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Event Recap: “Better Off Independent” by BMW

Look at me, out of the house again at ANOTHER event at the Rex & guess what? It just happens to be a contest! This time out I was at the “Better Off Independent” contest, a few local artists were performing for a chance to win a a performance slot at the “I Heart Music Miama Fest” June 25th as well as a plane ticket to MIA. In addition to that there were some other prizes including a promo package offered by brainofbmw.com.

The Judges where Thelonious Stretch, Aaron Walker, Leonard Hammonds & DJ Big Phil. I like that Scrap moved them to the “VIP” area & didn’t allow outside access to them. I tried to get up there to say what up & just take in the show a bit from their POV & was DENIED hahah I respect it though… My man DJ No Intro held us down all night on the 1s & 2s. I like how fast the contest portion of the event went, sets were over & the next performer was on deck & ready to go the contest ended before 11 if I’m not mistaken. A few things I need to highlight from last night just some quick thoughts

  • Scrap placed the judges in VIP & didn’t allow anyone else to access them was genius move.
  • I like the fact that the winner wasn’t announced until the very end of the show not right when the contest ended.
  • I’m not sure if I was just out of the loop but I feel like no one knew who was in the contest until the night of.
  • I rarely drink when I’m out, but I’ll get Red-Bull MIXED WITH Pineapple Juice as a little boost… 1st drink I ordered the  Bartender understood me I paid $2 the but other one? charged me $7 didn’t mix my drink either, just handed me a full unopened can of Red-Bull & a cup of Pineapple Juice… HUH??? SEVEN DOLLARS Water is all the Rex Theater has for me from now on….

First up was OAX, and I can’t be sure if they were a group named OAX or if the one dude was OAX himself & the other who was the “Hype-less Hype-man” was just that or the Batman to his Robin? They did 3 songs all trap beats one that stood out was “Get EM Outta Here”. I  really enjoyed that song & would love to hear the studio version. OAX wasn’t very impressive overall didn’t engage the crowd, not much energy. they/he didn’t win me over as a fan last night. He did say something about bringing his Pistol On a Party Bus & at the time I thought that was dope. As his set ended someone else commented “Now lets be done with that“. Sheesh…. Following OAX was Mack Breezy, Happless Distinction & J.Bass, none of them really did anything that impressed me, not much notable music came from those 3 sets. I did like the R&B artist that J.Bass brought along with him.

The night sort of shifted when Chris Allen hit the stage, the reigning King Of The Burgh Champion started off going for about 90 seconds acapalla and that immediately set him apart from the previous performers. He continued his set with confidence & energy but he was flying solo this time no hype man or anything. I can’t say that was his very best performance but it was damn good. At the time he walked off stage, I felt it was over & he won BUT like I said I didn’t know who else was performing… Right after Chris Allen came a kid I’ve never heard of before by the name P.O.G., WOW…. His confidence, the lyrics, the content, the passion in his voice were all on point. P.O.G. was at an advantage for me because I had never seen him before like Chris Allen at the last KOTB. This kid is skilled he had some very powerful songs & he really won over the crowd. When HE was done I was like “Welp Chris….. I thought you had it BUT now, not so much”. Again I was sure it was over, also at this point I was pissed I paid that $7 for that NON ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE! So I was ready to go home. But, I stayed & Sean Don took the stage, I really liked the one song he performed “Work” or something like that. The rest of his set wasn’t very impressive, not a great deal of energy, he didn’t engage the crowd or own the stage.

Speaking of owning the stage, right after Sean Don performed came Keystone Kyngs. I’m watching them start their set and the only person on stage is a beautiful young lady doing an interpretive dance. Intially I thought I had never seen anything like this before but a few weeks ago Narue Pearson did something similar. Adding that type of dancer which really fit that song was special & it really stood out. The Keystone Kyngs owned that stage & set the bar sky high with their first song. I wasn’t sure what else they could do but their next song was a real live club song & they brought the party with them! Flanked by 2 beautify ladies posting as “Bottle Girls” in tow with bottles of Ciroc& the  sparklers for added effect. It was clear they came to win. Not only was the performance dope but the songs were amazing as well. There was a point when Dyse forgot his lyrics and he yelled into the mic the entire set. I hold guys like Dyse who has been doing this for a while to a higher standard. So the yelling through the entire set & forgetting some of his own lyrics knocked them down a bit for me. If you are performing for 30 minutes or longer & you forget something no big deal but two songs 8 minutes? With a trip to MIA on the line? You have to be on point at least in my view. When they were done I felt like they were 1 of the top 3 best performances for sure but I don’t think they did enough to win. The final contestant was True Woods, not much was impressive or memorable about True’s performance not that he was horrible or anything there just didn’t seem to be much energy to his set & none of his music really stood out.

The show closed out with performances by SpaceJamJiff, Young Nate, Cory Eaux, Joel Kellem (thats 3 times this month lol) Grimey Click, Fam4Life, Statement Records, Make Em Mad & Scoot Hix. Mista Scrap has an interesting group that he is developing over at Statement Records, Eskimo Joe, Hail Mary to name a few. Also I’m upset that SpaceJamJiff didn’t get a chance perform “Swervin” a very dope song he has with JKJ who was NOT in the building last night. Young Nate was dope that was my first time seeing him perform he had a ton of energy had fun up there & rocked a few songs that I really liked specifically “They Don’t Know” is what I guess its called, that song was fire. Scoot Hix really made my night rocking 2 of my favorite songs “P.O.R.T.” & “I Apologize In Advance“, both songs should be part of your music collection.

Overall “Better Off Independent” was a dope event, I enjoyed the performances & the interaction with new faces  old alike. I respect Mista scrap a great deal because of the adjustments he made based on other recent events that have taken place at the Rex. He brought his own mics, the sound wasn’t an issue at all it wasn’t blaring I didn’t get a headache at any point which is always dope. Add in moving the judges & not allowing access to them until the contest was over were all great moves. I felt like P.O.G. won, and Chris Allen & Keystone Kyngs were right behind him. I look forward to building with every person I met. I had a great evening & I look forward to the P.U.M.A.s this year that seems to be the next big event in terns of local music. Check out the recap video (Don’t judge me my phone ran out of storage after Chris Allen performed so I had to pull a fast one & use Snap Chat to save clips from the show lesson learned)

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9.00 avg. rating (92% score) - 1 vote
"Better Off Independent""King Of the Burgh"Aaron WalkerBMWChris AllenCory EauxDJ Big PhilDJ No IntroeventEvent RecapHappless DistinctionHarley DyseHip HopJBassJoel KellemKeystone KyngsMack BreezyMake Em MadMiamiMista ScrapMusicOAXP.O.G.PittsburghR&BReviewScoot HixSean DonThe Rex Theater

brandonw • June 14, 2015

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