Maarquii Alex Hischer

Last week was super busy for the local scene: On Thursday, Mic Check celebrated its two-year anniversary after a recent switch from a monthly to quarterly showcase due to the untimely death of its host, StarChile. Then the weekend saw an all-ages Pride concert hosted by Friends of Noise, the “Portland Hip-Hop 101” panel discussion recorded for the Future of What podcast, and the multicultural My People’s Market with an after-party by YGB. (If there’s a way to be in three places at once, I’d like to hear about it.) In addition to the Thesis monthly showcase (full disclosure: I help with the guest list every first Thursday at Kelly’s Olympian), here are three very promising hip-hop events to check out this week.


Hosted by Masyn Wade, this Doug Fir lineup is stacked with local talent. Karma Rivera headlines, so wear comfy shoes and get ready to turn up. Last week Rivera released the single “Happy Hour,” which has her alternating verses with Covi. Though the song is a little short (clocking in at just under two minutes), its icy lyrics and cool, natural vibe could translate really well live. I’m also satisfied to see rapper/singer/dancer and former drag performer Maarquii near the top of the bill—their high-quality music videos for songs like “Dam God,” “Wirecutters,” and “Ded Slapt (Remix)” are compelling, entertaining AF, and wickedly fierce. There’s also Fountaine, an energetic rapper/producer who’s been expanding his sound to include R&B and rock influences, evidenced by his 2017 LP H.F.I.L. (Hell for Infinite Losers) and a collection of smooth instrumentals called Blue? released earlier this year. Tonight is also the perfect opportunity to experience the androgynous rapping and singing of [E]mpress, an emerging 20-year-old artist who dropped an impressive album called HeartBreak Hotel in February. Fri July 6, Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside


Led by singer and spoken-word MC Vaughn Kimmons (Brown Calculus), the soul, jazz, and hip-hop outfit Tribe Mars is criminally underappreciated considering how damn good they sound. Singles like “Sun Raisin,” “Anansi,” and earlier tracks like 2015’s “Ode to Phobos” are indicative of their soulful and funky vibe. With socially conscious lyrics and a fully fleshed-out band—there’s guitar, bass, saxophone, drums, keys, trumpet, and trombone—the result sounds eclectic, raw, and slightly nostalgic. This Friday, the seven-piece band headlines Mississippi Studios to celebrate the release of their self-titled, self-funded, and self-released debut LP. Fri July 6, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi


Every first Saturday of the month, Juice takes over Kelly’s Olympian. It was created by Bryce Trost of Green Luck Media Group to showcase comics of color, though host/co-producer Shrista Tyree says they don’t discriminate: “If they can hang with us brown folk, they can also make the lineup,” she says, but adds that the show is a place where POC don’t have to perform “safe” comedy. “A lot of the time in Portland, comedy showcases won’t book me or other Black comedians because they can’t relate to our story [or] our struggle,” she explains. “They don’t like the cussing, the N-word, etc. This platform was created so you can be yourself.” Tyree says she always does a comedy set and has even been known to perform comedic raps. Distinguishing it from other comedy shows in town, Juice also includes a DJ and invites local hip-hop artists to hit the stage at the opening and closing of each show. This month it's KI$ (Markis Apollo) and rapper Jae Lava. Juice also makes space for local clothing designers, and has had brands like Black Mannequin and BroPluto sell out designs. “We have great crowds, great crowd participation, and a fun vibe you don’t get unless you went to Def Comedy Jam or something,” Tyree says.“It was essential that comics and rappers alike could come and spit whatever they felt, and be supported in a down-ass atmosphere,” Trost says. “To be able to facilitate an event geared toward the POC and the LGBT community, and to actually have the support of a venue like Kelly’s Olympian, it all comes together and makes for some great times.” Sat July 7, Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington