This month is already crazy-swamped with festivals, releases, and events. And don’t even get me started (yet) on the new Portland Hip-Hop Week (August 20-26). Here are just a few ways to engage with locally sourced hip-hop and R&B in the first half of August.
Dodgr, “Hot” and “Wrong Way”
After being featured on projects by Anderson .Paak and Mark Ronson, Portland’s buzziest hip-hop artist has finally released some new solo material. Leaving “the Last Artful” segment of her moniker behind, the LA-bred rapper/singer is now simply going by Dodgr. And on July 19, she released two similarly-vibed singles: “Wrong Way” (produced by John Ho and G Koop) and “Hot” (co-produced by John Ho and Mark Ronson). “Wrong Way” is for the more rap-inclined fans, while “Hot,” is a romantic, radio-ready R&B bopper that’ll hit you right in the feels. On July 21, Dodgr got another huge look when “Hot” played during the credits of episode six of HBO’s Zendaya-starring series Euphoria, opening the artist up to an even larger fanbase. A recent listening party at the Hoxton gave Dodgr’s fans, collaborators, friends, and family a chance to hear some unreleased juice from her next project as well. Those are still under wraps (and, oh my god, soooo good), but at least we can sip on these two tracks while we wait.
Blossom, “Glitch” Video
In late July, Portland neo-soul singer Blossom dropped a stunning visual for “Glitch,” from her sophomore album Maybe. Shot by Tim Slew of Soundlapse Media and directed by the artist, the video is set in Portland’s iconic Mississippi Studios. In gorgeous dark red tones, Blossom emotively dances around the small theater to the track that mourns (and then gets a little petty about) a failed relationship. It’s a simple concept that fits in comfortably with the singer’s introspective, coming-of-age project.
The Thesis: Rasheed Jamal, Danny Sky, The Dutchess, Quinn, DJ Verbz
Having made an abundance of appearances at the Thesis in its four-plus years of existence, Rasheed Jamal's headlining set at the First Thursday showcase is long overdue. The Hot Springs, Arkansas, native has become a mainstay of Portland rap, and for damn good reason: He's a rapid fire spitter who delivers consciously-conceived bars over some seriously sickening beats, switching up his flow enough times to make your head spin and your body bounce. His most recent release is "Glory, Glory," the excellent lead single for Messiah Complex, his upcoming follow-up to 2017's Indigo Child. The bill also boasts the ever-impressive Danny Sky, welcomes Houston-bred rapper Quinn for his Thesis debut, and invites back the Dutchess (FKA Nina XO) to slay thy edges once again. (Thurs Aug 1, 9 pm, Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, $10)
YGB: Summer Snack
YGB (Young Gifted and Black/Brown) connects with food-focused storytelling platform Tender Table for a day party to celebrate Portland’s BIPOC community. The function will be hosted by hilarious stand-up comic Shrista Tyree, and features performances from neo-soul singer Veana Baby and Manuka Honey, burlesque from Ms. Briq House, and danceable tunes spun by DJ Chuckk Pasta. Chefs Arlyn Frank (Platano Rising), Sakile J. Mitchell (vegan pop-up Brown Sugar Bistro), Ro Tam (Tanglewood Beverage Company), and Brazilian-American cook Emily Dasilva (Grano Bakery) will have bites and bevs on offer, and there will also be raffle packages. Proceeds will be split between Tender Table and YGB for future programming. (Sun Aug 4, 4 pm, Jupiter NEXT, 900 E Burnside, $5-50)
Maarquii’s “Full Outfit” Music Video Premiere in the Park
High femme rapper/multidisciplinary artist Maarquii invites the public to wear their best full outfit to a video premiere party in Kenilworth Park that’ll double as a cookout. Produced by Philip Berger and Fran Bittakis of Joop Joop Creative, the video was filmed in Portland and promises “vignettes of fantasy, sexuality, power, and dance,” plus hot rods and a taste of S&M. In addition to seeing Maarquii’s new visual for the saucy track “Full Outfit,” a sexed-up highlight from their debut full-length C.A.B.O. (Cut A Bitch Off), attendees can load up on potato salad, mac ’n’ cheese, cornbread, and banana pudding from Moelicious Burgers and Wings. Bring a blanket or low-profile lawn chair, and your own snacks if you have dietary restrictions. (Fri Aug 9, 7 pm, Kenilworth City Park, SE 32nd & Cora, all ages, free admission, $12-15 per plate)
Sa-Roc, Raquel Divar, Brown Calculus, Lisa Vazquez, Amenta Abioto, KayelaJ, DJ Mami Miami
I usually roll my eyes when a local lineup has more than four artists, but this one’s a rare gem: a “Portland Shines” concert series presented by Nectar Cannabis and Tasty’s Potent Edibles. It’s a massive music lineup comprised entirely of women of color. Atlanta-based goddess/MC Sa-Roc headlines, while some of Portland’s finest frontwomen offer some serious support for the hefty bill. DJ Mami Miami (AKA Mercury contributor Emilly Prado) will warm up the crowd, and then the night will get increasingly more lit with a variety of sounds that include hip-hop, soul, and jazz influences, plus live looping masters Amenta Abioto and Lisa Vazquez. Swoon! (Sat Aug 17, 8 pm, Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside, $20-25)