This Saturday: Revelry Music and Arts Festival!

With Coachella out of the way, festival season is officially now in full bloom. So, why not kick off your summer with UW Madison’s own premiere music and arts festival–Revelry!

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So why should you go? With five days remaining till the event, here are five reasons why:

1. You’re already a fan of the free shows WUD Music puts on every weekend in the Sett and Rathskeller. But do you realize that Revelry doesn’t last a mere three hours but rather is a rockin’ all-day-and-all-night festival?!**

*12:00PM-10:00PM to be precise

**Who says the party stops at 10? It’s Saturday night people!

2.  Dillon Francis. Waka Flocka Flame. Sky Ferreira. And a sh*t ton of other cool people:

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3… And if you have no idea who any of those people are, you should definitely come because you’ll discover new music! Not to mention you’ll gain some street cred with all the hipsters in your bio class

4.  You’re broke or your friends are too cheap? Student tickets are $5. You paid $250 for Lollapalooza. Do I need to haggle you more?!

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5. If you really need a better reason, then think about how epic it is spending the entire day parting with your fellow badgers?! Food, Music, Drinks, and Art?!

*5.5 And for those of you worried about the chance of rain on Saturday, all I have to say is: 1. It’s April.. 2. Put on your wellies and rain slickers and pretend like you’re at Britain’s coolest festival, Glastonbury (where it rains like every freaking year).

935644_546344705409233_303141046_nWe’ll see you kids this Saturday at Revelry! Get ready to “revel on their level.” More info can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and their site.

 

 

Saturday in Der Rath: No Bird Sing w/ deM atlaS & Max Meridius

No Bird Sing Cover Photo

 

* The start time of this show has been pushed back from 9:30 to 10 PM.*

If you’ve spend any amount of time with me (on the blog or in *GASP* the real, live, actual world), you’ve probably figured out that I’m slightly obsessed with midwest hip-hop. So naturally, this Saturday is an exciting one for me.

No Bird Sing is making their triumphant return to Madison, this time playing at Der Rathskeller after opening for Dessa at the Sett this past fall. They’re a socially conscious hip-hop group consisting of a drummer/producer (Graham O’Brien), a guitarist/producer (Robert Mulrennan), and an emcee (Joe Horton), repping the FIX Artist Collective out of Minneapolis. Most recently, they’ve been on the road with Atmosphere, Strange Famous labelmate Toki Wright, and the newest addition to the Rhymesayers roster, deM atlaS (more on him later), on the Welcome to Minnesota tour, where they got the chance to exhibit their unique style to packed houses across the frozen north.

Their sound, “ranging from stark minimalism to lush expansiveness”, cuts through crowds with an intense, concentrated power that makes people shut up and listen. Their newest album, Definition Sickness, dropped November of this year, featuring guest spots from FIX cohorts (Kristoff Krane), SFR artists (Sage Francis), and other acclaimed Minneapolis musicians (Aby Wolf and Sadistik).

And speaking of acclaimed Minneapolis musicians, deM atlaS. After signing to Rhymesayers this fall and immediately joining the Welcome to Minnesota tour, he’s generated some considerable buzz, and for good reason. After dropping his Charle Brwn EP in early 2013, everyone took notice of his fast paced, wildly energetic delivery and lyrics describing his feelings of kinship with cartoon character Charlie Brown.

UW’s own Max Meridius will open the show up. Check out his newest single, Heir on iTunes, or Olympians, a cut from his upcoming Elysium mixtape, featuring campus favorite CRASHprez.

Call it a brain trust, call it a party, call it a rap show, but whatever you call it, you’re going to want to get to the Ratheksller on Saturday to see of some of the midwest’s best hip-hop. Show starts at 10 PM and as always, IT’S FREE.

If you want monthly updates on FREE live shows in Madison, click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Saturday Night at The Sett: Taylor Bennett w/ Mick Jenkins and Saba

All the press indicates that Taylor Bennett is going to be hip hop’s next big thing (as soon as he graduate high school). And it’s no wonder-this wunderkind is the Chance the Rapper’s younger brother.

While Taylor Bennett’s vocals bear a striking resemblance to the acid rapper, his lyrical themes take on a slightly more aggressive tone. Listen for yourself:

Here are a few things you should know about Taylor:

  • He’s from Chicago, and his older brother Chance helped take care of him for a few years when their father moved to Washington D.C.
  • His mixtape is available for free (click here)
  • He’s releasing a new album later this year called The Taylor Bennett Show.
  • He looks just like Chance: download (2)
  • Of course, he’s listed in the Top 21 Rappers Under 21 list

Mick Jenkins is a fellow Chicago rapper. His music is incredibly raw and lyrical:

His mixtape is also available for free (click here).

