Whose world is this?

*Pardon my ridiculous pictures. I was debating whether to post them, but I kind of like that the blurriness reflects the dream-like experience I had. Love it!

It should be no secret by now that I love hip hop. Love love love love hip hop. I'm not talkin' your Lil Wayne-Drake-radio hip hop either. I'm talkin' soulful, intellectual and deep hip hop. Depending on who you talk to, you can call it conscious hip hop or if you've found a poophead they might call me a "backpacker." Alls I know is I love me some hip hop.

This past Monday I was at my apartment, chilling out, trying to figure out something to do. Again, as before, I was called to Burro Bar. I'm friends with them on Facebook so when I was diddling around on my phone I saw that they had a show going on, with these guys Louis Logic and Ceschi. I hade never heard of them before, so I looked up Louis Logic. The first video I saw on youtube when I searched his name was a live set he did at StrangeFamous Records. This immediately caught my eye. StrangeFamous is an incredible label out of Rhode Island, home to a few of my very favorite rappers (Sage Francis being the major one and the founder). Corey and I had the pleasure of seeing a spoken word poet from the label by the name of Jared Paul at a club Downtown last year and it was SO good. All of this is to say that by the time I was done reading the title of the video, my mind was made up.

Corey was at work, so I went by myself. Why did I fly solo? Well...I figured that the show was probably gonna run pretty late, and it was a Monday night. Besides that, I haven't really found anyone readily available in my friend group that'sas enthusiastically in love with this music as I am...apart from Corey, obviously. Plus I'm a big girl, dammit, I like to do stuff by my damn self every once in a while! Haha. Anyway, the door time was at 10 and I didn't get there until almost 11...which was fine, since there wasn't any action until about 12. There was a really good DJ though spinning a bunch of awesome music, and I was blissing out between the music and my Duke's beer. The place was empty though. Par for the course for a Monday but I was still kinda surprised.

Empty bar...

DJ doin his damn thing

The DJ, this big hulk of a black gentleman with an epic beard, ended up coming over to me to introduce himself and say hi. It was nice to sit and chat with him, he said he was surprised to see a little white girl all by herself knitting at a hip hop show but he could tell I was a hip hop head since I sang all of the words when he played The What by Biggie. We indulged in the obligatory namedrop conversation ("Could you play some One Be Lo for me?" "Oh, well I mean I have that on vinyl but not here with me" "Well do you have any CunninLynguists?" "Yeah I can get that for you."), it was cool. He shocked the hell out of me when he got back on the decks by playing Only You by Portishead....and singing all of the words to it. The two performers, Louis and Ceschi, came up and introduced themselves to me and said hi too. Man, you just can't beat an intimate show.

So finally, Ceschi gets ready to take the stage. He ended up gathering a few chairs right around the little platform stage and gesturing for me to come sit in front of him. It turns out that I was the ONLY ONE who came to the show, and the only there besides staff and performers. Whoa. So basically these guys performed just for me. It was incredible! Ceschi pulls out a guitar and plops down on the steps right in front of me, and starts singing these incredibly acoustic songs. I was like, hold up I thought this was a hip hop show? And then he started incorporating rapping INTO the acoustic songs, and 3-beers-in-Keri was blown away. He started off with this song, Galapagos, which has these incredible chords and just...oh my gosh. I fell in love.

Blurry love

Ceschi sorta looks like a more attractive Zach Galifianakis, and the intelligence and introspection present in his material just struck every chord in my soul. He asked my name and made a comment about how I was the only one that came out so I must be the coolest mother(expletive deleted) in Jacksonville, and then sang all of the songs to me. He went back and forth between rapping over a beat to doing the acoustic songs on guitar. To make things even better, the DJ bought me another beer to sip on while I watched the show. Be still my heart.

The next act was Louis Logic, and I won't lie. I wasn't really that impressed. I don't have any pictures of him because I spent most of his set wishing Ceschi would come back on...haha. I will say this, there was one really awesome moment where Louis played a single chord on his keyboard, and let it hang in the air, and then sang "whose world is this?" which is of course the first line of a classic song by Nas. All six of us in the audience, in unison, shouted back "It's yours!" and began to sing the entire song. Every single one of us knew every single word, and it was a magical freaking moment. Just beautiful. I was the only girl in a room full of 30-something hip hop devotees, all more than a little buzzed, singing our anthem.

After the show was over, I hung around for a bit to talk to all of the guys and drank on some water before I had to drive home. I ended up talking to the DJ (F. Kyle Marshall, or DJ Chef Rocc) for a good while about the Jacksonville hip hop scene and how I want to dig deeper into it. He seemed like a really cool guy, I look forward to seeing him spin again. I also talked with Ceschi for a bit, and I bought both of the CDs he had for sale. I did a double take in looking at one of them, which features another rapper named Sole. Now, Sole happens to be the founder of Anticon Records, which was elemental in the foundation of a lot of my favorite artists (Slug from Atmosphere being the biggest one). So...pretty much, I stumbled into a concert on a Monday night expecting nothing and I ended up seeing an artist who is connected to every single rapper that I love. Um....sweet! In conversation I mentioned that seeing the name StrangeFamous in connection with Louis Logic is what brought me out, and Ceschi was like "yeah? I just had dinner with Sage three nights ago."

Uh....this is the part where I fall over myself slobbering. I don't know if words can convey how much respect and awe I have for all of these EXTREMELY talented men, they are my role models and my indirect mentors and frankly I was not prepared for this kind of experience. I left shortly after, and once I got home I realized that there are so many questions I had and conversational topics I could have pursued with this powerhouse of an artist... and I basically just choked. I bought the cds, thanked him for being amazing, hugged him, and went home. Doh! Haha oh well. I got home around 1:30 and stayed up until Corey got home so I could tell him about my night...and because I was pretty wired, frankly. Anyway when he got home I told him who I saw, and spelled out Ceschi's name (I wasn't sure how to pronounce it then, I know now that it's CHESS-key). Corey's whole face lit up - "you saw CESCHI?? Keri I've been trying to get you to listen to him forever!" ...haha cue Doh #2... so long story short I didn't get to bed until well after 4am..with work in the morning.

Oh well, man, you're only 22 once.

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