Well, folks, we’re officially out of the rainy woods. Now that it’s May, the Portland hip-hop scene is blossoming and fit to be harvested. Here’s a bunch of new content and live music that’s ready to consume this month.
Mat Randol and Nappy Notez, Aries
In April, Portland rapper Mat Randol released his second EP of the year, Aries, with production by Nappy Notez of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With just four tracks, the solid and super-listenable EP flies by with no skips. The opener (“God Blessed Me”) and closer (“Take My Time”) are its strongest songs; the latter features a chorus and verse by R&B singer Aaron O’Bryan Smith and V.O.I.C.E., while Randol raps about maintaining a loving friendship with the mother of his child, despite the relationship not working out. (Thurs May 16, 8 pm, Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside, $8; w/4orty Five Kings, Keegan Baurer, Abstract, DJ Chuckie Buckets)
Stevo the Weirdo, “For Granted” Music Video
Portland rap staple Stevo the Weirdo recently dropped a new visual for his very catchy track “For Granted.” It slaps live, inspiring audience members to sing along. The video was shot, directed, and edited by Cory Frey, which is important to note because there’s a fair amount going on here visually: Stevo pulls up and rolls around in a white Mercedes while rapping, smoking, and counting money. Footage of the rapper is also projected onto billboards, rearview mirrors, and the sides of buildings throughout Rip City.
Blossom, “Moi å Moi”
Last month Blossom released a new single, “Moi å Moi,” produced by frequent collaborators Snugsworth and Neill Von Tally. “It’s a casual day and I’m rolling up,” she begins, then continues to ponder how her life could change with her come-up: “There’s something on my mind that keeps coming up/Maybe I should be somewhere far away/Or maybe I should stay here another day.” About halfway through the song, the mood switches from breezy mind-wandering to somber introspection. It’s the definition of a vibe, and also the final single before her new album Maybe drops on May 30. Blossom also recently announced via social media that she’ll embark on a West Coast tour this summer with Seattle singer/songwriter/producer Parisalexa, as well as Philadelphia-based rapper/singer Ivy Sole.
Fountaine, Covi., Bocha
Three of the most buzzworthy up-and-coming rappers in town are doing a show together this month called Spring Cleaning at one of Portland hip-hop's favorite venues, Kelly's Olympian. If Fountaine's recent headlining set at the Thesis was any indication, the rapper/producer will be performing some of his new R&B-infused music, but will also rap his ass off, make you chuckle between songs, and will probably be forced to do an encore. Covi. and Bocha have both been making noticeable waves this year as well, including their song "Man Now,"which they'll no doubt perform tonight. These three rappers have been on their grind pushing the scene forward; tonight's function at Kelly's is not one to miss. (Thurs May 9, 9 pm, Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, $8)
Texas rapper Bun B from legendary rap duo UGK is coming to town, y’all! Ever since Pimp C died in 2007, Bun B has maintained a solid following throughout his solo career. After six albums with UGK, contributing lots of featured verses (like that fire he put on Drake’s “Uptown” in 2009) and six solo albums (including his most recent, TrillStatik with Statik Selektah), Bun B has more than established himself as a hip-hop legend. He recently made news for shooting a home intruder who held his wife Angela “Queenie” Wells at gunpoint and tried to steal her car. Tonight he’s backed by Portland hip-hop veteran Libretto and DJ O.G. One; come show love to a southern rap pioneer (and Queenie’s knight in shining armor). (Fri May 10, 9 pm, Star Theater, 13 NW 6th, $22)
As Brown Calculus, singer/songwriter Vaughn Kimmons and keyboardist Andre Burgos make some of the most intriguing and cathartic music you can experience locally. I always look forward to hearing Burgos’ spacey production paired with Kimmons’ soulful voice on uplifting tracks like “Self Care” and “Good Job” from their debut EP, 2017’s Live at the Map Room. Tonight they’re playing in support of Oakland-based quintet Bells Atlas, who play an enchanting blend of psych- and soul-infused pop and R&B. It’ll be a match made in space. (Thurs May 16, 9 pm, Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, $12-14, w/DJ Mami Miami)