Experienced promoters Tyrone “Ty” Harris and James “Illogik” Townsend (collectively Illuztriouz Entertainment) have resurrected The C.U.T. Showcase. After 10 years away from the business, The C.U.T. comes back to give up and coming artists a shot at getting seen.
On December 18th, Illuztriouz Entertainment lit up Mist Harlem, well known mutli-purpose event space with 18 up and coming unsigned artists; from dancers, to Hip-Hop, to Pop and RnB. It’s clear from the choice of venue alone that it was time these talent curators got back to what they do best.
Mist Harlem, located at 46 W 116th Street is a prime location featuring a bar, restaurant, terrace and “The Studios”, a vast performance space with dining tables, bleacher-style seating surrounding a stage equipped with state-of the art entertainment tech. Modern décor, clean spacious rooms and a unique food and drink menu, Mist Harlem and Illuztriouz Entertainment have created a perfect storm called The C.U.T. Showcase.
Queens Finest, DJ K Swift spins wax, the crowds fill in, young and old alike, as the food and drinks are delivered. Our host with the most, D. Bail (IG: d.bail) takes the stage to bring us into the C.U.T.
A few quick words of thanks to Illogik, Ty and Mist Harlem before bringing out the first act of the night, Energy the Rapper (IG: @energytherapper). Energy, out of Crown Heights, brought his A game with a track about his life coming up in the hood, the crowd was ready for more.
Native One was the next performer up, with vivid imagery and word-play, his first track “Echo” recounted his personal battles with trying to be a good man in the eyes of God despite having a troubled past. His next offering was a prayer for the dead which gave further insight into his journey, the bars “saving lives with hugs and high fives” paints a picture of reform, peace and reverence for his faith. His album ‘And Y’all Thought I Was Dead’ is out on Spotify.
Switching things up, Chyna Doll (@ChynaDoll1) hailing all the way from California grabbed the mic and set the room ablaze with her quick rhymes and colorful style. Her track “Why They Hatin?” is an anthem of self-worth and confidence in the face of adversity, striving for success by any means.
The next, and youngest artists of the night Lil Drippy (IG: @drippyofficial) and Mizzy Mirr (@mizzy_mirr24) redefined the term fresh blood. Lyrically adept, well dressed and freestyling over the beat crafted for Nicki Minaj’s “Chun-Li” it’s easy to see that this is just the beginning of something amazing. The C.U.T. Showcase brought these young upstarts to a packed house and wild applause, not to mention a great chance at networking to find an eventual label.
Optimistic Visions (@reallyoptimistic, @realvisionz), a duo from New Jersey, followed up with a song for the ladies “Prayed for You”, an anthem honoring the strong, influential women in their lives and the way their relationship comes together feels like a prayer answered. A new track, called “Runnin’” discusses the dangers of indulgence, namely drinking too much and driving.
Rah Cashiano, in from Brooklyn came in after with a harder edge, in the vein of Run The Jewels and Lil Ugly Mane, preforming ‘Bandz’, ‘Juicebox’, and ‘Itchy Fingers’. ‘Bandz’ gives us a look at the hustle life, doing anything necessary to get more money. ‘Itchy Fingers’ follows a similar vibe, with a dark brooding beat that draws you closer, deeper into the mind frame.
All the way from Canarsie, Wisconsin, Tony Parker Jr. (Big Fence Division), decked out in a happy yellow, lightened the mood with a calm call to action. “I can’t sleep right now, I gotta wake up…” he croons “turn dreams into reality, I can rest later…” The passion in his soothing voice delivers a message of hard work, but at a steady, livable pace.
