“Whats going on here? It’s almost like someone put random artists names in a hat and picked four to go on tour with each other.” We don’t know whose idea it was to put this odd combo together, but whoever it was, needs a damn raise.
Strange Music’s Stevie Stone from the midwest city of St. Louis, Missouri. Cool Nuts hailing from the largest city in Oregon; Portland. Bay Area legend E-40 and NessaSary, a female rapper you’ve probably never heard of from the opposite side of the country coming in from Vero Beach, Florida. Sounds like quite the mix, so we took a peak of the show at the beginning leg of their tour in Bend, Oregon last night at the Midtown Music Hall hosted by f5 Concerts and to say it was the exact opposite of what was expected, is an understatement.
In most cases when you go to a show you want the artists to sound different in their own respects. Although each artist had their own sound, these four artists meshed so well together you would have assumed they were all on the same label, touring together for years. The biggest difference between this show and others, I actually felt like I was at a real hip-hop concert.
Of course music has changed over the years, we all know that, but this show will bring you back to the 90’s with modern day beats (and some classics too) with a mix of OG’s and some newer faces. It will launch you into a almost simpler time in music when the goal was to share your message and everyone was there to party and have a good time. Skip the million dollar stage setups, the extravagant light shows and the 100,000 person capacity venues and you’ll find yourself having a personal connection with the artist 10 feet away from you or shaking hands with them at the merch booth. Not only did these four artists put on one of the most personable shows I have seen in years, they interact with their crowd as if its filled with nothing but their closet friends.
NessaSary took the stage over with a fury getting the crowd pumped up with her first song chanting “This is for you”. Wildly dancing all over the stage not missing a beat, she displayed small similarities to Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliot, but kept it unique in a way that will make you think “who the hell is this” and not in a bad way. To say the least, she was all over the place and knows how to rock a mic. Follow this girl, mark my words she’s a rising star whose fan base is only going to grow. This is her first national tour and she puts some of the best to shame with her lyrics, moves and speed.
Cool Nutz kept it old school and brings the 90’s Bay Area back to modern day hip-hop. This guy works his crowd, owns his own label, keeps it local and is managing the tour. You can tell by his style, moves and lyrics that he is no novice to the stage and cares more about putting on a good show his fans will enjoy then flashy lights, fireworks and diamond chains, not to say he doesn’t enjoy any of those, but his music is more than that and it shows. Cool Nuts has been in the game for just as long as 40 and has been working with Luni Coleone, Yukmouth and 40 since the beginning, co-founding his own label “Jus Family Records” in 1995. I know I for one am hoping this tour sheds even more light on this guys career, he puts in work and his performance leaves you wanting more.
Stevie Stone. Where do you even begin with this guy? Stevie is part of the ever expanding Strange Music label, partially owned by independent underground giant Tech N9ne. Not seeing Stevie Stone on the Tech N9ne tour this spring was a bit of a let down, but now I see why it happened. Stevie Stone blends in with Bay Area rap better than most Bay Area rappers do and thats not even his style. The guy doesn’t just know how to rap, he knows how to perform and better yet he knows how to entertain. The charismatic St. Louis native bounces from side to side of the stage belting his lyrics into the mic as if he is never going to have the opportunity to do it again, and the crowd goes insane for him. Tech N9ne and Strange Music are lucky to have this future powerhouse on their big wig independent label, and if they don’t hold onto him, someone is going to swoop this guy up for the majors.
Everyone knows E-40 is the legend of the Bay. Thats a crown not going to anyone else anytime soon as 40 launches into his 25th year of his hip-hop career. With that many years behind your belt in any game, you better be damn good at it, and obviously E-40 is. There’s no question he was the highlight of the night as 40 reminisced on old times about other Bay legends Mac Dre, Mistah F.A.B. and Too Short while pumping bangers from the 90’s to today, of course including his latest hit “Choices (Yup)”. 40’s crowd connection was unlike any other, with everyone singing along, taking breaks to just let them chant, calming the crowd at times when they got to hyphy and telling stories in between songs.
So when it comes down to it, the show was way better than expected. Not because any of these artists lack talent, but because it was as OG as it gets, and you just don’t get that in shows anymore. Is this a show you should go see? Yes, its not only a show you should go see, its a show you should hitch hike 200 miles and leave your wife and kids to go see if you have to. The lineup was incredible and I don’t expect to see another one like this anytime soon. Catch this act while you still can, as this lineup is unlike any other. Check out some of their music below. You’ll also find some tour dates below their videos.
Mark A. Macpherson
For tour dates visit http://www.strangemusicinc.com/tour/#t_69