Ebony Tusks, Heartfelt Anarchy, and DEV3N Free Show
This Sunday, Ebony Tusks, Heartfelt Anarchy and DEV3N will put on a free show at recordBar. Considering all these acts make music as heavy and honest as the most polished acts today, the ability to see them on all on the same bill is something like a dream. That the show is free only sweetens the deal.
All three acts feature bass heavy instrumentation that runs the gamut from lush, hyper-produced soundscapes to minimal beats reminiscent of the early days of hip hop. All three acts feature rappers that can flow throw the most dense tracks and lyrically skip through musical rests. That said, beyond broad strokes, these three musicians each inhabit a style wholly their own. From brash and energetic to cool and tense, to subtle and reflective, Ebony Tusks, Heartfelt Anarchy, and DEV3N exhibit all the best parts of hip hop.
DEV3N, in his duo Dotzilla, is smooth. His lyrics are characterized by deadpan delivery and ever-complicating narratives. His 12 track album, EQUALITY, starts well and gets better and better with each track. Fitting somewhere between Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar, DEV3N can shift from taking on overarching systems of oppression to dealing with the ever-changing landscapes of personal relationships with ease. The rapper’s ability to give equal attention to the large and small scale gives his songs an innate tension. Listening to DEV3N is to listen to a man navigate the intersections of public and personal turmoil. But it’s not all conceptual. From the beats to the vocal melodies, the rapper makes songs that are catchy as all get.
Heartfelt Anarchy seems to move in the opposite direction. The duo is bold and outgoing. Deadpan doesn’t have a place in their songs. Every syllable has a passion to it that is impossible to deny. Every lyric carries with it a heft that is exponentially increased by the beats that back the words. Combining tense and circling song structures with concise and taut lyrics, Heartfelt Anarchy makes music that hits immediately and stays with its listeners for days. And on stage, the musicians give their music a physical presence that infuses their songs with even more energy. As the below video shows, the duo has a passion that is barely containable. Seeing them on stage is a must for any hip hop fan or any Kansas Citian.
Ebony Tusks split the difference between Death Grips’ noise laced beats and Snoop Dogg’s lyrical smoothness. The Lawrence based trio lets their beats hit hard and their lyrics spin through their jaw gymnastics. Very rarely do I think the term “wordsmith” is applicable, but listening to Ebony Tusks it seems appropriate. Martinez Hillard ability to weave into his lyrics recurring images, subtle progressions, and truncated associations allows him to surprise his listeners any time he takes the mic. Coupling this ability with a live show that hits hard and never stops, Ebony Tusks creates music and a stage show that slugs its way into your chest and stays there for as long as it wants.
The show starts at 7:30pm, is 18+, and costs nothing. With a bill this great, this is definitely a show to see.