Show Gallery: Ab-Soul, dead prez and Boots Riley at Hip-Hop Proclamations
Photos: Kevin Lee / April 1, 2013
Last Friday, for the first installment of the Art Under Pressure’s new Hip-Hop Proclamations series of concerts in San Francisco, Ab-Soul and dead prez main-evented the evening, while four up-and-comers from the east coast made their San Francisco Bay Area debuts and joined Jahi on the undercard. Before he headed off for Paid Dues Festival the next day, Ab-Soul anchored the midnight set as he performed tracks from his album Control System. Unlike Ab-Soul, who came by himself, dead prez was short one man, as stic.man couldn’t make it back from dead prez’s European tour in time. Instead, Boots Riley of The Coup came on as a surprise to fill the void, taking on a few of stic’s verses and supplying a few of his own as well. Not to be left out, dead prez’s DJ Mic Flow also joined the proceedings as an emcee, rocking the stage while M-1 took the boards for the last song of their set. And although the Bay Area has a special place in the hearts of dead prez (M-1 called it “our hometown” during his set), it was also a special show for four rising stars, DC’s Kelow and STEFisdope, Pittsburg’s Jasiri X, and Atlanta’s Stahhr. Kelow, STEFisdope, and Stahhr were all animated performers who leaped and hopped around the stage shaking their dreads and braids in ways the Bay Area audience were familiar with, even if they weren’t quite familiar with these artists in particular. Jasiri X, the one with the least hair of the quintet, made it up with the fieriest lyrics, doubling down on the conscious theme of the night and taking on the deaths of Oscar Grant, Kimani Gray, Troy Davis, and Trayvon Martin, all of whom killed by police (or in the case of Martin, a security guard protected by police). Starting it all off was Bay Area mainstay and educator Jahi, who channeled boom-bap mainstays KRS-ONE and Supernatural for his crowd-pleasing opener.