After a hiatus of three years, Dallas promotions collective Nice People last month resurrected Knowledge, its regular series of hip-hop concerts. The first go-round kept the spotlight squarely on Dallas. For this second edition, though, Nice People's reach is extending to bring some Austin musicians to town—though there are still plenty of connections tying the guests to Dallas.
It's a lineup tailor-made for casual fans, people who need to be shown that live hip-hop can be more than rappers rhyming over a CD playing backing tracks. Austin's Bavu Blakes will perform with a live band featuring D-Madness, a self-described "funkstramentalist" who is equally awe-inspiring on drums, bass, guitar, keys, violin and about a dozen other instruments. Blakes will also perform with fellow Austinite Element 7D in the funky, soulful World Trade. Solo, Element often sounds more like a spoken-word artist than an MC, combining the political with the introspective in poetic rhymes over jazz- and Afro-beat-influenced production.
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And the bill also promises "surprise guests." No telling who they will be, though it's probably worth noting that the Garland-born Blakes has collabo'd with several Dallas-area artists, including Headkrack, Strange Fruit Project, PPT and Hydroponic Sound System.