Back in 2014, Black Collar Biz performed in front of one of the largest crowds I'd ever seen amassed in front of Art All Night - Trenton's main stage. It was dope because I'd just spoken to him a few weeks before the event, and it truly felt like something was about to happen. Collar did it for #TheTown, and it felt like there was a real moment; there's always been a hip-hop scene in Trenton, but I think the combination of the live band element fused with the raw poetry and the neo soul vibes really shifted the focus of the artists in Trenton.
It's been a wild ride for hip-hop at Art All Night - Trenton, and in the city in general, but for those of you looking for a few hip-hop/neo soul vibes at the event, take a glimpse at some of the dope neo soul/hip-hop acts that will be a part of the the three(!) music stages at Art All Night - Trenton this year.
And don't forget, Art All Night - Trenton isn't just about great music—their 10-year anniversary will feature an Iron Pour, live glassblowing, thousands of pieces of art, loads of delicious food, and much, much more. We're talking 24 hours of a great damn time in the city of Trenton. The festivities start at 3PM on June 18, 2016 and roll right through to 3PM on June 19, 2016 (which is Father's Day). I'll be there for at least that long—if you see me there, say whattup!
If you're not up on Lord Gambino, you've been sleeping. I've been seeing him alongside Black Collar Biz over the years, and he's had some track-stealing verses under his belt. While his sound might've been one thing, it's been dope to see Rell spread his wings, which you can hear on this cut "Rotten Apple" from his latest release, Willing.
I feel bad, because Valona Denise has been bubbling in #TheTown over the last few years, both as a solo artist and as a member of the all-female Ill Figures. She rocked at the Soul of the Message show, which is where I really got put onto her, and then saw her a few weeks later at another spot and was just into her flow. She's not afraid to SPIT, but she really infuses the neo soul/black hippie vibes into her music (which are in full display on her 2015 release Rollin' Stoned Chronicles), letting her vocals marinate over a hypnotic selection of beats. Really memorable performances—I'm hoping she has something big up her sleeve.
Back in May, B. DeVinchi got some local press, explaining how tragedy forced him to shift his perspective and takes his music into more of a positive light. It was around this time that I got passed a copy of his latest release, The Journal, Vol. 1. You can hear it in the first track; there's a lit sensibility to the music, but dude's been through some shit and instead of dwelling in a dark, depressed space, he's looking to make a change for himself and for his community. That hip-hop that your grandmother might be getting lit to.
If you hit Art All Day at Artworks Trenton last fall, you definitely saw A Mankind Complex, who was rocking the mic with a small crew outside of the building. It was chilly, but they kept it hot. It's a truly intoxicating blend of hip-hop rhymes and neo soul movements. You can check out his performance in the video above, which includes selections from his latest EP, D.R.E.A.M.S..
Interestingly enough, I believe Liz Cisco has only been getting into the music over the last few years. I'd always personally see her with her camera at different events, including the Jersey Fresh Jam at TerraCycle, but last year she had her own solo set, rhyming over everything from live guitar to dubstep, and it looks like she's firmly putting her foot in the game. Her's will be one of the more left-leaning, rapid fire sets at Art All Night - Trenton.
I can't front; I'm not up on KC Slater & Shy the Duke at ALL, but I love the throwback vibes in their sound. Like, it truly has me reliving my early '90s Walkman days ("still hood with this private school demeanor" is SO ME). From the clip up above, which is from this past May, it looks like they're not afraid to get hype as well.