Guilty Simpson, House Shoes
Sunday's line up at the LoFi was a bulging binder-full of artists I wanted to see, from emerging blap-stars Nice &


Guilty Simpson - Lo-Fi - Sunday, December 9

Guilty Simpson, House Shoes
Sunday's line up at the LoFi was a bulging binder-full of artists I wanted to see, from emerging blap-stars Nice & AO to Piladelphia producer Knxwledge, Stones Throw tough guy (and headliner) Guilty Simpson, and, just for good measure: OCnotes, video mix pro Absolute Madman, Al Nightlong, and Introcut in the front room. The quantity was great here--unlike your stereotypically overstuffed local/traveling rap bill, or mountainous Studio 7 metal showcase--and basically everybody was happy to stand around for the four-five hours it took to run through everyone.

Nice & AO comprises local guys Nice Nate and DJAO; two talented knob twisters who came together on music streaming site Soundcloud, and practice the art of improv beat-making on stage. On the back room main stage, the two split the work in half: one (mainly Nate) would pound out the rhythm elements and drum track, and the other (mainly AO) would doctor samples over the top. This arrangement made perfect sense, as AO's background is in more of an ambient electronic field, and Nate's solo work wears the percussion up front. They switched toward the end of their set, then switched back, then made switching every other measure a game during one song. It was pretty impressive, and the on-the-spot construction of the beats gave a cool look at their process, and the overall anatomy of an instrumental. AO especially shone bright here (as is expected), and discounted his pre-performance claim that their stuff was "overrated."

Knxwledge played mainly soul-sampled beats and contemporary mash-ups. His set inspired by far the most dancing, and warmed the room considerably. His shit was good, and he let the jams do the talking (more on that later).

At some point, I wandered out to the front room and watched a series of Ghostbuster cartoons play on the projector while OCnotes played some ridiculously filthy house beats. There was a woman forming shadow puppets with the light from the projection, making a hand-dog lick Egon's face and such, and I literally could have watched/listened to that combo all night. Having just wandered in from inhaling their now-legal cannabinoids, groups of red-eyed beat heads stood around and stared at the spectacle. My two cents: Otis should capitalize on this home-run dynamic, and take her on tour.

Later, Michigan MPC man Samiyam worked some wicked beats out of a tiny, all-purpose sampler (an SP-404)--very polished head-nod stuff. He talked a lot, though, and stopped a lot of songs to tell the audience that they should go by whichever album he was playing a cut from before restarting the track. He was mostly a funny guy, but I just wanted to hear some beats, man.

Detroit underground rap icon Guilty Simpson took the stage after his DJ (the venerable House Shoes) spun for a bit, and faces lit up across the room. Simpson is one of the more captivating lyricists on the scene today, and has been for some time. To relate things locally: his forceful baritone cuts through beats much in the same way that Dougie's done on those few Shabazz Palaces tracks, though more in-your-face than slinking in the dark. His bare-knuckle braggadocio verses are endearing partially because he sounds so excited/energetic about rapping them. His lines are always clever, but he's mostly a no-frills, blue collar kind of artist, and lets his naturally bad-ass tone carry the weight. He ran through a good amount of new material from his excellent new Dice Game LP, and assorted old cuts from OJ Simpson, and Ode to the Ghetto. Listening to his wealth of material on stage, and again on the ride home, I got to thinking: who gets/has gotten better production than Guilty like ever? His backlog of J Dilla, Madlib, and Black Milk beats would make anybody drool, and Apollo Brown's backing on Dice Game is pretty bananas. Who's got a more complete experience right now? Let me know.

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