In case you've missed it, the hype behind Southlake rapper Post Malone is totally justified. On Friday night, in spite of the atrocious winter weather, he bookended an off-the-radar hip hop show in Dallas for Atlanta rapper Key! It was, in his own words, just his second performance of his new songs, the only prior such show having taken place in his new home of Los Angeles. Donning all white with an Emmett Smith jersey to boot, Post Malone performed his viral hit "White Iverson" and the criminally overshadowed "That's It." He has an uncanny amount of stage presence and looks as happy as can be, like the Cheshire cat if he was a smoker and a big Cowboys fan.
Hip-hop and the DIY aesthetic are nearly inseparable. Even mainstream artists try to somehow make you believe that they're at once simultaneously grinding away at the teeth with a pioneer spirit and waking up in a new Bugatti. Authenticity. It's kind of like punk that way. Friday night, even when the tundra hit Dallas, Key! drew a large crowd into some dank industrial space that isn't a real venue. It might be somebody's actual home.
Key! was brought here by the Dallas promoters Ca$haveli and Provide the Wave and even had some of Miami's hip hop scene in the building thanks to a collaboration with Apply Pressure. Key! isn't a particularly mainstream artist -- by all accounts, he's a blogstar rapper -- so let me introduce him to you if you aren't familiar. His name is highly ungoogleable: you're best bet is to search the Fatmankey pseudonym. As previously mentioned, he is from Atlanta and first started making waves in that scene with a collective he founded called Two-9, which is under Mike Will Made It's record label in present day. In late 2013, he parted ways with the collective and started to venture out on his own. He was one-third of the party involved in what I believe to be the best song of 2014, "Look At Wrist," and has put in some work with ILoveMakonnen.
Key! sort of embodies the DIY hip hop spirit in its contemporary form: His music is naturally rugged, but has its melodic elements as well. Though he has a thuggish element (face and neck tattoos, songs about the trap, a laid back demeanor), he has embraced the weirdo sensibilities set forth by folks like Kid Cudi. His first song of the night was ".45," a blitz of funky aggression, then headed straight into "Recoup," a song about recouping profits and gaining them from a lost stash. The crowd seemed to be very into the performance, which should be expected; everyone came out in the subarctic The End Is Nigh temperatures to see Key! perform. He simply blazed through his best songs and his fans did the very safe Rap Mosh.
The soulful cut "Va Beach Freestyle" reared its beautiful head, along with the aforementioned Best Song of 2014™, "Look At Wrist." Thankfully, as we do love Key!'s comical stream of conscious, freestyle-esque verse (he says this: "I hurt my fucking wrist, trying to jizz on your bitch.") he let the whole thing play out, because what makes the song truly great is the sum of its parts, the golden trio of Father, ILoveMakonnen, and Key! Also, repeated cries to "free Gucci" were expressed. This is ice cream cone tattooed on the face, Gucci Mane, who should by all accounts probably stay away for a little while if we're keeping it all the 400-percent honest, real and true.
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Key! closed out his set with the most recent song of his to make a splash,"Give Em Hell," which Key! absolutely gave Dallas. He is by no stretch the type of performer that put on an Earth-shatteringly great performance (they are few and far between), but he is a conduit of the energy in his recorded music. Also, hell was given because Key! didn't perform what might be his catchiest song, "Guess Who." He hates it, calls it childish, but it's literally no less childish than the little jizz refrain mentioned above. He's only 23 and already has the Radiohead "Creep" syndrome.
The DIY scene in Dallas is looking quite fruitful these days. Denton breathes it and Vice Palace constantly impresses. However, with people like Ca$haveli, Provide the Wave and happenings like 16Bars.XXX and what happens over at Crown and Harp, the true pioneer spirit of hip hop is shining in this city and getting interesting. Maybe it's time for the old heads talk about the days of Arnetic when this is happening so swiftly and so magnificently.
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