Missoula doesn’t get many hip-hop shows. Maybe our rep for being one of the few semi-cool outposts between Seattle and Minneapolis isn’t sufficient incentive for most underground artists from Chicago, Detroit and points east to make the long haul across the prairie, unless they’ve got enough time to swing all the way down the West Coast. The number of mid-sized shows in UM venues like the Copper Commons and the University Center Ballroom also seems to have fallen off in the past few years. Granted, they used to be mostly rock shows, but there’s got to be enough demand to put something in there, right?
At any rate, local promoting outfit Hungis Production Group has had some luck putting a few Missoula hip-hop shows together over the past year—bigger ones, too, with three or four national acts sharing top billing. This week, Hungis is putting on the Urban Architecture 606 Tour, featuring a trio of up-and-comers in the Chicago hip-hop underground plus a special guest.
Typical Cats pack a phalanx of three MCs (Qwel, Denizen Kane and Qwazaar) and a sound that calls to mind the sound of pre sample-clearance hip-hop: simple beats, spare turntable scratches from DJ Natural, vintage funk basslines and looping instrumental tracks lifted right from your parents’ scratchy record collection. The CDR we got of the Typical Cats’ self-titled release on the Galapagos 4 label was burned right off the vinyl, so perhaps some of the hiss and pop was unintentional. Either way, you’re not going to hear me complaining: Surface noise on old vinyl, like optical crackle from old silent movies, is always a real audio turn-on. DJ Natural gets a track or two all to himself on the album, as do Qwazaar and Qwel. Dope highlights: “Reinventing the Wheel;” tinkling piano on “Snake Oil;” the refrain on Qwazaar’s “I Thought You Knew.”
PACIFICS stands for People Accumulating Creative Ideas Foregoing Ignorant Conclusions of Society. This trio of KP the Ilustrado, mr. REXford and DJ Norman Rockwell (you gotta love that!) pushes “uncut ‘go ill’ hip-hop designed to serve the soul and snap the neck” with fun generation-bridging extras like a judiciously-used Vocoder. Laid-back beat science with a blow-‘em-off attitude and a sense of humor. Dope highlight: “Lo-oo-oovin you/Is easy ‘cause you’re booty-ful” falsetto part on “Jabs,” from their debut release, The September First Project: Long Overdue.
Last but not least in the Chicago sweepstakes: Primeridian, touring to support the appropriately-titled LP, I’ll Meet You in Greenwich. The special guest is three-time Scribble Jam (a big-ass DJ competition) champion DJ Presyce. Chi-town represent, y’all.
The Urban Architecture 606 Tour comes to the Ritz Wednesday, July 24 at 9 PM. Cover TBA.