You probably didn’t know OTS J Huncho was into classical music. Just listening to the beat the familiar samples Beethoven’s “Für Elise” hits your ear. OTS J Huncho must be a classical music historian. OK we’re joking. We’re not sure if OTS J Huncho is a classical music lover, but what isn’t a joke is how OTS J Huncho has repps for The Hills especially on the track "Shhh (G Hills Legend)". “They had them jokes and shit about The Hills but ain’t said shit since the Huncho done popped out. Niggas is bitches”. And it’s true. There hasn’t been a rapper that has represented from The Hills like him. Of course, there have been artists that have mentioned it and dappled with being from both The Hills and north Tulsa. But there hasn’t been an artist who took The Hills and put it on their back like OTS J Huncho is. The track shows his unapologetic bars and a flow that shows that he can back up every line. It’s like going up against a top athlete and they’re up. And to add insult to injury they talk shit too. Checkout out the video and see what I’m talking about.
The second half of the album starts with the track “Return of The Apes (Interlude)”, it feels like that intro part to a TV show where they recap the whole season in under a minute, but in this case it’s OTS J Huncho’s life that he is recapping from a first-person perspective. The song is noticeably shorter at only 1 minute and 37 seconds. But within this short one verse track, OTS J Huncho says a lot, and the track shares some similarities with the previous track which is that OTS J Huncho reps The Hills hard. “Make sure them niggas respect The Hills like they respect the north.” The song is truly a snapshot that dives into different situations he’s went through to get to this point, from talking about someone snitching on his father, to low times when he slept on artist/producer SolRay’s couch, to now being the man in the town. This track you get your bang for your buck he spits all these bars before the beat even drops. While the sample is looping your kept anticipating the drop which makes you listen to what he had to say that much more. This was genius.
"Calvins Story Pt. 2" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It showcases OTS J Huncho’s pen and storytelling ability. The track is a sequel and continues where Calvins Story Pt. 1 left off. Like forreal the track picks up perfectly, I found myself going back and listen to both tracks back-to-back and seeing how the storyline is so well written, almost like an episodic TV show. He paints such a vivid picture that makes you actually feel like you’re apart of the story. Like you can see the robbery. You can see the cop getting shot. You’re fully invested in the story. I’m personally hoping and looking forward to hearing part 3 to the Calvins Story saga.
Track 8 is "Scoring Moore The Maya". From its title it seems to be a basketball reference to famous WNBA player Maya Moore. This may also be why he puts so many bars referencing sports athletes in the track, he midest well be scoring more than Maya Moore. ”I heard that you got up in front of that court, and turned into Paul Pierce and was telling the truth.” BARRRSSS!!! He could’ve stopped the track after that. Also, something to note about this track is that it’s the first track where another featured artist appears. Sabree Carter, is a rapper who also appears on Guerrilla Warfare 1 on track “Boosie in 09”. She is in pocket and her rhythmic voice chop up the beat nicely. "Really stepped on some niggas in Vans, couple niggas that treat me like Stan, put on that shit call me Miss Dapper Dan."
“Everytime I kick this coke shit,
The first thing you notice about “Ricky Tan” is one, the title being from the villain in Rush Hour 2. The second thing you notice is the Ne-Yo “So Sick” sample. Which seems out of place for a hip-hop track. But that’s until the beat drops and you go. “Good one. I see what you did there”. Here’s just one of the lines that caught my attention “Brodie Bro got 2k’s he ain’t even got no console.” The third thing you notice on here is that Phil Sosa is featured on the track. The West and The Hills they go hand and hand so this collab makes sense. Phil Sosa spits some dope bars, but if you know his music then you know that already. “Ima blow this bitch until I hurt my shoulder blade, Glock on me, catch a nigga slippin like a rollerblade”. This track was great move for both artists. Both artists get introduced to each other’s fanbase and in the end everyone wins. Who knows. There may even be a video for this one too.
What a ride. We are finally down to the last track on the album, which is called “Crenshaw and Slausen Freestyle (Outro).” From the title alone, you can’t half step on Nipsey Hussle’s turf. Also, it’s the last track! Usually, the last track wraps up the theme to an album and can be seen as the end of the story. I feel like this track goes a different direction. In that it makes sure there are doubts left. OTS J Huncho can rap. Simple and plain. But the track is far from simple. The track starts with another familiar sample being Childish Gambino’s song "Redbone". But it’s OTS J Huncho’s complex bars makes so that he even tells you what he means so that it doesn’t go over your head. “Smoke exotic, That shit boxed, they ain’t boxin, They gonna box him, That mean drop him”. The song tells the world who OTS J Huncho is so that they can’t tell the story. It Was Written…
Guerrilla Warfare 2! It’s one of the best albums to come out of Tulsa this year. It’s the sequel that is just as strong as the 1st installment. I did want him to put "SharkLotto Freestyle" on here, but I can’t complain because there are so many great songs on this album. The album uses familiar samples to draw in the audience. But at the same time, I think the thing about an OTS J Huncho song is that you look forward to hearing him rapping more than you look forward to hearing the beat. Which is a trait that breakout artists and mainstream artists have. Guerrilla Warfare 2 gives the fans what they want. Bars, delivery, bravado, and of course one reppin for The Hills. So give Guerrilla Warfare 2 a listen and let us know what you think.
Make sure to follow OTS J Huncho on his social media:
YouTube: OTS J Huncho
Spotify: OTS J Huncho
101 years ago one of the worst attacks in the U.S. took place. And for so long it was written out of history. Especially the place where it occurred. Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you’ve ever picked up an Oklahoma History book then you know that the pages are filled with stories about the Trail Of Tears, The Land Run, and other stories of how Oklahoma came to be. But not one story was told about one of the richest black communities in the world. The Wakanda before it was even thought of. The major difference being that this place was real. Black Wall Street. Written out of history books and labeled as critical race theory. The powers that be are again trying to white out the history of Black Wall Street. But history isn’t just learned in a book. For centuries people have used music to teach and remember the past. So just when the powers that be want to white out Black Wall Street an artist by the name of Dangerous Rob is using his pen to write it back in with his new single “For Black Wall Street” that features Playya 100 and Malachi.
Dangerous Rob is a veteran in the game that has performed with some of the biggest artists such as Melle Mel, LLC Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, Ice T, NWA, Too Short. And the list goes on and on. In 2006, Dangerous Rob was added as part of the Dogg Pound Next Generation. He has also delved into the business side of music and manages his own label F.R.E.E.D.A.M. Records and still produces different acts in the city of Tulsa.
That Tulsa sound comes out as soon as the track starts. It's an energetic bounce to the track that grabs your ears. The beat has so much complex instrumentation that then simplifies during the verses to leave room for the ear to experience the complex wordplay of the MCs. You might get this sound confused with that West Coast bounce popularized by Dr. Dre. But those who know. I mean really know. Are well informed that this is that Tulsa sound that the GAP Band made famous. A group from Greenwood, Archer, and Pine. Black Wall Street.
It ain't a mystery,
Dangerous Rob is one of the most well-respected M.C’s in Tulsa. Check his resume. It’s impeccable. He’s rocked some of the biggest stages and has gained the respect of some of the most legendary artists in hip-hop. But one thing that has never changed was his love for Tulsa. For Black Wall Street is another example of how hard he reps for the city. It's important to give him his flowers. First, out of respect. Second, because this track shows just how top-tier of an artist he is. His delivery on the track comes with a presence that is immediately felt. “A closed moth homie don’t get fed, A lazy hustler homie don’t get bread.”. This is that Black Wall Street mentality that the descendants have carried on. Trust me Black Wall Street still has businesses and it still has hustlers. One of them being Dangerous Rob. And just like he says in the track, he’s applying pressure.
We would be remiss if we did not mention the featured artists on this track. The first featured artist is the legend Playya 1000. Just like this verse he’s shown that he’s still very much a force on the mic. “Never knew the history of Greenwood, just knew I had to grind and get my green good.” This is Playya 1000 at his best. He raps about not being taught the history of Black Wall Street but knowing that he always knew the spirit was in him no matter if he didn’t know its origin. Something that so many Tulsans can relate to. Also featured on the track is Malachi. His soulful voice fills the track with that Black Wall Street vibe. There’s a strength and there’s so much flavor in it. That’s Black Wall Street.
Dangerous Rob is truly a king still holding his crown. As proven with this track. For Black Wall Street shows us everything we need to know about what was. But most importantly what still is. That the grind from Black Wall Street is in us. And even when we didn’t know why. It was something in us that made it so that we still couldn’t be stopped. And like Malachi sang on the bridge. This is for T-U-L-S-A. Aka Black Wall Street.
