Lots of local shows have been getting canceled in recent weeks (in light of the wildly contagious Omicron variant, obvi), but if you’re boostered and braving the crowds, there’s at least one appealing local hip-hop show going down at Kelly’s Olympian tonight (Thurs, Jan 6), plus a promising spring show to look forward to. And if you’re taking the safest, most cautious route by staying out of these streets for the foreseeable future, there’s plenty of new material from TYuS to dig into from the comfort of your own home.
A can’t-miss upcoming show.
The Thesis: Prince Hyph, Majik9, THE GARD3N, Northside Tego, D.O.E.
The Thesis, a longstanding monthly hip-hop/R&B showcase that focuses on local talent, is always a good time with a community feel. Tonight’s lineup will see Prince Hyph, one of Portland’s only true drill rappers, as the headliner. (See his song and music video “Tucked Off” below for a taste of what the evening’s climax will entail.) Support for the bill includes singer/rapper/producer Majik9, THE GARD3N (a Portland by way of Texas trio, who’ll be performing songs from their new Strange Fruit EP), opener Northside Tego (who brings a certain G-funk vibe), and D.O.E, who just dropped a new mixtape, Hommie Homme. It wouldn’t be the Thesis without special guests, and this month North Portland rappers Mic Capes and Vinnie Dewayne will come rock the stage. And of course, DJ Verbz will be our host for the evening while spinning on the ones and twos. FIND OUT MORE HERE!
The Thesis, Kelly's Olympian, Thurs Jan 6, 9 pm, $15-$20, tickets here
Great new releases from a locally relevant artist.
Senergy and Lovers Winter, TYuS
Somehow I missed Portland-raised R&B sensation TyuS (born Tyus Strickland) putting out his three-track Christmas EP, Lovers Winter, which apparently dropped on December 10. A stand-out song from the project that doesn’t have any obvious Christmas messaging is “Change Your Mind.” Just before the holiday project, TYuS had also put out a brand new full-length, Senergy, in late November. Highlights include, well, pretty much all of it. The album is 30 straight minutes of pure slow jams, moody yearning, and sultry love songs, from project opener “Sara Lee,” to “Gravity” to “Timeeissnoww” and from the somber and relatable “I Hate Smoking Alone,” to final track “Lately,” which interpolates some of Stevie Wonder’s song “Lately.” Maintaining his youthful vocal tones, TYuS continues to croon his way through a collection of songs that end up feeling reminiscent of ’90s R&B, where he's continually executing an impossible amount of runs. For now, you can listen to the 13-track studio for free on Soundcloud, or with an Apple Music subscription—but unfortunately you won’t find it on Spotify.
ADDED TO THE QUEUE:
Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.
Ever since becoming obsessed with her EPs and mini albums in recent years, I’ve been patiently waiting for rising star and alternative R&B artist Amber Mark to release a full-length, and subsequently bring a tour to Portland. From projects like 2017’s 3:33, (which beautifully explores the stages of grief after Mark’s mother passed away in 2013), 2018’s Conexão, and new sparkling lead singles like “Worth It,” “Competition,” and “Softly.” Mark’s particular R&B blend has influences of soul, hip-hop and bossanova. And now my dream is finally coming true; Amber Mark will play at the Doug Fir Lounge on Friday, April 8. For the low cost of $20, the singer-songwriter will bless a very lucky, intimate Portland audience by performing the best songs from her two EPs (please let her sing “Monsoon” and “Love Me Right”), as well as a bunch of songs from her forthcoming studio debut, Three Dimensions Deep, which drops later this month.
Fri April 8, 9 pm, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, $20, tickets here