What a time to be alive: Nationally acclaimed rappers are actually coming to Portland on a regular basis; there are several hip-hop showcases in town to support; and local MCs and DJs are collaborating and maintaining (mostly) friendly competition with each other. All of these phenomena get shout-outs in this edition of Sneaker Wave.
C Los, “Leakin,” feat YoungShirtMayne and KayelaJ
On September 21, producer duo I’m Broke (AKA C Los and Solomon Embaye) teamed up with Naturally Grown Misfits member YoungShirtMayne and new rap star KayelaJ to drop "Leakin,” a peppy song that sees both rappers talk their shit, brag about having “the sauce,” and their ability to “get her drawls leakin,” despite being broke. The song isn’t just sex-forward, it’s raunchy and silly and fun. And I gotta say, it’s always nice to hear gay niggas and straight niggas rapping about pussy on the same track. More of this.
Mat Randol, Art of Allowing
Mat Randol’s new LP Art of Allowing is remarkably listenable, with cohesive production and gorgeous featured vocals. There are way too many gems to include here, but “Be Friends,” “Birthright,” “Seasons Change” (which Randol released a music video for in June), “Incredible” (with a sample from Francis and the Lights), and “Come Through Me Pt.1,” which includes a shout-out to the late Star Chile, are all immediate favorites. Not to compare, but Randol’s delivery and robust, gravelly tone sort of remind me of J. Cole’s flow—in a good way. Art of Allowing can play all the way through, with no skips necessary. Randol is set to headline this October’s Thesis showcase, where you can hear him perform some of these excellent new tracks live. (The Thesis: Thurs Oct 4, Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, 9 pm, $10)
The now-quarterly local hip-hop showcase is back this month with a killer lineup. While it’s true that Mic Capes, Fountaine, and Covi have all played Mic Check before, I’m always stoked to see these dudes do their respective things, hear their new creations, and see them grow as performers. But I’m probably most curious to catch a beat set by Luvjonez (co-founder of A Beat Happening producer showcase), who dropped the solid LP Another Level Up with VisualEyez the Poet earlier this year, laying easily digestible verses over lo-fi beats, boom bap, and mellow-but-sunny instrumentals. (Thurs Sept 27, White Eagle, 836 N Russell, 9 pm, $8)
Chief Keef, Karma Rivera
Despite announcing his retirement in 2016, Chicago-born drill rapper Chief Keef is back in the swing of things. In 2017, he released his Two Zero One Seven mixtape, along with his Lil Wayne-inspired LP Dedication. Even though I’m not one for lyrics about guns, it’ll still be cool to hear popular tracks like “Love Sosa,” “I Don’t Like,” and “Everyday.” Portland rapper Karma Rivera will add some local heat to the bill, giving her the opportunity to perform tracks off her debut EP Don’t Sleep on This, which dropped over the summer. (Fri Sept 28, Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez, 9 pm, $25-28, w/Lingo Nation)
Junglepussy, Kari Faux, Maarquii
I didn’t know about the epic wonders of New York rapper Junglepussy until hearing her song “Bling Bling” on HBO’s Insecure (“Bling bling bitch, do my own thing bitch/Fuck a wedding ring, that ding-a-ling was just a fling bitch”). With lyrics about empowerment, sexual autonomy, vigilant self-care, and financial independence, the Jamaican and Trinidadian MC is the epitome of a bad bitch. Music videos for songs like “All of You,” “Me,” and “Dear Diary” are fierce, fun, and fearless in their feminism and simultaneous sexiness. In one of the most logical lineups I’ve seen in a while, rapper/singer Kari Faux (who’s also landed her music on Insecure) and Portland industrial/booty house rapper Maarquii open the show. I can only imagine the slayage that’s about to ensue. (Thurs Oct 4, Star Theater, 13 NW 6th, 9 pm, $15)