Between Nipsey Hussle’s funeral service, the release of Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary and live album, and Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You record dropping (not to mention the fire content that was inside the Mueller Report), the last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Here’s some local hip-hop news you may have missed, and a couple of upcoming things you won’t want to miss.
A Victory Lap for Portland: A Celebration of Nipsey Hussle
Whether you were a longtime fan of LA artist Nipsey Hussle, knew him for his activist work, or had only heard his studio debut Victory Lap, it’s safe to say his murder rocked your world at least a little bit. Until his untimely death, I had no idea Hussle’s impact was so huge. And judging from all the socials, the loss hit Portland’s hip-hop community pretty hard. Green Hop dispensary, We Out Here magazine, and Gentrification Is WEIRD are joining forces to present “a celebration of Nipsey Hussle, Black excellence, and continuing the Marathon.” Hosted by Green Hop’s Karanja Crews, the event promises a night of multimedia tributes to “Neighborhood Nip,” the Grammy-nominated artist, entrepreneur, and community builder. In addition to having a dialogue that seeks to elevate Hussle’s message and explore how to apply it here in Portland, there will be performances by Mic Capes, Libretto, Glenn Waco, Swiggle Mandela, Cool Nutz, and more. All of the event’s proceeds will benefit Boise-Eliot Elementary’s STEAM program (the same concept as STEM, but with an added focus on the arts). (Wed May 8, 6 pm, Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, $10, all ages)
Big Waves from The Last Artful, Dodgr
On June 21, Mark Ronson is releasing a new album, Late Night Feelings, and it includes a song called “Truth,” featuring vocals from Portland-based artist the Last Artful, Dodgr. Oh, and did I mention she’s singing alongside ALICIA KEYS? Yeah, so buckle up: Ronson is known for writing and producing for the likes of Amy Winehouse (particularly on Back to Black), and for writing and co-writing Billboard knockouts like “Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars, Kanye West’s "Jesus Walks,” and “Shallow” for Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born. This is just one recent instance of Dodgr making waves this year: Her vocals are also featured on Anderson .Paak’s Oxnard album (the track "Anywhere,” which also features Snoop Dogg), and she was credited on “Make It Better” from .Paak’s even more recent Ventura project, alongside none other than Smokey Robinson. But thankfully, she’s not too big to collaborate locally with her fellow EYRST artists, too. Which brings me to my next point...
ePP, There’s a Place for People Like You
Originally an EP, ePP’s forthcoming album has been a long time in the making. Working with EYRST producer and founder Neill Von Tally to craft the project’s sound, ePP explores themes related to his experiences with anxiety, depression, and working as a hip-hop artist in a city that has historically kept hip-hop culture at the fringes. (My listening package was a USB drive inside an adorable old-school plastic cassette tape, and a fun-size bottle of Bulleit Rye Whiskey.) Sonically, the album is also a joy: There’s a dope melodic hook on “Gahspell,” while “Bleu City (Go There)” and “5R” both spotlight gorgeous vocals from the Last Artful, Dodgr—the latter of which is especially euphonic and also features Portland rapper/singer Ripley Snell. After its two grabby singles (“Come My Way” and “Short Run”) the album drops April 26, and ePP has a release show that will go off at Disjecta May 3, which, in addition to ePP, will feature performances from Sxlxmxn, Fountaine, Half & Half, and Letjoux. (Fri May 3, 8:45 pm, Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate, $10, all ages)
America’s Orphans, Brookfield Duece
In March, rapper Brookfield Duece dropped a very solid full-length called America’s Orphans. Although Duece definitely claims Oakland, he has built a following in Portland, too, and has even signed to Front Page Music, owned by his cousin (and Trail Blazers star) Dame Lillard. Duece's roots are also apparent in his album's list of collaborators: There's production from Sam "Samarei" Waldo, horns from Farnell Newton, and additional vocals from Deondre "Drae Slapz" Rhone. Except for the closer "Navigate," the vast majority of the album is produced by Like (AKA Gabriel Stevenson). There are lots of highlights and features to take in here, including "The One," featuring Like and Lottery, as well as Driving, featuring Mibbs and Nick Grant, and "Swervin," featuring Freddie Gibbs. "While" (featuring Mani Draper) also slaps, while "Black in America," features some very triggering audio from a police stop that more than likely turned deadly. You can catch Duece performing his new material live at the next installation of Mic Check, which will also serve as his release show. (Thurs April 25, 9 pm, White Eagle Saloon, 836 N Russell, $8, w/Mellenium, Mat Randol, Tony Ozier, DJs O.G. One & Trox)