Cover art for MAITAs recent single, You Sure Can Kill a Sunday, Part 1.
Cover art for MAITA's recent single, "You Sure Can Kill a Sunday, Part 1." Tristan Paiige

While December is a notoriously slow month for, well, everything, it’s a great time to let local artists shine, as well as looking forward to what new music projects and live music opportunities 2022 will bring. Read on to check out two new rap releases, a winter showcase benefitting Friends of Noise, and exciting future happenings from Portland’s MAITA.


Two great new releases from locally relevant artists.

“Helvetica” and “At the Louvre,” Drae Slapz

Portland rapper/DJ/producer Drae Slapz has been on a roll lately. After dropping his full-length project NRG in June, the Mic Capes collaborator has been releasing singles since November. Following “Mindset,” “Tranquilo,” and “At the Louvre,” the artist just put out another one called “Helvetica.” Both see him rapping mantras over dark trap-style beats. “Damn the game is fucked up/ but the game was meant for me/Had to switch the style up/ Had to do it differently,” he raps on “At the Louvre.” Meanwhile, the one-and-a-half minute “Helvetica,” is a bit more upbeat, seeing Slapz confidently talk his shit, asserting his authenticity, and preaching that other artists focus on their mindset and ideas.

“Dat Nigga,” Quinn

Houston-born rapper and KayelaJ collaborator Quinn—a one time Portlander who relocated to California over the summer—recently dropped a music video for new single, “Dat Nigga.” Over a beat by stalwart New Orleans producer C-Los, the song releases ahead of Quinn’s forthcoming project Brain Dump Vol. 1. The video was filmed in Portland, and features locations like Alberta Market and Black-owned dispensary Green Muse (FKA Green Hop). There’s also a cameo from Portland-based R&B singer Veana Baby. Check out the video, and read up in this old edition of Sneaker Wave, in which the Mercury discussed Quinn’s debut LP Detached Thoughts.


One can’t-miss upcoming show.

Icebreaker ‘21: Ascxnsion, J Prodigy, Sotaé, Daboi King, Zion

Friends of Noise, a local music nonprofit that offers professional workshops and paid music opportunities for artists of all ages, hosts this annual winter showcase of a solid all-ages lineup: rapper Ascension, hip-hop artist Sotaé, 11-year-old phenom J Prodigy, and more. There will also be an all ages sound crew, hip-hop dancers and teen DJs. One hundred percent of the admission price will benefit Friends of Noise.

Thursday, December 30, Holocene, 7 pm, all ages, $10 adv, $15 door, with Corwin Gold and Refugio.


Some local music buzz to put on your radar.

Portland indie-punk act MAITA—the full-band project featuring the works of Japanese-American singer-songwriter Maria Maita-Keppeler—is dropping a new record, I Just Want To Be Wild For You, on February 18 via Kill Rock Stars. The forthcoming project follows two excellent lead singles, “Honey, Have I Lost It All,” and more recently “You Sure Can Kill a Sunday, Part 1.” Even better: MAITA will embark on a national tour in 2022, kicking off with a date in Walla Walla, WA on February 18, followed by a hometown stand in Portland on February 19.