Will the Naptown Hip-Hop Fans Please Stand Up?!
This is not a review. This is a call out.
It is time for the Indianapolis hip-hop fans to come out of the woodwork. Where have y’all been hiding and what have you been doing? Some serious opportunities have been missed in recent weeks and it is raising reason for concern.
On August 30th, I attended Rock the Bells featuring veritable legends Raekwon, Ghostface and Mobb Deep. The Egyptian room was half-empty at best (half-full if you’re into that sorta thing.) The group put on a helluva performance despite the mediocre attendance. It may have gone down as one of the shows of the year had it been held at The Vogue with a near capacity crowd.
The lackluster attendance at the first Rock the Bells installment was followed by a postponement and eventual cancellation of the Mos Def / Talib Kweli Black Star performance. I know this tour struggled across the country, but unfortunately, Indianapolis was no different. Maybe tickets were a tad on the costly side, but we are talking about some of indie hip-hop’s strongest acts.
Last night brought one of underground hip-hop’s hottest up-and-coming acts, Das Racist, to town for the second time this year. The trio played to a sold-out crowd at White Rabbit Cabaret earlier this spring. The stellar performance, followed by unparalleled buzz surrounding their release Relax, prompted last night’s billing at The Vogue in Broad Ripple. Unfortunately, once again, Indianapolis’ hip-hop fan base fell short.
The Das Racist show felt more like a raucous house party than any concert worthy of The Vogue. If you care about hip-hop and would like to see Indianapolis play host to major acts in the future, these recent turnouts should serve as cause for concern. Das Racist will be featured on the cover of next week’s Spin magazine. Collectively, the Rock the Bells crew accounts for some of hip hop’s founding fathers.
If you can’t show up for these shows, what will you show up for? That’s the question I keep asking myself and I can promise that promoters are thinking the same. I hope hip-hop isn’t dead in this region, but attendance proves otherwise. The next time a decent lineup comes to town, get to the box office or we’ll be relegated to a life of Weezy, Jeezy and worse.
Written by Rob Peoni