Bridging The Gap: When Rock Meets Hip-Hop
It’s hard enough for indie artists to conquer their own markets in this day and age. So branching out into the market of another genre is practically unheard of. There are a few who dibble and dabble but crossing over isn’t seen too often. So when 414 favorite Kia Rap Princess was invited to perform at Quarters Rock & Roll Palace along with local bands Winter Bear and Dirty Dancing, it was an unexpected yet significant deal.
Though I love Kia as an artist and am more than confident in her ability to wreck a stage, I have to admit I was a little nervous about this venture into uncharted waters. But all of the involved parties seemed super excited and opened minded, so I was all for supporting the event. Kia was immediately embraced by her Rock & Roll counterparts. They didn’t hesitate to share her music, videos, and more on the event page. They made sure that their personal circle of supporters knew who she was which helped drum up excitement for her set. And they took care to mention her in any media coverage that they received.
When the Blaqlizt team walked into Quarters on the night of the big show (Thursday – July 31st), the audience was just as anxious to see Kia as they were Dirty Dancing and Winter Bear. To the extent that a few even went out of their way to ask about her. That was pretty cool to experience. Dirty Dancing kicked off the evening with a style of music and performance dubbed Rock Art. They had very unique interesting movements and gave off quite the spirited energy. It was definitely a compelling thing to witness. Winter Bear took the stage next. They brought a more light hearted bubbly type of energy to the venue. A couple of audience members described it as reminiscent of music that one might hear in classic 90’s young adult movies such as: Clueless, Can’t Hardly Wait, 10 Things I Hate About You, etc. It was an awesome nostalgic way for them to celebrate the release of their new 7 inch vinyl project (“Take It Back,” “Looking For Fun”) on Selfish Agenda Records as well as kick off their tour. This was actually the reasoning for everyone coming together in the first place.
KRP closed out the show with her DJ Moses (Higher Education Records). While Mo got the sound perfected, Kia got the audience warmed up and ready to go. She then graced those in attendance with a little bit of everything from her more laid back cuts such as “Number One,” to her more turn up style tracks such as “Anything.” She concluded her set with her now infamous ‘smoke break’ segment. This gave those in attendance a chance to hear a little something new as well as a chance to participate in her fan favorite anthem “IYaYa.” The crowd hung with her every step of the way and responded quite favorably. From the outside looking in, one could never tell that she was new to the venue or those watching. It was an epic sight to see. It’s safe to say that Kia’s first crossover opportunity was a major success.
What really struck me about this show compared to other shows in Milwaukee was the amount of love, support, and professionalism in the building. Both bands continually shouted Kia out throughout the night. Both bands stayed on deck to catch her set. I believe a member of Dirty Dancing even broke out his camera and got some footage. The audience stayed at the front of the stage and gave Kia their undivided attention. The owner of the venue gave Kia her props. And she was generously compensated for her time and efforts on stage. There was no walking out, people weren’t so caught up in their own egos that they couldn’t enjoy her set, there was no shadiness or drama when it came down to payment, etc. It was just a fun filled smooth evening. That is how all events should be. Looking forward to more experiences like this. Much love to Quarters for the hospitality. And nothing but gratitude to Erin of Winter Bear for making this all possible. Best of luck on the tour. -MinM