A Deep Dive Into Hip-hop With Cut Chemist
Red Bull continued their Sound Select series at Terminal West with Cut Chemist, Montell2099, and Kamau. We had seen Kamau perform at one of Red Bull’s previous events with Goldlink (read the review here), and he’s always a special treat to see live. It was Montell2099’s birthday, and his strong fanbase in Atlanta that came out early to catch his performance, but Cut Chemist really stole the show, amazing the audience with knowledge of music and incredible skills as a DJ.
This was easily one of the best hip-hop DJ performances I’ve ever seen, and Cut Chemist proved himself to be a true student of the art. He’s a hip-hop head in every sense, and he told stories of himself breakdancing in the '90s while giving shout outs to dozens of MCs I’d never heard of as he played their records.
He was joined on stage for a few sections of his set by Akil from Jurassic 5 (which Cut Chemist helped co-found), and the love and friendship between them were obvious. They’ve known each other for over 20 years and are both still fans of hip-hop as much as they ever were. Musicians like these are the keepers of some deep knowledge and it was so great to see an audience of young fans soaking it up all night.
At midnight, the new Kendrick album dropped and Cut Chemist was already prepared. Connected to the Wifi, his pre-order had popped up on iTunes so he went straight to work chopping and dropping the brand new music. It was a hip-hop world premiere of the freshest and finest order. I can’t imagine a better way to listen to new Kendrick than having a west coast DJ slice it up with skill. It was like listening to sushi.
After leaving Terminal West, I stopped by Edgewood Speakeasy for Ployd’s pop-up event of soulful and funky deep dubstep. He had Section 8 and JStella as guests with Smiley on visuals, and the night ended up being like a mini Slow & Low but a bit more on the chill side. Just a bit. The crowd continued to flow in until late in the night, so I hope we’ll see more events like this one from Ployd and his crew
Shout out to Red Bull for continuing to host outstanding events like this, and for them having the sense to partner with local names like Speakeasy Promotions and Tight Bros. to select their lineups. Normally, heavily branded events are annoying and designed to select an “elite” set of customers, but with RSVP tickets at just $3, and with wonderfully underground lineups like this, Red Bull is clearly demonstrating that they care about the music culture and are content to let the payback come from a deeper association with the scene than just trying to push soda cans in our face.