Author: Damian Mendieta
A hurricane of unique sounds overwhelmed the jam-packed Echo nightclub last Tuesday as TeamSupreme took over the venue. TeamSupreme is an event where local alternative hip-hop DJs are provided with opportunities to showcase their skills. DJs were asked to produce a mix based on samples picked by a producer. Though the show got off to a slow start, artists grew in talent and enthusiasm as the night progressed. Last week’s event included sets by DJ FuzZ, Snorlax, Djemba Djemba, Penthouse Penthouse, Tk Kayembe and Busdriver.
A trickle of early birds mingled during DJ FuzZ’s seemingly tame mix. FuzZ was enthusiastic, but an aloof audience simply wasn’t enjoying the show. Very little dancing took place as most of the crowd was mingling by the bar. The usage of classical notes fused with funky electronic noises gave off a chilly feeling that prompted many to eye the exits.
Performers Djemba Djemba and Penthouse Penthouse quickly got the night rolling with their sets, which proved more energetic than FuzZ’s session. The club still had an eerie feeling, but at least the crowd wasn’t sitting down and appeared more engaged.
Finally, Busdriver came out with his rapid vocal delivery and a fury of sparkling melodies. The pioneer indie rapper could feel the club’s vibe, bearing comparison to a meticulous physician listening to a patient’s heart. Waiting for the perfect moment to bring out his best work, Busdriver teased the crowd with sounds from his latest album “Beaus$Eros.” Staple songs of his performance included “Bon Bon Fire” and “Utilitarian Uses of Love.” Uppity and slippery, “Bon Bon Fire” heralded Busdriver’s later hip-hop majesty.
Busdriver’s repertoire also included allusions to social issues. “No Blacks, No Jews, No Asians” and “Unemployed Black Astronaut” spoke about marginalized struggles while maintaining rhythm and smooth bass beats. “No Blacks, No Jews, No Asians” was a lighting fast condemnation of Disney-perpetuated racism and the imminent doom of the poor during economic strife.
A guitar backtrack let Busdriver unleash his typical intellectual lyrics as he poured emotion into his performance. In his song “Unemployed Black Astronaut,” Busdriver rapped about suffocating label contracts, racial oppression despite musical success and problems with achieving greater commercial fame without sacrificing his genuine look. Even the title itself suggests that Busdriver’s trailblazing genre of hip-hop has been forgotten and abandoned because people have moved onto the next great artist.
An artist worthy of the best venues in Los Angeles, Busdriver made the Echo sound like a top-tier venue and not the modest bordering-on-dingy club it is. After all, this show was a huge bargain that should have warranted people waiting hours beforehand. The indie rapper may not be big commercially now, but with his vibrant genius, a breakout cannot be far away.
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