Stone Mecca is brimming with creative energy as he assembles his band for rehearsal at an unremarkable shopping-center studio in Northwest Dallas. The chemistry is immediately apparent between Mecca, Rakim Al-Jabbaar and DQ Hampton, two prominent Dallas hip-hop artists he has chosen to join him as opening acts at the Wu-Tang Clan concert this Friday, Oct. 4, at The Bomb Factory.
The other musicians in attendance include Alex Blair on background vocals and keyboard, JScott on bass, Dandy on the bongos and Valenti Funk on drums and keys — each is from North Texas. Stone Mecca stands central to them all, akin to DFW International Airport at the core of greater Dallas, bringing in newcomers from around the world to revel in the cultural mashup that rings from our corner of Texas. Mecca orchestrates the rehearsal with the unfailing precision of an air-traffic controller. The production he’s assembled is sure to leave everyone in attendance with the knowledge that Dallas musicians are a force to be reckoned with.
“I like to give a show and make people feel good,” Mecca says, evoking the power of live music. “People work hard, and when they go somewhere, they want to be entertained and leave there feeling like ‘Wow.’ You know, if they paid money for it, you want it to be worth it. So my main focus is to make sure they get that.”
Mecca has made a name for himself as one of Dallas’ top artists. He is respected nationally in the genres of hip-hop, R&B, soul, funk, blues and rock, as a performer and producer. He’s worked with notable hip-hop legends such as Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and Eazy-E, but his friendship and collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA, have been most beneficial to his career, and now Mecca is in a position to use that connection to benefit the careers of up-and-comers like Al-Jabbaar and Hampton.
Mecca recently returned to Dallas from the second stint of his tour for Alienman, his first fully solo album.
In a November 2018 interview with the Dallas Observer, he commented on the inspiration behind his first solo effort being a song recorded by his 5-year-old son that opens the EP, in which the remarkably bright youngster sings, “You been trapped in your brain. / You been trapped in your brain for your life. / You gotta get out there. / You gotta get out there / to go somewhere in life.”
“That convicted me,” Mecca says, reflecting on the push that his son’s words gave him, the one he needed to make the moves he’d been orchestrating internally his entire life. “We all wanna do stuff on our own but have fear or are busy, but he told me we’ve been trapped in our brains our whole life and we gotta get out there. I had to listen to him.”
And he was right for doing so. After a successful bi-coastal U.S. tour, Mecca will be gracing stages across Texas to open for one of his most successful allies. Throughout his solo endeavor, the artist has remained in close collaboration with RZA and the members of Wu Tang Clan, and he’s joining them on their tour, opening for each of Wu-Tang's four Texas shows. After the Texas leg of the tour kicks off with Friday's show at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, the bands will travel to San Antonio, Houston and Austin to close the first weekend of Austin City Limits.
Perhaps the most notable attribute that Mecca will carry with him on his tour with Wu Tang is the essence of Dallas itself. Not only are his four band members local to our city, but he’s introducing two of Dallas’ most critically acclaimed rappers to feature in his performances. In an act full of surprises, Mecca will introduce Al-Jabbaar and Hampton and give some extra exposure to our city’s talent. Going against the competitive nature upheld by many artists in the industry, this addition will add an atypical exemplification of the camaraderie inherent in Dallas’ hip-hop scene.
“My whole thing right now is based on promoting people and paying it forward,” Mecca says. As Wu-Tang did for him by setting him up as their opener, he will pass on that same opportunity for Al-Jabbaar and Hampton. And knowing Dallas, the cycle will perpetuate.
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