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Hip-Hop Is Finally Thriving in Nashville

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When I first moved to Nashville a couple years ago, there was hardly a sign of hip-hop culture in sight compared to growing up in Atlanta and Miami. Honkey tonks, boot scootin’, Bud light, and Luke Bryan seemed to have a complete grasp over Tennessee’s capitol, Nashville. Yet, Saturday night (17 August), Redbull and Clean Boy Promotion’s latest event “The Underflow” fully endorsed the hip-hop’s footprint, which has been growing rapidly, throughout the city in recent years. The Underflow featured 11 local artists: Tay Keith, Daisha McBride, Bryant Taylorr, The Blackson, Jamiah Hudson, Brian Brown, Tim Gent, Petty, YGTUT, and Trapperman Dale – highlighting the best acts Nashville has to offer, and the lineup was absolutely stacked with talent.

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Opening up the doors and the party was DJ NESH! Who else to get the party started, other than Nashville’s very own r&b curator? Having gained his reputation for performing frequently, spinning strictly bangers across the hip-hop spectrum, and fresh style, it only seemed right for Nesh to warm up the room for the acts to follow.

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What I love about seeing Nesh spin is how he isn’t afraid to drop something you might not know, but definitely rides. He’s definitely good for spinning the tracks you want to hear, but also the tracks you don’t know you want to hear… yet. Performing alongside Nesh was Atlanta’s very own Shady Chris.

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As the two usually can be seen performing together, Shady Chris provided a familiar, energetic presence to the room as he’s one of the most well-known hosts in Nashville. While controlling the energy in the room effortlessly, Chris definitely provided an additional rockstar energy to Nesh’s bumpin’ stage.

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Although women’s presence in hip-hop is limited, Daisha McBride’s was NOT at The Underflow. Giving herself the title @the_rapgirl via Instagram, the name certainly caught on as she as known as THE girl rapper throughout the Ville. Ready to protect and prove her title, Daisha brought an incredibly vibrant performance to Redbull’s stage with profound lyrics, banging beats, and a surplus of stage presence.

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Daisha was also responsible for curating one of the most heart-felt moments throughout the night. Calling for the audience to put up their cell phone lights, a light show was created to accompany her performance of her track “If You Really Knew Me”. Introducing the song as the lights went up, Daisha spoke about the importance of maintaining and protecting your mental health and the struggles of anxiety.

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While these topics are not completely foreign to hip-hop, they aren’t broadcasted as often in the mainstream light. The performance and audience lit up the venue to provide a welcome coping space for a moment before returning to the booming energy of the night.

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As the energy had been building all night for Tay Keith’s performance, the energy popped off a bit early leading up to his set. Trapperman Dale provided the surprise of the night, bringing out the one and only Starlito to perform their collab “See Me Sweat“. The crowd lost it and cheered loudly, highly praising the joint performance.

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Closing out the night, Tay Keith took the stage. Being the headliner of the sold out show, everyone knows when Tay Keith is pulling up to a function. He’s become a local mogul to hip-hop artists throughout Nashville having created several platinum worthy, chart topping tracks before even graduating from college. Most well known for his work on Travis Scott’s 2018 song of the summer “Sicko Mode”, he’s continued to create star-spangled bangers for artists such as Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Drake, and probably any other house-hold name you can list off the top of your head that’s released a song within the past year.

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Coverage by Alexandra Cole

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