Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Free music and advertising: How Microsoft's Kin allowed me to see Big Boi for free

June 3, 2010

The other Sunday I got a wild email. It said in big bold letters “Jay Electronica + Big Boi + Yelawolf FREE show in ATLANTA: This is a secret show in ATL next THURSDAY!”.  Well, when I saw that I felt special, and was excited at the chance to finally see Big Boi, the shorter half of OutKast that has been aggressively working to uphold the OutKast name.

As the days passed I found the event on Facebook and that it was actually a marketing ploy by Microsoft, for the Kin; some new cell-phone that is being released. Of course, as an avid rap fan, I was going to have to check out their event with no intention of ever buying a Kin.

Well, it was a great marketing scheme. I waited with friends for an hour in the hot Georgia sun (it was still going strong at 7 p.m., and doors opened at 8) to guarantee my spot.  Walking into the auditorium, there was a humongous stage in the front with 3 open bars. Before the first act (Jay Electronica) went onstage, 9th wonder was spinning at a smaller booth. This was an incredible value.

Both opening acts put on 30-minute quickie shows, with Big Boi performing for about 40 minutes.  I had seen Yelawolf before at a smaller venue, so it was interesting to see the Alabama-bred rapper go all out for a much bigger crowd.

I was excited to see New Orleans native Jay Electronica perform, but he had the worst show of all. Jay Electronica never completed a whole song. Well, he did; but every time he did a song, he asked the DJ to cut the beat so he could “do it acapella” to allow the crowd to listen to the lyrics of his songs. While I appreciate quality wordsmiths, to do the same gimmick with every song and not allow records to play out was irritating.

When Big Boi finally got on stage, he ripped through the OutKast catalogue, up to his most recent tracks that are part of his album Sir Lucious Left Foot, dropping July 6th.

So in a free show with solid acts, what could be bad? Well, the acoustics of the place were bad. On top of that, the production of the concert was terrible. During Yelawolf’s set, the sub was at such a high frequency that my vision was getting fuzzy. I may have vomited if I had had a full stomach.  During Big Boi’s set, both the DJ and Big Boi were obviously irritated by the terrible mixing of the show.  I was grateful for the performers for putting on a great show.

However, with my ears pounding after leaving the auditorium due to crappy production, why would I trust the product that was being advertised? If Microsoft wants to woo people to buy the new Kin, then they have to step their game up in quality of events.

Stankonia Studios' Inside the Music inaugural event a success

June 2, 2010

This past Friday I set foot in the legendary Stankionia Studios in Atlanta. I did not think I would ever have the chance to walk into the place where Goodie Mob, Outkast, and other Atlanta greats recorded their hits. The event was called Inside the Music. Apparently this is going to be a continuing series. The concept of Inside The Music is local artists performing in an intimate setting, while fans get a chance to set foot into the recording studio. Along with the open bar and the chance to meet local journalists and artists, the 10 dollar advance ticket fee was a steal.

The event was hosted by Maurice Garland, a Decatur, GA, native who has picked up in popularity with his one-man freelance blog operation.  Maurice Garland was incredibly humble and was the perfect MC for the event. “I didn’t think I needed to introduce myself,” said Maurice after the opening set of The Redland. “I don’t think I am as important as these artists.”

The two acts that performed were Prynce and Hollyweerd. I have listened to both of these artists intensely, so it was a blast to see them live.  Prynce was the more standard hip hop act of the two.  I was surprised to see that Prynce is quite short in person due to his gargantuan lyrical ability.  He played some well known tracks for the crowd, as well as some unreleased ones.  He marched around the studio as if he was on a mission, and I consider that mission successful.

Hollyweerd was the weirder act of the two. Hollyweerd’s live act consisted of the 4 MCs (Dreamer, The Love Crusader, Tuki, and Stago Lee) as well as a live drummer. For their set they dimmed the lights, and added a smoke machine.  Their stage presence was much similar to a rock concert. Not only was it about the the lyricism, but just putting on a fun show. They’ve been doing music for a while, and their live show exhibited that experience. If the next shows at Stankonia Studios deliver the same caliber of artists,  I definitely will return for the next Inside the Music event.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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