[Local Music] City Weekly's SLAMMys kicked off Friday night with an evening of Salt Lake City hip hop at Monk's, a club which over the years has transitioned from a "house of jazz" to an equal opportunity venue hosting any artist who is not paralyzed by fear, constantly considering how the Walker Center might hold up in an earthquake and whether one could possibly make it to the elevator shaft in time to prevent being buried alive in a smoke-filled basement. What? You never thought about that?
Ogden producer Linus opened the showcase with his catchy self-made beats, the origin of which was lost on many audience members who thought the short kid in the 2612 skate shop T-shirt was just some DJ spinning records. Fresh-faced guest emcee Task set things straight and continued to baffle everyone by absolutely killing with a song about bad relationships, while clad in a Ron Paul for President shirt.
Mindstate followed, but not before showcase emcees Mugshots reminded everyone that they were not nominated for a SLAMMy, then demonstrated their skills on the mic persuading people to give the duo props. So write them in if you agree. Mindstate sounded great, though admittedly they achieved even greater heights a few months back during a street corner performance outside Red Light Books and Ken Sanders. Just one DJ, one emcee and a microphone. That's all this duo needs to get things done, son. On Friday, we were a bit worried about Dusk 1 whose face got redder and redder as he spouted off one rhyme after another. It seemed at any moment his head might explode. The kid puts everything he has into each song and is entertaining as hell to watch.
Numbs closed out the evening, a bit thrown off by the glaring lights Comcast set up to film the showcase. "Four songs and those lights go off," the collective proclaimed, then jumped right into their signature tag-team rhymes. DJ Shanty once again proved his prowess behind the ones and twos with inventive beats that helped catapult the three emcees through their party-pleasing set. On question: Did anyone else think that one of the Numbs bore a striking resemblance to Mystery, that dude from The Pick-Up Artist? Maybe the leather armbands threw me off.
An awesome start to SLAMMys and a great reminder to a rocker at heart what it's like to step outside your comfort zone. I encourage everyone to do the same for the next few weeks. Now get out there and vote! (Jamie Gadette)