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On an average hip-hop night at Manhattan’s SOBs, you may be able to come across one of your favorite mainstream artists, or uncover a new favorite from the underground. Last night, (May 27) was special not only because it was the release party for Skyzoo and Torae’s Barrel Brothers album, but also because it was time for New Yorkers to support local talent.
An intimate yet diverse crowd gathered to support, but seemed distracted and disinterested in most of the opening acts. DJ Prince didn’t let the crowd’s energy stop him from delivering in his opening performance. But even though he had the support of his entire Mobile Kitchen Crew on stage with him, Prince’s performance lacked the luster and wow factor needed to catch the crowd’s attention. The other opening acts—Maffew Ragazino, Bklyn Stick-Up and Livin’ Proof—delivered the crowd the authentic hip-hop sound they wanted, but the performances still lacked the enthusiasm needed to hold the audiences attention.
By the time Skyzoo and Torae finally hit the stage, the crowd had moved closer, and you could tell they were on edge. The two came out packing a raw and unfiltered energy with a side of lyrical proficiency that is expected from any New York artist. Their boom bap samples and bass-driven beats perked the crowd up immediately, as they paid homage to their brand of hip-hop culture. You could tell instantaneously the real reason the crowd showed up.
Accusing other artists of buying spins and kissing up to radio executives, Skyzoo and Torae constantly remind you of the demand and pressure for New York music to be played on local radio stations. Overall, the release party was a reflection of the Barrel Brothers album; while it was consistent in style and genuine to Brooklyn’s core sound, truth be told, the show lacked luster and distinction. —Tennelle Swan
Previously: Skyzoo & Torae Talk About Why Unity In New York Hip-Hop Is Needed
Review: Skyzoo & Torae Fit The Mold Of Other New York Albums In Barrel Brothers
Watch Skyzoo & Torae’s “Blue Yankee Fitted” Video