Midas and Kane | Image by City Paper Digi-Cam
Driving up to Reservoir Hill last Thursday night, I realized that I'd been to my destination before; the John Eager Howard Recreation Center is the practice space for the Dream Nation Marching Band, who I wrote about for a
last year. Now, however, the occasion was a stop on the Go Green Hip-Hop Tour, an environmentally conscious concert event presented by something called
(which, in a fundamental misunderstanding of the whole idea of acronyms, apparently stands for Grassroots Artists MovEment). The evening began with a panel discussion, featuring a mix of experts along with some of the musical performers. And though it probably sounded like a good idea to invite a socially conscious MC such as Kane Mayfield of
to participate, his irreverent sense of humor soon revealed itself, and one wonders if the organizers regretted that decision once he started joking about punching senators in the face.
The performance section of the show featured a mix of native Baltimore acts and visiting New York artists. The first, a Brooklyn rapper named Sav Killz, boasted a long resume of impressive collaborators, but he was less than stunning as a live MC. He frequently lost track of the beat and would play it off by having the DJ cut off the record and doing a verse a cappella. And his mush-mouthed delivery did his lyrics no favors; I listened to an Erick Sermon album earlier that week that was easier to understand than anything Sav Killz rapped while standing just a few feet away from me. The other New York artist, a female singer/poet/rapper named
, was much more of a breath of fresh air with soulful vocals and expressive dance moves. Given that the news of Michael Jackson's death was only a couple hours old at the time, it was genuinely moving when a performer so clearly influenced by him asked for the audience to observe a moment of silence for the king of pop.
When Mania Music Group closed out the show-one-third of the label's core of MCs, Ron G, couldn't be present-Kane and Dappa!!!Dan Midas performed a slightly pared down version of their usual stage show. Midas opened with a few solo songs, but his energy seemed to just keep escalating, to the point that even when it was time for him to play hypeman for Kane's solo tracks, he was practically racing around the room. Kane tried the risky move of pulling a lady from the audience to rap the club track "Headbussa" to, and pulled it off beautifully. When the short set was over, DJ Black Magic threw on DJ Class's "I'm the Ish" to get the dance party started. And we may not have learned much about alternative energy solutions, but at least we had fun.