Checkout the video "For Black Wall Street" by Dangerous Rob ft. Playya 1000 and Malachi below:
Throughout the years rappers have wanted to be basketball players. And just like rappers, basketball players have wanted to be rappers. Both rapping and basketball are very competitive, so it's no wonder why both would be appealing to one another. 24K Astall is one baller turned rapper who is here to run up the score with his new hit single "Run It Back" that features the talented Alexis Renee.
24K Astall is an artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma by the way of Oklmugee, Oklahoma. He is respected by his peers as a major player in the game that has a wide repertoire of rapping skill, business acumen, and stage presence that has helped him get on some of the biggest stages in Oklahoma. His last album 24K Everything is available for streaming on all digital platforms.
Alexis Renee leads off the track by rapping the chorus. “Run it Back up like this bitches ain’t cut like that. They even cut like this.” This is her 2nd collaboration with 24k Astall, the first being 150. With this track they prove again that they have bring a certain energy and feed off each other each time they collab. One can only hope for another in the future.
Just like the single’s artwork shows, 24k Astall is the home team and the star player on the track. He paces his way from bar to bar as to make sure that he doesn't let up any of the 2 mins and 50 seconds. Staying with the basketball theme 24K Astall has some dope basketball references tucked in the verse. “Postman. I deliver.” If you remember Karl Malone then you know his nickname was postman and that he is the 7th player on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. And just like Karl Malone 24K Astall delivers on the track. Another line “We ain’t talkin’ Nike when I’m talkin’ bout a check." it's clear that the metaphors are on par for this track. It's also important to note his presence on the track. It's a reflection of his experience in the game. It's a result of the 10,000 hours of the practice he put in. This is another reason why the bars seem easy no matter how intricate they are. He flat out shines on this track.
When it comes to 24K Astall's track "Run It Back", there’s some easy layup bars and there are also some highly skilled bars, which both are needed in the game. The track is a good win for 24K Astall and it will be interesting to see if he adds this track to an album or EP. So make sure you go run up track and see why 24K Astall is the star player.
Go listen to "Run It Back" by 24K Astall below:
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.
I had a dream,
A year later, after the May 27th release of one of the most anticipated albums to come out of Oklahoma. At arguably the time when the most eyes were on a city that was still devastated and plagued by the social unbalances. Fire In Little Africa (also known shorthand as FILA) set out to be the fruits to the labor of the seeds that had been sewn far earlier than the artists that worked together to bring Fire In Little Africa to life. This was to be the descendants get back, as rapped on the track 4 by artist Earl Hazard, “This is how revenge seeds react.” But was the reaction enough to get the whole town behind them? What about the whole state? What about the whole world? I think the answer is no!.
Tulsa has always been a divisive city. There’s groups inside of groups, inside of clicks, inside of friends, inside of families. You get the jest of it. To be well received by the city you must be apart of something. But what about when you take so many artists from the same city and sprinkle in artists even from the state? You would think there would be enough cross-sections and intersections in social circles that everyone should’ve been bumping Fire In Little Africa. But it wasn’t. Throughout the year there were so many people who said they never heard of the project. They haven’t even heard of the artists. But either someone’s lying. Or the truth is something no one wants to talk about. That being. Tulsa doesn’t support Tulsa. In the words of Lil Flip. “You can ask David Banner”. His performance at the Legacy Festival proved that Tulsa don’t like Tulsa.
“Either they don't know,
But how can people not know about Fire In Little Africa? They literally were signed to Motown. One of the most prestigious record labels. They put out the Jackson 5 for God’s sake. FILA also had Beyoncé's publist Yvette Noel-Schure to help promote the album. I don’t think you just understood what I just wrote. Beyoncé's publicist was FILA’s publicist. Formation’s publicist was FILA’s publicist. Lemonade’s publicist was FILA’s publicist. The artist who can be referenced as just “B.” was FILA’s publicist. Do I need to say more? And I would say that she did her job. Throughout all last year some of the most well respected publications in the music industry featured FILA artists. From Complex, to Rolling Stone, djbooth, to Billboard. There were articles sprinkled throughout the internet. But what about the Tulsa? Did Tulsa know? My question is. How couldn’t have Tulsa known? The Root Tulsa, TulsaPeople, KTUL News Channel 8, The Oklahoman, The Black Wall Street Times, and the Tulsa Wolrd are just a few of the local publications and news outlets that have featured the Fire In Little Africa project. There was even a time where the Fire In Little Africa project was featured in the New Releases section of both Apple Music and TIDAL. So how couldn’t you know. So like in the words of Doughboy, “Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood.”.
With all this press. All this industry and this machine behind them. Why is this not the hugest album in Oklahoma history and beyond? Where’s the world tour? Where’s the rows of Bentleys and spin-off individual projects just like in the Wu-Tang Hulu series? The rap game's level of sucess is the money, chains, weed, girls, fly cars and big mansions. That hasn't happened yet. That’s because everything that’s gold, doesn’t always glitter. But this isn’t the first time that a classic album wasn’t given it’s just due. Jay-Z’s first album Reasonable Doubt wasn’t well received by the critics when it first dropped. I have to think though that there has to be some invisible strings being pulled. Because if a rapper from Fayetteville, North Carolina can find his own lane in the rap game, than surely a collective of artists from Tulsa, Oklahoma can do the same. But how did he introduce his group to the world?
"Grandma home remedy turned into a business
J. Cole’s “Revenge” documentary set the hip-hop world on fire. You literally got to see artists introduce themselves to the world and own their moment right before your eyes. One standout was Buddy. An artist from Compton that stole the show and didn’t wait to be invited into a recording session. He just jumped in any and every session he could. I know. I’ve went on about the documentary. It’s a set up. Fire In Little Africa took this same approach when creating the album. They created a documentary that captured the feeling of what it was like to be in those recording sessions. And at the very height of Covid. A Pandemic. The Lockdown. These all happened during the recordings of Fire In Little Africa. And all these artists have done what they’ve been doing their whole careers. Risk it all for a chance. For an opportunity. They risked their master's for the opportunity to be famous and to show that North Tulsa Got Something To Say.
Fire In Little Africa dove into every imaginable medium. From music with the release of the project on streaming as well as on vinyl. Included in this is a podcast and radio that interviewed the artists and the behind-the-scenes people of the Fire In Little Africa project. There was also fashion. The Fire In Little Africa essentially had seasons of fashionable wear that were quality and marketed as urban wear. Also there was art and photography. Paintings and art shows curated by Fire In Little Africa front man and No Parking Studios CEO Dialtone captured the moments on every canvas. There was education. A curriculum created to teach the next generation what Black Wall Street was and in between the pages, a blueprint to create the next one. Last but not least was uncle Charlie. Charlie Wilson was a major marketing tool that caught the eyes and ears of people who recognized a familiar voice. A Tulsa voice.
So why isn’t Fire In Little Africa soaring to the measures of the bar that was set so high? I don’t know if we can fully answer that question. As much as we like to think that streaming has killed the gatekeepers. There’s someone obviously not letting Oklahoma artists in. With the expectation being Gang51E June who has seen his popularity grow in the Pandemic. The artists. That’s the real people affected. The people who gambled so much. This was their big break. I think there lies the problem. Some of the artists took a break. They saw being signed as a label as a reason to slow up on dropping music. When in fact it should have been the reason to push their foot on the pedal and drop more music than ever before. Something that the algorithms could latch onto and continually play. This was the time to get their business straight. That means their merch. Their website. Their social media should be a tool, an advertisement, not a place to rant. A place to offer a product which is their music. FILA was really a time to be a student. That means going to the label and seeing how the marketing department works. Or when your on video sets asking the cameraman about how the do certain shots. It was a time to network with other artists on the label and see how they navigated the game.
Not all the artists took a break. There were a few artists that put their foot on the pedal and consistently dropped music or saw this as an opportunity to promote their brand and pivot. I even saw some videographers step up their game and it was because they were soaking up game on all those video shoots. But not dropping music because you’re an artist and you drop when you want to is the wrong idea when so many eyes are on your brand. Because in the end either you do this. Or you do this.
"Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t."
Are the numbers in FILA’s favors? Oklahoma is a well-known country, jazz, and funk. So how does hip-hop stack up when looking at music in Oklahoma? A quick Google search revealed that the most popular music genre in Oklahoma is… Metal?? (According to WideOpenCountry.com). And according to Grizzlyrose the most famous contemporary artist in Oklahoma is Drake. DRAAAAKKKEEEEE??? There are so many different versions of what the truth is. Looking at the numbers on Spotify (Warning! This is not an official number). The streams should have been astronomical. The reach of the publications stated earlier and the press run that FILA went on. The numbers just don’t add up.
The silver lining is that streaming is that it has the potential to break a record at any time. FILA could be one TikTok or reshare from blowing up. But for now it hasn’t lived up to it’s potential. This is no slight to the artists or the music. The music is all there. The project is historical. It’s a piece of art. But like art. Sometimes it takes time for someone to wipe off the dust and see the beauty in it. Until then, I just hope that the artists keep working. Keep making music. Keep pushing their brand. FILA shouldn’t be the pinnacle of their career. It should be a resume footnote and a negotiating leverage when they do go into see these major labels. They should be able to take all the knowledge they learned from working with a major label and apply it to their future projects. Until then I’ll keep banging Fire In Little Africa. And to tell the homies to KEEP ON SHININ'
Make sure you go stream the album below:
The Hope. Also known as Gang51E June. If you’re really a day one fan then you really know it is pronounced GangTie June. But day one fan or not, what isn’t to be confused is his position as the hottest artist in the state. It’s undeniable that he has the crown. His popularity has only grown during the Pandemic as seen on his YouTube page that shows the millions of views that grow each day, which he was able to create with the help of fellow Tulsa native vidographer King Spencer. Believe me these numbers don’t lie. In an age of artists buying streams Gang51E June has true support and a following that truly shows up to shows as well as supports his albums on social. As soon as the mention of an album drop the social media exploded with reposts of the artist from 51.Now that Gang51E June has truly solidified himself as the hottest artist in the state he’s out to prove that it ain’t over yet. Gang51E June is back with his latest project “This 2 Shall Pass”.
This is the follow up project to his album “Preaching from the Projects” that was released in 2020. What’s interesting is that the new album has 19 tracks. A heavy dose in an age of streaming and EPs but then again it’s been two years since Gang51E June has dropped a project. He’s been busy linking with other artists and a nationwide tour with Kevin Gates. He’s reached that next level of fame that reaches far beyond Tulsa. This may leave many thinking has Gang51E June forgot about Tulsa. An answer that comes apparent very quickly.
“We on Gangsta Time”
The album starts out with “The Call”, a skit that replays the memory of Gang51E June losing his brother, the sounds of the thunder, foreshadow to a dark moment in his life and sets the stage for the rest of the album. This leads into the first song off the album “Souljaz Cry”, which is a reflective track about his life and the curse that comes from the lifestyle combined with this low tempo down beat feel he still reminds everyone that “We on Gangsta Time”. The next track up is “Static Rain” which has it’s first featured artist Birdy, accompanying also is a video that just like the song, takes the listeners on a journey. The track is an outlet to get off his feelings from all the things that have been going on in his life. Like he’s expressing the price fame especially in the line, “I would go and buy me a new 51 chain but I just bought my granny a new tombstone.”.
“Homicide Man” is the 4th track on the album and from the very beginning Gang51E June speaks to his relationship with his father. He seems to be asking if his father’s absence is the reason why he chose this life, or was he just destined for it. One of the best standout lines comes from this track. “These niggas act like they some coaches, they keep throwin’ subs”. The video shows a father son playing ball in the front driveway and eventually transitions to Gang51E June as the kid who witnesses his father in a shootout, Checkout the video below.
Next we have “Cold Shoulder” which is a song about blocking out the bullshit and all the rumors, and above all to not forget the mission. Before the track ends there is a skit about his family that he's giving the cold shoulder to, and is a lead into track 6 “Family Feud”. From Jay-Z we know that no one wins when the family feuds. In this track Gang51E June raps about the family differences that has divided him from his loved ones and the love that hasn’t been the same since his granny died. A standout line comes from the monologue where he says ”The most beautifulest flowers have the sharpest thorns”. Is Gang51E June really in Tulsa? The next skit answers this question as a pair of McClain students can’t wait to tell him just how much gossip and tabloid headlines surround an artist who is at the top.
“If Cutty miss when he slidin, I’m sweepin’ behind him like he was forgettin his ….. Chores.”
“Ain’t nobody comin to see no Otis”. Which happens to be the 7th track and possibly one of the best on the album. The production is this old-time blues inspired feel combined with a hard hitting 808 bass. Gang51E June talks that talk. It’s him reminding niggas that I’m the one on the throne and it’s my time now. “If Cutty miss when he slidin, I’m sweepin’ behind him like he was forgettin his ….. Chores.” There is even a line about David Ruffin. This is his rap track. The bars hit hard, the metaphors keep you on your toes, and the bravado and tone in his voice would make hip-hop heads bob their heads in the barbershops and say. “Now that’s how you supposed to rap.”