Saba is another Chicago rapper, and a member of Chicago rap collective Pivot Gang. He’s also featured on the Chance the Rapper song “Everybody’s Something”:

The show is free, and it’s going to be sick. There’s no reason not to come and party with WUD Music and the next Chicago rap prodigy, Taylor Bennett. The show starts at 9:30. We’ll see you there!

If you want monthly updates on FREE live shows in Madison, click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Sound of the Funky Drummer

Hip-hop owes Clyde Stubblefield a debt of gratitude–as well as millions in royalties.

It all started with a classic James Brown tune, a loose jam that sounded almost impromptu, but given Brown’s infamous perfectionism, was probably very well rehearsed. After a long series of nonsense lyrics and improvisations laid over a smooth, honeydew groove, Brown told his group to “lay out and let the drummer go,” which may have been music’s version of “let there be light.” For a brief moment, it was as if the waters of sound had parted to reveal the pure essence of funk. Even the Godfather himself was in awe. “The name of this tune is the Funky Drummer.”

About two decades later, the sound of the Funky Drummer would reemerge as the backbeat for hip-hop’s golden age. B-boys breaked (broke?) to the beat, MCs freestyled over it, and DJs sampled it over and over and over again. Run-DMC, Public Enemy, Eric B. and Rakim, N.W.A., Biz Markie, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J–the list goes on for miles and includes just about every name in hip-hop’s hall of fame. The Funky Drummer break is one of if not the most sampled beat in music, and one could make the claim that it has been more important to the genre of hip-hop than any rapper or DJ.

But what of the Funky Drummer himself, Clyde Stubblefield? In the 44 years since he laid down his historic beat, Stubblefield has not received a penny from the myriad artists that have profited from it. This is not necessarily a legal matter–as a session drummer, Stubblefield was never entitled to royalties–but it is troubling nonetheless. Stubblefield has now lived in Madison for over 40 years; until recently, he had played weekly shows with his band at the Frequency. In 2009, Stubblefield was hospitalized with kidney failure, forcing him to go on dialysis. Although royalties would help pay his medical bills, Stubblefield has said that the lack of recognition hurts more than the money. One thing is certain: whether it comes in the form of a check or a shout-out, it’s about time that hip-hop gave the drummer some.

Here’s five examples of the Funky Drummer break in action:

“Funky Drummer”

The original James Brown number was first released as a single in 1970, but it wasn’t put on an album until 1986, shortly before it was rediscovered by the hip-hop community.

“South Bronx”

Boogie Down Productions made this foundational diss track as a counter to MC Shan’s “The Bridge.” One of the first of many important hip-hop tracks to employ Stubblefield’s break.

“Lyrics of Fury”

Probably the most conspicuous usage of the Funky Drummer came in this furious battle track from Eric B. and Rakim. The greatest rapper of all time goes toe-to-toe with the beat in a way that only he can.

“Fight the Power”

Chuck D evokes the “sound of the Funky Drummer” right from the start of this iconic track. Public Enemy was possessed by the break, also sampling it on “Bring the Noise” and “Rebel Without a Pause.”

“Mama Said Knock You Out”

LL Cool J’s ferocious don’t-call-it-a-comeback comeback track puts Stubblefield’s break into overdrive. Like Public Enemy, LL utilized the Funky Drummer multiple times; it also features on “The Boomin’ System,” another stellar track from the same album.

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Remember, no matter what genre you’re into, WUD Music has you covered. Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter (@WUDmusic) to stay up to date on all the artists and bands playing the Rathskeller, the Terrace, or the Sett each week.

Saturday in the Sett: Dessa w/ No Bird Sing

Dessa makes her triumphant return to Madison after an album tour that’s brought some of the lowest lows and highest highs of her career.Dessa

When Doomtree emcee and brilliant, whiskey-swigging lyricist Dessa played in Madison last spring, she had yet to release her most recent album. Though that show consisted mostly of well-loved tracks from her previous albums, A Badly Broken Code and Castor, The Twin, the enthusiastic fans in attendance were teased by some new songs as well, leaving everyone with the sense that the upcoming release of Parts of Speech was going to be something special.

