This is a first for Wisdom...allowing someone access to one of my most prized possessions. My blog is my escape from the mundane and crazy world we live in. The irony is that hip hop itself can be considered both mundane and crazy in this day and time. Bucking conventional wisdom (pun intended), the first access from an outside entity within the sphere known as WISDOM SEEKER is granted to the one and only Tiffany Welch. Ms. Welch is someone I've known for a short period of time, seeing her at the soon to be infamous NowChild Soundstage for Judah's Juke Joint. She is probably going to be known as much for her intoxicating Thursday evening creations as she will be for her dynamic writing skills. With no further need for explanation, here is my first guest writer with her dissertation on Lab Sessions.
Written by: Tiffany Welch
A convention of techniques, a swarm of ambition, a night where honesty is appreciated and fuck-ups accepted. Amidst potent stratus swirling in conflicting directions across a low basement ceiling, there was a distinct reason for this gathering and a purposeful plot to unfold...Hip Hop’s organized sport...The Cypher.
A call from architect, Last Born Child, instigated this compilation of emcees in this suburban basement for what would be known as another installment into BluVision’s Lab Sessions. Spread across this small room, stood ten artists with ten flows and skills that range from the trendy Drake-like ability to intersect rhyme with vocals, to the ability to educate the masses through Baltimore-coined slang and clever metaphoric punch lines. On this Wednesday night the catalog of hip hop talent emerging and existing in Baltimore looked strong. The 9 man (ladies included) roster, handpicked by Last Born Child, was an impressive spread of more and less notable Baltimore artists. The lineup: Voice, Prime Zeggy, Kae Fields, Akkillis, Eazzie Da Tattman, M.E., Ahki Mandriq, Lonnie Moore, and OOH of BROWN FISH.
With some familiarity to many of the artists, I expected a certain entertainment value to come from this lyrical exhibition. New to me were Prime Zeggy and Ahki Mandriq, (both who will now stay on my radar) and of course Kae Fields, Last Born Child, and OOH of BROWN FISH have proved their hip hop worthiness, so if all else failed, I walked in knowing at least 30% of the bars would be dropped with enjoyable execution.
The “Who” of the night was equally as important as the “What” of the night; Last Born Child designed this Lab Session, so it was bound to have some extra elements. As precisely as he created the roster, Last Born Child created this two round Cypher to include 20 different tracks, two per artist, including his own bars, which would commence each round. Upon getting a peek at the playlist, I was excited to see how each style would be executed upon the familiar tracks of such artists as Biggie, Birdman, The Clipse and Crime Mob. With a nod to DJ Eclypse, WU-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M. belted out, Last Born laid down his bars to warm up the mic, and Lab Sessions officially was underway.
All the ingredients were there: Cocky punch lines, humble re-dos and take 2s, hat tilts, expressive hands (reference Kevin Hart’s “real talk” stand-up routine), and mean mugs and confident smiles aimed directly at Zea’s camera (BluVision Productions). Even if you put the room on mute, the room looked and smelled like Hip Hop. By the end of Round 1, emcees confidently awaited what beat was to be dealt to them in Round 2. It was an atmosphere of respect as much as it was a venue to “go off”.
When the signal was made to begin Round 2, I looked up and the room was twice the capacity, however there were no spectators. The room was full of artists, in one form or another; Ramadan and Supa Man of the band seeWEED, Bangla of the Bangladesh Project, Wombatt55, D. Boi, Free Agent and a hand full of up and coming emcees, graphic artists, and producers. Called up one at a time again, Round 2 was the opportunity for some to out-do their previous flow while others completely switched up the flow. While no one took Round 1 as a scrimmage, this time, the emcees had a second coming type confidence and pulled out the dramatics, props, extra long runs, and references to the faces in the building that night.
At the conclusion of the night, Last Born thanked everyone for making it possible, a group photo was taken and this Lab Session was done…..or was it???
In true Hip Hop fashion, even as DJ Eclypse broke down the equipment, Banlga and Eazzie were still near the keyboards and monitors, and as a spontaneous beat came on, thus began Hip Hop’s version of an after party. An open circular Cypher ensued centered around the one lone mic in the room; a part of this circle was now Wombatt55 and Banlga dropping a few bars to have their linguistics documented for the night as well. After that impromptu meeting of emcees shook out the last couple of bars they had in them for the night, the Lab Session and after party was officially wrapped.
Emcees and artists networked, brainstormed collab projects, and shared resources before disbanding for the night. As the crowd dispersed, one last reminder was made by OOH of BROWN FISH to join him and his band seeWEED the following night (Thursday) for their weekly event, Judah’s Juke Joint, at NowChild Sound Stage. With only a small group left, the atmosphere began to return back to the normal haze that hovers close the drop ceiling tiles and seeWEED and OOH began their usual Wednesday night rehearsal.
Stay tuned to BluVision Productions for a full video recap of Wednesday’s Lab Sessions.