On January 24th, the ultimate hip hop experience came through the Van Buren of Downtown Phoenix. Old school rap inspired duo Earthgang rolled to stage in the same clothes in which they have traveled, and sprinkled their contagious positivity throughout the crowd.
Hailing from Alabama and raised in Chicago…
MC / poet Mick Jenkins warmed up the crowd with socially intelligent lyricism over tranquil beats. Mellow rhythms layered beneath a delivery of selfless verses, pulling enthralled cheers from the audience.
Mick Jenkins has a molasses-like enunciation—the utmost satisfying when paired with his jazz-influenced tracks. The well-rounded rapper seemed to emit a sense of comfort throughout the crowd, just in time to get hyped up again.
Lights dimmed down, and Atlanta’s hip-hop duo came to stage bearing a zestful energy. Olu and WowGr8 compliment another’s vocals; They bounced off one another throughout the night. Splitting the stage just to come back and vibe together, Olu and WowGr8 pushed fans to dance, cheer, sing along, and raise their hands.
During mini interludes, the two chatted about their travels, creating a more personable relationship with the crowd, rather than simply performing for an audience. It was almost like advertisements for a podcast between their performed songs.
Olu (Johnny Venus) and WowGr8 (Doctur Dot) paired up in 2009 and released their initial EP, The Better Party, in 2010. Multiple releases followed up to presenting the label debut album, Shallow Graves for Toys. Earthgang had compiled a foundation of beaming music with favorable reviews.
The pair continued to extend their audience while touring North America and featuring artists like Mac Miller, T-Pain, and Young Thug. Signed to J. Cole’s label in 2018, the Atlanta-based rappers carry on with a massive fan base behind them. The Van Buren was packed to the edges in turn of a sold out show.
Fans went wilding on with each track, rapping the words they knew and pumping fists towards the sky. Earthgang maintained high energy in accompany with a nearly flawless set.
During their performance of “This Side,” Earthgang smoothly transitioned from one of their interludes, split the crowd and conducted our alternating cheers. Throughout the night we were directed to chant “Earthgang, Earthgang!” as air horns followed suit.
This paired performance was as purifying as it was impressive. Dancing and singing, with anyone in the crowd, was made easy by continuous personable interactions from Olu and WowGr8 throughout their set.
If you need to escape reality for just a few hours, free yourself of worry, or simply interested in diving head-first into a cathartic musical experience, find tickets to an Earthgang show near you.