Ali McGhee is a journalist, creative writer, and academic. Her work has appeared in The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Romantic Circles, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary...
This Friday, several members of Asheville's hip-hop community will come together to throw a show highlighting local talent. The night will feature rhymes and beats from P.T.P. (Peter The Poet), SIYAH, SK, the Novelist, Mike L!VE of Free The Optimus, and Ziggz. The evening is free and begins at 9 pm at Static Age Records in downtown Asheville.
The show is also a celebration for P.T.P. and SIYAH, who have recently released new albums. P.T.P.'s record, BITTER, dropped back in October, and SIYAH's Steadfast was just released as of last Saturday. We checked out both albums and are thrilled for this showcase.
SIYAH Journeys Into the Darkness
SIYAH just dropped his new EP, Steadfast, this past Saturday on 11/11. It's his second, and it charts the continued evolution of this remarkable young artist. The first track, "On Fire," produced by RUEN, opens with a darker sound than SIYAH fans may be expecting based on the artist's earlier work. SIYAH has always been known for his conscious hip hop, and this song doesn't stray from that, but it also embraces the chaotic movement and call to action many people are experiencing at this time. "I rebuke all evil," says SIYAH, "The earth is my turf and we're all one people." It's a hopeful message grounded in the recognition of the uncertainty tomorrow might bring to the world.
The album is shot through with this darker tone, and it highlights the diversity of SIYAH's style and his writing. My favorite track might be "Night Ride," produced by Asheville's own Spaceman Jones. "These days seem darker than before," SIYAH says over the rumbling of an engine starting. Spaceman's beat brings this song to the next level, with equal parts bright rhythms and glimmering sounds from a science fiction universe. It's a vulnerable song that reflects on personal and familial suffering, privilege, and oppression.
The record brings in lots of local folks, from Spaceman to Kingdom Kome and Stephanie Morgan. The EP ends by moving away from the darkness and into the light of faith with the title track, though even there SIYAH doesn't shy away from subjects like racism and corruption. The world "feels like a prison, depending on how you see through the prism," but he vows to still "[reach] for widsom." Steadfast is a remarkable album from a hip-hop artist who just keeps getting better.
Check out the full EP here.
P.T.P. Steps Into the Flow
Peter the Poet (P.T.P.) dropped the full-length BITTER, an album that highlights the Asheville artist's strong lyricism and easy poetic stylings, a few months back. The production and beats on this album are especially strong, and have a mellow, earthy quality that balances P.T.P.'s verbal acrobatics. Another strength is P.T.P.'s incorporation of singing with his rhymes. His distinctive voice, with its deep timbre, adds another element to the music. "I ain't sayin' I'm a quitter, but that don't mean that this don't taste bitter," he sings in the title track, drawing us in with a mellifluous invitation to keep listening—and pay attention to the wisdom he's offering.
P.T.P. features some local talent on the record, including SK the Novelist, on the song "River," and Mike L!ve (of Free The Optimus) and Ziggz, on "Cranium." These collaborative tracks highlight Asheville's talented hip-hop community while bringing more depth and perspective to the tracks.
Check out Bitter here.
If you're digging these sounds at all, you'd better get to Static Age (110 N. Lexington Ave.) this Friday and see some of Asheville's best and freshest hip-hop talent perform. Things kick off at 9 p.m.
Facebook event page here.