Dear hip-hop, the hipsters aren’t faking the funk anymore. They’re creating it. On a somewhat dreary night in New York, three of underground music’s hottest acts turned out to lower Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom to provide an excellent show for an eclectic and intimate crowd. Together, The Internet, Kilo Kish, and Phony PPL showcased hip-hop’s newest alternative sound.
Brooklyn Youngn’s Phony Ppl woke the restless crowd, with gems from their own EP sprinkled with tidbits of other records. The nine-man collective gets better each time they perform. Not only did they exude a family vibe on stage, but every member felt like a frontman, confident with what they brought to the table. One part Nirvana-esque teen spirit, a dose of New Edition plus a touch of The Roots and you have Phony PPl. They were like an iPod on shuffle playlists, transitioning from genre to genre seamlessly.
Kilo Kish followed Phony’s electric performance. Outfitted in a sheer floral blouse, matching shorts and white converse sneakers, she comes off as half sexy, half tomboy easily making a room full of teenage boys foam at the mouth. If anything, it’s reminiscent of an early Kelis and an easygoing M.I.A. She remained mildly entertaining, passing out Tootsie Roll lollipops to the crowd: “These are all the shitty flavors.” Kish passed the mic to members of the crowd, letting them speak random words to their hearts content and she brought out Brooklyn-Psychedelic duo Flatbush Zombies, who provided some much needed energy. Juice, The guy with the brightly dyed hair and the gnarly beard, turned it up a notch, passionately spitting his verse from their collaborative track, “Jupiter Sound,” off the Zombies debut, D.R.U.G.S. While evoking innocence and fun, Kish’s lyrics give way to much more deep subject matter. Wrapping up her second to last song she told the crowd, “That song was about my ex-boyfriend. Fuck that dude.”
Close to the end of the show, the eager crowd bunched together to hear a closing set from headlining act, The Internet. Powered by the release of their debut album, Purple Naked Ladies, they were able to make a small dent in the music world, proving Odd Future is more than just a rebellious clique of LA loiterers. “Tyler made this beat in 2008. It’s timeless music,” Syd said confidently referring to “Live it Up.” It’s true, Purple Naked Ladies feels like it’ll stand the test of time, bookmarking a resurgence of bohemian culture in today’s youth. Middling their set, Taylor Walker, who sings vocals on “They Say,” gave a riveting performance of his song “Karma,” a soulful tune about a relationship gone awry.
Syd and Matt The Martian referenced their Odd Future friends for much of the set, giving props to their music family. As they performed the single “Cocaine/Tevie” Syd shouted out member Left Brain, who actually gave them their stage name, The Internet. “I wish Left Brain was here man,” she said reluctantly. “Why don’t y’all sing his part.” The already entranced crowd responded as she pointed the mic toward them. “ I’m high on coke! She high on coke!”
All of these acts maintain remnants of hip-hop’s past, but help define the culture’s future. Their stances on love, weed, and relationships are for the forward minded. Ushering in a new era, these kids are creating the music that our legends used to create at will, but are now too old to re-invent. Hopefully, the mainstream will catch on fast and start letting these newbies define a generation, as they should.
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