Topaz Tundra showcases local rap talent

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Alex Giroux / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Performances were innovatively spread out between two different sets as Topaz Tundra’s set up was nontraditional. The rappers traded off the microphone at fifteen minute intervals, as the DJs alternated throughout the night.

“This is real intimate and shit,” said Jaca Zulu of Honor Roll Gang as he took the microphone at the beginning of his performance. The lack of stage forced the audience and rappers to come together on one level, which created a casual and personal vibe between artist and listener that was old school in nature.

The Original Saku, originally from Northern Virginia, fit comfortably in with the distinct flavor of the other Tucson rappers. With a sound akin to Childish Gambino, Saku’s lyrics were honest and his flow was steady.

When EFre$h performed, the vibe of the room shifted to a more serious tone as he began to rap about the hard-hitting issues of life such as probation, doing right by his children and racial profiling in Tucson.

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But once Honor Roll Gang grabbed the mic, the energy their presence brought to the room was nothing short of contagious. With strong lyricism and a personality-filled performance, this dynamic threesome grabbed the attention of everyone in the room.

Danny Badio took the atmosphere from a low-key, underground feel to a hyped-up party. By performing a revised rendition of Meek Mill’s “House Party” instead rapping about Pima County, Badio connected with the audience on a local level.

“This is how hip-hop started,” said local artist Cash Lansky, as he looked around at the crowd gathered in a semi-circle around the DJ booth. Arguably the most well-known of acts, Lansky captivated the attention of the audience with his slick lyricism and retro background music.

The showcase was well worth the $5 cover charge. The eclectic mix of acts and atmosphere offered the audience a new musical experience while allowing the local rap scene to collaborate and show their dedication to their making music.

“This didn’t happen overnight,” Lansky said. “There’s a whole bunch of fuckin’ yesterdays that we had to do to get to this point.”


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