ILLuztriouz Entertainment (IG: @ILLUZTRIOUZ_ENTERTAINMENT), Tyrone “Ty” Harris and James “Illogik” Townsend lit up Mist Harlem once again with another installment of the legendary C.U.T. Showcase, sponsored by The Grynd Report.
Around 9 PM on 116th St, Mist Harlem was filled with an eager audience as host Jason Bourne (of DTM Radio) took the stage to give some quick shout outs to main sponsors Uptown Anthem Radio, The Loud Library, and Good Media before introducing our opener, Energy the Rapper (IG: @energytherapper).
Energy gave us a taste of his new single, “Bossed Out” which can be heard on iTunes now, mixing it up with a fresh, calypso beat Energy went into “Vibe with Me”, the short but attention grabbing start set the mood for a night of genre spanning, crowd engaging performances. Energy the Rapper has two singles in rotation that can be heard on 91.9 FM.
Seratone (IG: @Seratone_13) took the stage next to settle things down and get us in the mood for lovin’ with a song, and a question. “Whatchu Gotta Say?” is a chill, romantic R&B track that promotes openness and honesty in a relationship, with an assurance of attention and understanding. Gentle vocals round out the sound as Seratone serenaded, leading us into his next track asking his lady to ‘call me on my cellular’, a similar chilled vibe, this time backed by a deeper bass, mellow guitars, with sampling of phone chirps and a clip from popular television show “The Simpsons”.
In a stellar, stand out premiere performance for the C.U.T. Showcase, Stephanie Luv (IG: @IAmStephanieLuv) got soulful and brought us “Misunderstood”, a fluttering, slow beat only accentuated the emotion she set forth in her yearning vocals. Steph closed out her all too brief set with the house-shattering “Who’s Guna?”. This song was not only full of love, and longing the hook inspired just about the entire audience into a call and response that elevated the entire production, Stephanie Luv is one to watch out for, she’s going places, starting from The C.U.T.
J Sol (www.jsol-radio.com) followed up representing Endless Work Radio with a positive message to “Start where you are and use what you have to do what you can”. The duo broke into a reggae-flavored hip-hop track detailing the hard work they put into their craft and pride in their African heritage. “This is Hip-Hop” was their next track that broke down the very concept itself, more than a music genre, J Sol view Hip-Hop as a pattern of speech, much like a country or regional dialect. This is a truth often lost or glossed over by artists and it was refreshing to see it represented with such clarity.
Sip tha God (IG: @sipthagod, MGMT: Married 2 tha Music) set the crowd on fire with his single “Runnin the Bands”. Spit-fire speedy rhythm delivery about hustling and working hard for his money, Sip the God took a chilly sparse beat and turned it into a scorcher. Leaving the stage was met with shouts to DJ K Swift to run the track back so he could light us up one more time. Sip left us hanging, saving his energy for the next C.U.T.
20 Bello brought his tales of trials and tribulations, rapping about his life of crime as a young man, doing what he could to survive, all the while believing God above would protect and save him from his damage. “Hard Times” gave us insight into more of his struggle, touching on contemplation of suicide before letting it go, the haunting electric beat over a deep bass drum fills out the heavy but ultimately positive track, landing on the notion that he is ‘here for a reason’. Taking a hard left turn, 20 Bello left them laughing with his track detailing his troubles with certain types of women.
Traffik (IG: fly_high_e) came in from Newark, after struggling with some traffic, and gave us his single “Drip” featuring twinkly, icy guitars with a fresh near mumble rap appeal.
Married 2 tha Music came back with a tighter group, Ms. Dee and two others dazzled the crowd with dance routines to Michael Jackson’s ‘Blue Gangsta’, ‘Made for Now’ by Janet Jackson and Daddy Yankee closing out with a jittery performance to the ‘Finesse’ remix by Bruno Mars and Cardi B. Ms. Dee is still on the look out for cameos to be in her upcoming documentary ‘The Last Days of Jam Master Jay’.
Partii, hailing from Rockaway Bay brought brooding beats with chittering high hats and thoughts of money on his mind, equating money and sex to soul food, nurturing and wholesome. Partii closed out his set with an invitation to ‘live, party, die’, a slow piano-tinged beat with a positive message to live life to its fullest.
JV Hendrix from Furlough came up next in his mask and bullet proof vest, giving us a look into his life writing raps in his jail cell. In “Rest In Peace”, Hendrix opens a dark portal into his life and his passion, going so far as to say “I got this [hip-hop] in my blood, let it flow on the beat” a graphic depiction of just how determined he is to make it in the rap game in spite of his situation. He asks the crowd to ‘look at his mask and understand what it means”, a call to action to recognize that even though he needs to live in the shadows, he is still able to pursue his calling. Closing out, he left with a personal anthem, crying out “Live Hendrix”.
Choice (@yachoice) from New Jersey asked us to heed his warning and watch out for the wrong sort of selfish partner on his track “Sex Toy”, following up with a softer track of love calling out to a lover, telling her she needs a “Real Man” and how she should be with someone who can work hard and provide a better life for both. “Real Man” can be found on YouTube for your listening pleasure.
Haze Hefner came with a message that “God is Love”, a close relationship with the Lord is an important one, but the relationship one might find with a music label is probably unnecessary. On “No Deal” Haze lays out his plan to remain an independent artist, keeping away from the machine of the music industry.
Our final act of the evening came from DeFrayo (IG: @jerseyboy_frayo) with a whimsical track entitled “Cotton Candy” referring to the odd color that new ‘pink fifties’ and ‘blue hundreds’ have, and how to make more “Cotton Candy”, a metaphorical look into the hustle flow.
Other sponsors for this edition of the C.U.T. Showcase include Artists on the Rise, Mr. David Boles, and Shah Cypha of The Grynd Report.
Artists gotta eat too, give ‘em a C.U.T. at the next C.U.T. Showcase at Mist Harlem on February 19, 2019.
By Anthony Wetmore