East Atlanta witnessed history last Thursday with an impressive line-up of hip-hop wizards and DJ virtuosos. Even though ominous storms raged throughout the metro Atlanta area, that did not stop hundreds of fans from packing into The Basement, a cozy subterranean venue located below The Graveyard Tavern, for a rollicking night of lights and music.
As I walked in, Goldyard was beginning their set. This hip hop trio, composed of two MC’s and a gorilla-mask wearing DJ, were high energy from start to finish. Their lively set reminded me of a young Beastie Boys as they turned the whole room into a raging house party. The production was a unique blend of hip hop and electronic dance sounds, and the two MC’s turned many heads with their impressive raps and an aggressive stage presence. My favorite song they performed was their closer, “They’re Making Too Much Noise”, which they carried out with a fiery intensity. As it stands now, Goldyard truly must be ‘the best intergalactic rap supergroup you’ve never heard of’.
After their set, not a moment was wasted as Blkkmorris took the stage and warmed up the crowd with an electrified DJ set that turned the room up to 11. From trap rap to disco, Blkkmorris deftly moved through a wide variety of remixed and pitch-shifted songs, and he seemed to be partial to some old school R&B cuts, which pleased the crowd greatly. Everyone was in a sweat-crazed frenzy by the end of his performance, which perfectly set us up for the night’s headliner: AraabMUZIK.
His real name is Abraham Orellana, but his fans know him as AraabMUZIK. He is of Dominican and Guatemalan descent, and believe me when I tell you he is a DJ that you must see to believe. AraabMUZIK’s secret weapon, that sets him on a level above other DJ’s, is his ability to play an MPC drum pad in order to simultaneously play every rhythm and sample live before your very eyes. For example, if he were to play the “A Milli” beat, each button on the MPC pad would be set to play a sample from the song, and this includes each individual rhythmic sample as well. So instead of a DJ just hitting play and mixing songs together, you get every single sound existing within a song activated for you in real time. Needless to say, as soon as AraabMUZIK began his set, the crowd went wild.
Even though I knew what I was witnessing, there were moments where I still could not believe my eyes. His digital dexterity is lightning fast, and almost every picture I took of his fingers were blurry, even with my shutter speed set at 250. While the entire set was amazing, my favorite moment was his recreation of Flux Pavillion’s “I Can’t Stop“, which then segued into an breakaway dubstep freak-out that sent the crowd into hysteria. AraabMUZIK gave me a night I won’t forget, and I recommend everyone to catch him live. He will be at Bonnaroo… It would be ill-advised for you to miss that set!