But that ain’t all. Gang51E June ain’t gonna leave the ladies out, which is what track 8, "Anita" come in. He takes a moment to serenade the ladies and if you know Gang51E June’s audience then you know the ladies love him. And they love the gangsta love he talks about in tracks like this.
The midpoint of the album features Gang51E June’s biggest artist feature to-date. The one and only Kevin Gates. The two cooked up a track on Kevin Gate’s Khaza Tour on a track called “4Reign Gangsta”. This is one of those standout tracks on the album and Gang51E June shines along with one of the biggest artists in the industry. The even two released the video to the single where The Hope again shined.
The 10th track is really the definition of his music. "Reality Advocate". That’s what Gang51E June is and what his music communicates. Reality. After all the news cameras left after the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre passed Gang51E June is still in the city shining light on the reality of the aftermath and current state of the north side, and It’s with a soulful sample that he describes as Ghetto Gospel.
A familiar Producer tag “Pipe that shit up TNT” the famous South Carolina producer TNTXD that helped shape Rod Wave’s sound contributed to track 11 “Cursed Generation”. The track is about showing empathy for his father because he realizes there are generations of absent love that had a dominoe effect and eventually lead him to the streets. Next up is the track “What N****z Do”. This is one of the go to tracks off the album. The jazz inspired production by producer BandPlay puts an up tempo saxophone front stage capturing the history of Tulsa music. Jazz music has deep roots in Tulsa and is still a part of the Tulsa music scene. Also on this track are clever bars like, “I feel like a hanger how I hold the T”. It’s a line that’s nestled so deep in the rhythmic pattern of the verse that you might miss it if you're not listening closely.
"Past Callin". Is pretty self-explanatory, but don’t dismiss the track. This is more of an easy listen and one of the shorter songs off the album. "No Auto Tune" is one of those tracks where Gang51E June takes the gloves off to let you know that without the auto tune he’s just as deadly on the track. The beat has this creepin bounce to it. And Gang51 June walks down on the track.
You know you making it big when you make an interlude. But more importantly you’re putting together a cohesive and intentional project that goes through different highs and lows. "Lilana’s Interlude" is the glue that holds the end of the album together and keeps the listener’s ear. Another easy listen and vibe for the ladies.
When it comes to being an artist it’s your job to inspire. Gang51E June does this for the city but also pays homage to the legends. “The Hate I Gave You” which is inspired by Tupac’s motto and T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. is an example of just that. You can hear the familiar Tupac chorus “Shawty wanna be a thug” that is used to complement Gang51E June’s deep lyrics. It shows that the T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. isn’t limited to a city or state. It’s something that occurs everyday and it’s real
Next is the title track “This 2 Shall Pass” which is a skit that Gang51E June speaks to a friend about his trials and tribulations that comes with the fame. And at this time when he thinks he can finally excel bullets ring out and the next track starts.
“DLow got 18 on the yard like he was Peyton Manning.”
"Wockin’ On A Wire”, a slower paced track where Gang51E June expresses the feeling of being on cough syrup and the escape it provides from the pain. “Dlow got 18 on the yard like he was Peyton Manning.” The track also features popular Alabama rapper NoCap. The last track on the album is “A Father’s Ballad”. Not gonna lie the hip-hop fan in me wanted one more rap track, but this is a concept album so I understand the direction he decided to go with this one. It’s a ghetto love ballad to his daughter and protecting that love with his life. This track is proper ending to an album that lived up to the hype and was worth the wait.
There you have it, our review on Gang51E June’s new album “This 2 Shall Pass”. There are some important things to point out. First Gang51E June is still the hottest in the state. Just look at social media, as well as the respect he gets from his peers, and most importantly the fanbase that he has created and cultivated. Secondly, the album is that next level of progression that you would expect from an artist that’s got the juice. The album has big name features as well as super producers that help shape the album and show that this isn’t an up-and-coming artist that is rapping in the closet. This album has a quality sound. The skits also reflect the next evolution of being an artist that is able to put together a cohesive project. Last but not least. Gang51E June delivers. He shines no matter what artist is featured and he shows off that he has bars while at the same time still being able to cater to the ladies. This is an album that is well rounded and something you gotta listen to. So Go listen to the album and let us know what you think!
Listen to the album here!
Thanks for reading!
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YouTube: Gang51E June
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