Newark can give you chills, and it's Local Music Friday the 13th!
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?
I know Matt aka Sah Ril from work. Actually, he just made a very Newark-centric video with another colleague, Amil.
I don't talk about it that much, but I do work in Newark, which is a weird city. As a kid I grew up joint custody--7/8 Jersey suburbs, 1/8 Washington Heights/Yonkers. As a youth, to me, Newark was the place where people went to buy drugs. Like Detroit, it's a city that suffered the most severe burn out post race riots...and you can still feel that vibe there. That said, it's doing everything it damn well can to try to bounce back.
I think what's super strange about the city to me is that the gentrification seems a bit forced. A few years ago, government came in with a big push: bring in businesses, improve safety, improve infrastructure, clean things up. It worked...kind of...but the result is a too-clean place that just feels off. The city skipped a step in the cycle of natural gentrification--there was a serious lack of artists and queers, the groups that make up the first wave of change (extreme examples: The LES, Williamsburg).
That's why it really makes me happy to see artists who are doing their thing for real in Newark. I think Newark would thrive with more strong artists, in all disciplines, to build a culture beyond the upper tier of what's in Museums or places like NJPac or the PRU Center. It just needs to regrow an organic scene.
That said, it seems like hip hop has always had a place to land in the bricks. One of my favorite and most cherished memories in high school was driving around listening to a tape that Sean had copied from a local music broadcast on WSOU. It featured tons of freestyling local rappers who were based in or heavily associated with Newark, including our favorite Tame One. Even now, we simply refer to this as The Tape and many of my friends can still rhyme the thing start to finish.
What's really cool about what Sah is doing is that it's original. You can tell the guy has a ton of influences (I know for a fact that he loves Prince and Bjork) and he's doing what he can to push up to and over the edges of the genre in which he's working.
This track is off his newest mixtape, Back Where the Pain Is- Vol 2: De La Minded. You can download the whole thing for free here.
Nowadays it's either
Unrelated:: but in other Local Music news, The Fifty Fifty turns One tomorrow. Come celebrate with us.