I went to a lot of concerts in 2013. Even having skipped out on SXSW, I may have attended more rap shows this year than in any other year of my life.
A recent Twitter conversation left me with the urge to list my favorite 10 rap concerts of the year, so I did it. As a disclaimer, this is my personal list, but I’m totally down to discuss and/or debate it. In retrospect, I am disgusted that I didn’t make it to more Seattle concerts this year; I definitely need to work on attending shows outside of Portland. That said, I’m eying shows in Bend and Seattle in the next 30 days. There’s always room to grow.
If I missed out on some awesome shows, feel free to let me know! It was tough cutting the list to just 10. I’m trying to have an even better list next year. Enjoy.
10) IAmSu, Problem, Dubble 00 & Chef Boyz @ The Hawthorne Theater
Despite a last second location change, I became a Su fan that night as he and Problem left the building shaking. Part of the Soul’d Out Music Fest, Dubble00 and Chef Boyz opened that April evening. IAmSu’s return to the Roseland should also get an honorable mention.
9) Friendly Fire Battle @ Cadigan’s Bar
This is my only dive-bar entry in the list and it wasn’t even really a show, but I’d be lying if I said that this wasn’t one of the most entertaining rap events I’ve been to all year. Sole Pro really took freestyling to another level as he belted out compliment after compliment with impeccable precision. Even a double team from Epp and Gepetto wasn’t quite enough to stop the new champ.
Really hard to front on two of the dopest lyricists in the game. Pusha’s music is just too dope and Fab’s presence is as commanding as any MC I’ve ever seen. One of the few shows I simply sat back and enjoyed from the balcony.
I attended the second of the back-to-back sold out performances that Ghost and progressive orchestra Venice Dawn put on and was thoroughly entertained. Ran into the homie Illmac there too, and also got cool-guyed by Adrian Younge when I tried to ask him a question about the band. Where’s the brotherly dread love?
2nd best all-local show of the year if you ask me. DJ Flip Flop ripped through a vicious DJ set as we celebrated the birthday of John Clark, plus Luck and Cassow got it in as well.
My first Lifesavas concert and a breakout performance by TxE made this sold-out show at a traditionally non-hip-hop venue especially historic.
I learned that Meth & Red’s tour manager is an a-hole, but storming the show with my WOHMmates and filming Serge Severe’s first show in Portland after touring Europe with The Sandpeople was quite the treat. Meth & Red were dope too, duh.
Probably the best 1-2 punch I’ve ever seen live, Big Boi and Killer Mike epitomize southern MCs and brought their A+ games to Portland. Killer Mike even gave us some love on Vine. Does anyone still use that?
2) Talib Kweli, Big Krit & Tope @ Wonder Ballroom
I haven’t even written this up for real yet, but Tope really killed it and showed love to his peeps by bringing out TxE, Caitlin Cardier and Farnell Newton. I finally got a chance to see Big KRIT live and Talib Kweli murdered his set. Easily my 2nd favorite show of the year.
Seeing Rakim live for the first time would have been nostalgic enough, but monster sets from Sleep, Cool Nutz and The Rundown (Serge Severe, Destro, Half Man Half, L Pro, DJ Ozroc) made this one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. It also led to WOHM’s first mention in The Oregonian. Double bonus!