And whaddya know, we were right. Since that show, Parts of Speech finally dropped, charted at #72 in the U.S., was universally adored by listeners and reviewers from The Current to The A.V. Club to Mezzic, and the subsequent album tour sold out shows all across the country. Along the way, the crew’s van was robbed in Buffalo, NY and though they lost almost all of their equipment, they promptly experienced an outpouring of monetary support from their fans ($33,000 via Indiegogo in less than a day) to replace everything. And through all of this, they did not miss ONE. SINGLE. SHOW. This woman, this band, is a MACHINE. Check out this video of their one day, statewide tour of Minnesota (that’s four cities in 24 hours, folks), and just try to tell me that you don’t agree.

I don’t think I need to spend much time singing Dessa’s praises in this post (not to mention that I already did enough praise-singing to last us all a lifetime in my post from last April), but I will say this: There are few artists out there right now that work as hard or as passionately or with as much incredible skill as Dessa does. Listening to her music is an experience that affects every fiber of your being because you feel every single ounce of joy and pain that she pours into her music. Her whole ethic is pretty much summed up in this line from the song ‘Fighting Fish’, off of Parts of Speech

I didn’t come looking for love/ I didn’t come to pick a fight/ I come here every night to work/ And you can grab an axe, man, or you can step aside.

No Bird Sing, a trio of artists from the FIX Collective that also hails from Minneapolis, will open the show at 9:30. Weaving intricate guitar melodies and snare hits with stormy lyrics, their brooding, intense sound incorporates elements of rap, punk, and electronic, while still maintaining perfect cohesion. Check out ‘Don’t Think’, off Definition Sickness, which drops on November 12th.

Dessa, No Bird Sing, and the rest of this indie-rap extravaganza wrap up this leg of the tour at the end of the month, so grab an axe (metaphorically, as The Union tends to frown upon real weapons) and join us here on November 2nd. 

The Sett,11/2, 9:30 PM, FREE

Friday Night at Memorial Union: Oddisee w/ Klassik and Coby Ashpis

Tonight (Friday, the 4th of October), we’re featuring an artist that has found their niche.


Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, or Oddisee, as he’s known, just released a new mixtape. It’s called Tangible Dream. About the tracks, Oddisee says, “These rhymes were written in economy class seats, these beats were produced on long bus trips & these songs were recorded in airbnb apartments.”

Oddisee has found success on the fringes. His music has a chill vibe with a very obvious influence from early east coast rappers like Tribe Called Quest.

Check it out for yourself: here’s a stream of his latest work.

We’ll also be featuring some local flavor at the Union tonight.

Klassik, of Milwaukee, perfectly complement’s Oddisee’s chill vibe, bringing his own relaxed and lyrical style to the stage. So grab a pitcher, sip slowly, and nod your head to the hypnotic and trancy bass lines of both rappers.

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But don’t miss the opener. He’s from Madison. Coby Ashpis is his name, and here’s a live video of him:

Saturday Night on the Terrace: El-P and Killer Mike w/ Despot, Kool A.D.

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Tonight, WUD Music is presenting what is arguably the biggest rap show it has ever produced on the Memorial Union Terrace. Rappers El-P and Killer Mike have both gained mad respect over the years in the alternative and dirty south hip-hop scenes, respectively.

El-P is a former member of the underground group Company Flow, has produced music for a plethora of artists, and is the co-founder, owner and CEO of New York record label Definitive Jux.

Killer Mike has been in the game since he met Outkast rapper Big Boi in his college years, and has been on the grind ever since. While releasing six solo albums, he was also featured on a handful of songs in the early 2000s, most notably Outkast’s Grammy-winning single “The Whole World”.

Tonight, these decorated MCs come to you as a newly formed hip-hop duo, Run the Jewels. Their self-titled album can be downloaded for free here, and trust me when I say it is more than worth the time spent to acquire it. Clocking in just under 33 minutes, the duo brings 10 tracks with unique, hard-hitting beats and verses that seem effortlessly crafted. When El-P’s faster staccato bars mix seamlessly with Mike’s smooth dirty south flow, it leaves the listener more than satisfied. But my words alone can’t justify the album. Listen for yourself.

El-P and Killer Mike will be supported by Despot, a New York underground rapper with over a decade of experience, and Kool A.D., a former member of the New York group Das Racist.

Saturday, July 20, 8:00PM, Memorial Union Terrace
Admission: FREE