To my comrades,
The season is almost over and as we walk through the dog days, I felt it appropriate to reflect on what this summer meant in the grand scheme of things. It was the best of times and the worst of times. I told them if it was ever a year to fall in love with Columbus, this was it. The culture hit a new level. We’re not just in a renaissance, we’re in a heatwave.
We could start anywhere but I gotta show love to the tunes. The music has been crazy this year from the top to the bottom, newcomers, and veterans.
It’s been a summer of collaboration. We saw some of the most talented young cats in the city link up to produce some of the best hip hop music we’ve heard in a long time. Cold Blooded, for example, is a posse cut featuring TrigNO, Big James, TwanRap, Greg Owens, and Kent. It is also one of the songs of the summer in Columbus and was produced by a tandem that includes Sean Starks, Greg Owens, and Lgndary.
Two of Columbus’ rising stars, the swaggy Big James and crooning Kent each put out two projects including a collaboration (which is really a highlight of the summer) FRVRGOLD. For Big James, this followed up last winter’s NASAGOLD and continued his ascent into the public’s main eye. FRVRGOLD preceded Kent’s newest project, FRVR Focused, which is some of the smoothest R&B I’ve heard in the city. All three projects were produced by Sean Starks.
Our warm months saw the return of several influencers. Vada released an incredible project documenting his time running his street and lamenting the state of systematic oppression in America. Correy Parks flexed on Enchilada. Fabby Rotten reminded people why he’s one of the best in the city when it comes to both bars (Aaron Hernandez Freestyle) and melodies (Flex). Vick The Purifier (previously Vick Vega) teamed up with Soop to deliver a gem from the south side. Sarob made it on a Spotify playlist. The Magna Media Group put out three different, and dope, projects between Trek, Darrio Lamont and Nes Wordz (RIP). Alexander Dreamer put out new music. DXM The GXD put out new music. Hodgie put out new music. Bobby Bizz rebranded himself $$ and dropped music all summer long. Tripp Fontane continued to explore ways of bridging poetry and hip hop.
Columbus Hip Hop was everywhere and even took over Comfest. The Magna Media Group, TrigNO, Sam Rothstein, Sarob, Dom Deshawn and more all recieved significant and prominent time slots. Additionally, Lil Yachty’s I Spy, which gets national air time was produced by Columbus producer Lege Kale.
And somehow, there was still room for new talent to emerge on the scene. I was introduced to the art of Kashis Keyz and TwanRap via guest verses on posse cuts. Up-and-coming rappers such as Bizz, OG Vern, and Devin XO put out new music. Tobilla put out new music. Lege Kale put out new music. Stephenie Denise, Miir, Major Zoe, Zae, Bree The Rapper… I can go on and on but you can find it all on the listen tab of FlyPaper.
The most attractive part of all of this is that, while there is a distinct Columbus sound, there is still a diversity of offerings. If you’re looking for trap, conscious rap, backpack rap, vibes, melodies, anything…it’s all there. I could go on but I won’t. If you haven’t already, check out the FPM 614 Day mixtape, hosted by ib-Rease. It’s 22 tracks of some of the best that the city has to offer.
The heat of the summer extends beyond just great music. The days of people lamenting that there’s nothing to do in Columbus are nearly over if they aren’t already in the rearview. Every Tuesday, Level goes up with the Launch Tuesday series and Avalon goes up for Taco Tuesday. Mr. King JD has captured a vibe with Wednesdays at Two Truths. None of these events have covers.
Copious has their Notes Jazz night. Skully’s has a Sunday Reggae night. The XL party series has really grown into a special, monthly affair that the whole city comes out to. The 614 Pipeline is a monthly show that features headliners from Columbus and another city in the mid-west, bridging our communities.
Every weekend there’s a different day party and brunch. Any given Friday, you can find a couple of different art shows and there are open mics nearly every night in Columbus. Even the diversity in festival offerings is notable. From Comfest, to 2×2 Hip Hop Festival (the only Hip Hop festival in the state), to SummerFest, to the summer-ending Breakaway Fest, there were great entertainment options all season long. The city is lit right now.
I’d be careless to say that this summer has been all good because it hasn’t. There were several incidents of police brutality that rocked the city, including a head stomping incident from May. On top of that, we lost some great people to violence this year and I need to make sure to take the time to recognize a Columbus Legend that passed far too early: Nes Wordz. Rest in power.
All in all, Summer 2017 has been momentous for us and it would behoove us to take notice of all of the energy that is happening around us. The season is nearing its end and even though it feels like it went quick, we should not be so hasty to forget its significance. Instead, let’s all take some time to appreciate the manifestations of culture all around us, bro.
Malcolm “Ehkees” White