Jordon Edward from Springfield, MA, took the mic next, and with it gave the gift of a touching story about his grandfather and the valuable lessons he’d learned from the man. Easy things are hard to do, but time isn’t on our side and we should do our best to succeed. Edward spoke of his battle with self-esteem and his struggle with suicidal thoughts before getting into a much more life affirming performance of several new tracks from his album ‘Zone Remix’ and a new track entitled Indigo that drops on 12/30. His music and info can be found at: jordonedward.com
‘Married 2 tha Music’ followed Edward up with not only a track from Sip tha God (IG: @SipthaGod) but three dances set to Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars. Ms. D spoke about her involvement in ‘The Last Days of Jam Master Jay’, a documentary looking into the circumstances of his murder in 2002 and to plug her show ‘Where is the Music?’
Lady Blunt pulled us from the past into the present with a glimpse of the future with her minimal-glitchy beats, her take on modern loving in ‘Screensaver’, and a boastful track detailing the ways that she’s better than other women in ‘I’m Better’. A true highlight in the line-up with a unique twist on the standard themes.
Show-stopper, Atlantic City native and card-featured Ms. Shica (Rockboy Records, @ms_shica) brought the house down with her new single ‘Boss Lady’ (produced by D R Period) and ‘Bitcoin’. D R Period has served as producer of acts such as Nas, Remy Ma, and Papoose. D R himself appeared as her set closed to deliver an important message to not forget God when times are both easy and rough, and to remain grounded in life with God above. More information and tracks by Ms. Shica can be found at Ms_shica.com.
L. Dot (@LDot_Frm_Da_Sec on soundcloud) followed with two tracks off of his ‘Other Side of Me EP’, ‘Ride For You’, a track of loyalty and ‘Go Get It’, bringing the energy to an even high plateau in the packed space.
BR decided to choose The C.U.T. Showcase as his first ever time rapping for an audience, at just 19 years old, BR spit rhymes about his pride and ambitions as a young Black man in America, as well as the times where he finds himself a moment to relax and take life as it comes in his track ‘Ride and Roll It’.
Karell (IG:@wtfkarell) is a hard-working, well-experienced rapper who has had his share of struggle and strife, but remains determined to ‘wake up and get this paper’ overcoming his bout with addiction and suicide to see the brighter side of a life well lived.
Rob Spaz brought his ‘Chance the Rapper’ energy into the C.U.T. with tracks about accountability, trust, and good freaky girls. His album ‘Time I Been Waiting For’ can be found on Spotify.
20 Bello, from DC, a C.U.T. original returned to the return with a story of personal struggle and success, putting a call out to put some hands up for the lost ones, honoring those who have passed on from us or have lost their way in life.
Brooklyn native Prime Time (IG: @prime_the_mvp) took up the mic next and dropped ‘At It’s Finest’, a track about his tumultuous relationship, a cool, collected track that is in opposition with it’s deeper and harder-hitting themes.
Closing out the first of what are sure to be many C.U.T. Showcase events, Yung Gemini (IG: @yunggemini) and his track ‘Bout to Explode’.
Sponsors and media presence include Streetwise Radio, Def Jam France, Sony, Ms. Deborah CoCo of ‘Just Give Me the Mic’, Lord Kaos of Uptown Anthem Radio (IG: @lord_kaos_) and Mr. David Bolds of ‘The Art of Rap’ both a documentary and a new platform for old school artists. Mr. Bolds announced he’d be keeping an eye out for fresh talent to open up at Art of Rap events. Having worked with the likes of Ice-T, Mickey Benson, Big Pun and Fat Joe should be enough credit to reveal how valuable the chance to work with ‘The Art of Rap’ could really be for a young, hungry artist.
Ultimately, the return of ‘The C.U.T. Showcase’ was a triumphant one. Tyrone ‘Ty’ Harris (@tyharrisjr) and James ‘Illogik’ Townsend (@illogikill) clearly put their minds to the collection and curation of such a vast array of artists that span genre, topic and content in order to best fill out what was a well-rounded bill of stellar up-and-coming talent. Artist’s gotta eat too, so give ‘em a C.U.T., come check out the next Showcase, slated for January 15th, 2019.