IT’S PRETTY INFURIATING that the actions of a few reckless individuals can ignite negative buzz and add anxiety for hip-hop fans and concertgoers (side-eye at whoever is responsible for the shots fired at the Game show at the Roseland earlier this month). As Verbz, the resident DJ for the Thesis, so relatably professed on Twitter: “Concerts are a sacred space for me. Music is how I connect to others. Firing a shot in a crowded show is like unloading on people in prayer.”
On a positive note, no one was hurt, and the same night the Thesis hosted a sold-out show at Kelly’s Olympian featuring headliner Donte Thomas and an unending slew of special guest performers. (Full disclosure: I have helped organize and promote the Thesis for the last year and a half.) In contrast to the Game show, which was broken up before the rapper even went onstage, the Thesis and Mic Check, Portland’s other monthly hip-hop showcase, are great examples of how rewarding it is to support local artists at a low-key venue.
Just three months after StarChile brought some friendly competition to the scene, the Mic Check team has already garnered the attention of global talent multimedia platform TeamBackPack (TBP), which is coming to town to film a live cypher and spotlight some of Portland’s most fire emcees: Illmaculate, Mic Capes, and Jon Belz will get some much-deserved exposure, and Theory Hazit and Landon Larson will also be performing.
“Ultimately, we leave the choice up to them to either freestyle or write, or do both,” says Nelson Silva, co-founder of TBP. “So once they hit the stage and start the cypher, it’s all them.”
For local artists interested in being featured in future TBP projects, just know that they’ll be scouting for new talent at the show and intend to return to Portland. “There are definitely some prospects for another PDX cypher,” says Silva. “Spoke to Illmaculate, who is helping us curate these cyphers with StarChile, and we’ve already got another one in the chamber. Can’t say who, but know it will be fire.” Organizers are expecting a sell-out, so get your tickets in advance. Thurs Oct 27, White Eagle, 836 N Russell
To celebrate the Thesis’ two-year anniversary this December, Mac Smiff says he has a double-Thesis show in the works: the regular first Thursday show, and an all-ages showcase that’ll pop off Friday. The venue is currently TBD, but Smiff says he hopes to settle on an all-ages-friendly space in the next of couple weeks.
As for what's next? The November lineup will feature local rapper Karma Rivera, which will only mark the second Thesis show thatâ€™s boasted a female at the top of the bill (not including when Gifted Gab headlined the all-girls show back in July 2015). It's safe to say Karma's got the stage presence, drive, and experience to really represent for the women of Portland music, and resident photographer Renee Lopez (Miss Lopez Media) will take a break from her photo duties to be DJ Lopez for Karma's set. Backing up the bill are a couple of other buzzworthy emcees you may have already heard of: I$$A and DMarx. November is expected to be another one for the books. Thurs Nov 3, Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington