Most events I go to, it hits 11 or 11:30 PM and the sleep-endorphins start kicking in.
My friends I’m with or I will set free our first yawn. And the inevitable “Ay, it’s getting a little late wanna head home soon?” sentence is liberated from one of our tired jaws. It seemed every event had this effect on your body. Eventually you just stopped. You got out of the habit of going to events, because you never knew which ones would be bad or not.
Until a few new interesting hip hop events came on the scene.
The one catching our eye the most, for its vibes & consistency – to win as recipient of what ProU crowns the “Weekly Event Of The Year for 2015” is #LiveFromTheUnderground, presented by Wreck Shop Movement. A huge congratulations to this team, that has been working incredibly hard!
The event has brought me back to wanting to be out every week – something I don’t particularly do, as a shy dude.
Wednesdays are actually fun again – you can look forward to the middle of the week.
The feel-good atmosphere is a two-part combination. One: the venue – Opus – located in the underground side of Opus: a popular restaurant in the classy Downtown Salem area. A single look at their InstaGram here will have you drooling. They are literally artists with their food.
Anyway, the downstairs is just a chill and homely area – even without the help of good people it seems to possess a certain ‘down-to-earthness’ about it.
Part two is just the good people that Wreck Shop Movement and their team (+ their events) attract everywhere they go.
To me, the perfect date would be going there (or the amazing Italian restaurant: Firenze Trattoria – the owner Andy, from Florence is awesomely welcoming & will make you feel at home. The top rated restaurant by Yelp in Salem) and then walking a block away (or downstairs if you ate at Opus) to the ridiculously passion-filled #LFTU concert.
At the end of the day, you must come to check it out for yourself – because these are only words. You can also pay attention to every artists’ review of the event after they go or are featured.
Go. If you want to see exciting Wreck Shop artists like these ones..
They (the artists that have performed here) will tell you it’s special (especially if they have never performed at a Wreck Shop event before). It’s one of the few events where you’ll see the same crowd returning every week. That’s very very hard to do.
You can’t experience vibes either, through articles.
So come today (Jan 20th) with D Blaze + (Sean D: dancer of Slam Kitchen who dances while D raps), Mastermind Alliance featured (very talented lyricists): and the amazing Jonny Silva of Wreck Shop performing + other super talented artists always joining in on the Open Mic + cyphers. (event page).
Or next week for the biggest event they’ve had. With state legend REKS.
Hosted by the one & only Mr. PSA: the friendliest most energetic host you will find. What we love most about him is how he is not afraid to call out the crowd if they are not matching the vibes properly, and then he MAKES YOU ENJOY.
He will force you to have fun and make sure you get your $0 entry fee’s worth. I mean your time’s/driving mileage worth. The motto is: “you all made it out here to have a good time – so that’s what’s going to happen.”. (And music by DJ Slipwax – whom I deem the best scratcher in the state. Just so entertaining to watch)
Yes, It’s officially #WreckShopTakeover2016.
Hip hop has never been very well-received by venues in the Massachusetts area. So the importance and longevity of this event – even up to this point: cannot be overstressed. Event residencies for the genre have been historically stereotyped – owners feeling that hip hop attracts “troublemakers”.
With the movement being initiators of movements like: #LoveAndComfort and “Hoodies for the Homeless” , it could be said the team represents quite the opposite. (click above to read articles for the respective programs).
Finally, people around the region are seeing that hip hop actually embodies positivity, and positive change in our community. LFTU is setting a precedent.
Bringing it into the mainstream.
This isn’t some front. Recently they have been taking care packages for the homeless – encouraging people on Facebook by writing EXACTLY what is needed to be bought. And people have been bringing them in. Their founder Justice Born, fasted for many days in Boston, sacrificing his health & raising money for the homeless just a few weeks ago. They represent something.
The donation programs trend back many many years since the team held a monthly showcase called “The Formula” in Peabody.
It’s not coincidence that an event that projects good vibes – is ran by a team of which’s acronym is: “When Raw Elements Combine Kinetically, Start Helping Other People”.
What others have to say:
Artist “Phive 6”:
I like the event because of the format. It allows artists to showcase their talent without the stress of tight competition. The energy is very welcoming. From my first and only time going i felt very at home. Having being from out of state I was treated like family and that was awesome.
Anne Hayes (aka Mama G!)
I love the event because it is based on a place of love, unity, acceptance of all people from all walks of life. Anybody and everybody is welcome to share their talent, gift, desire : there are no rap battles because it’s not about competition; it’s all about collaboration and collectively sharing and encouraging and supporting each other as we share the joy of the way in which we each choose to create.
There’s a lot of mad hip hop love only because Justice’s essence and intentions have attracted that. He has truly created a beautiful community of mutual respect and love which is starting to spread like wildfire because anything based in love is just so much more powerful than without
His events encourage everybody to step out of their comfort zone…. I mean; this event has been the catalyst for me finally steppin’ out as one of many, many new age prophets to be able to share wisdom. This is only the beginning. This event is the mustard seed that will move mountains. I can see the destiny unfolding and I get goosebumps. It is no accident that we have all come together, and that Justice has been our pied piper…..this will truly be epic….
You could repeat what Mama G said about the event being the catalyst for stepping out, 100x, replacing her name with another artist or poet in our state. Kudos to her on a touching review. She noticed that this is far more than what it looks to be on the outside, too.
Matt Ganem (Recovery Radio):
I love events like live from the underground with an open mic every week it’s where an aspiring artists finds themselves, helps build their confidence and it’s an outlet to showcase your talent. If it wasn’t for events like this I wouldn’t be where I’m at today
The above quote comes from a confident accomplished poet (has performed at Harvard and won many awards). Literally, without the support provided in events like this, our beautiful artists could not and would not be able fulfill their artistic potential.
We all need that push.
Myself & other ProU members went to enough of these and it quickly became our favorite. Sometime in November/Early December it hit me. These people are creating such a dope fun environment, and no one has covered them in an article or given them recognition. It’s spread from word of mouth. And the free event is packed nearly every week.
On a freaking Wednesday!
The only event on a workday where it hits 12:30 AM (closing time) and NO ONE wants to go home.
And on Summer Knights, after closing time: we evacuate to the back and cypher outside… sometimes until 2 AM. Because we love this shit. You get inspired seeing these 21-38 year olds – maybe a wider age range just expressing themselves so intimately into their art.
I remember one of those late nights : Estee Nack‘s dad showed up, bringing an ethnic instrument to create a backdrop when we were outside at 1:30 AM after the event. It was dope seeing the generations crossing & witnessing the parental musical influence together with his son – lauded by many as one of the best freestylers in the state.
Another night, Wreck Shop member Ryan Dragon brought a bongo. It was just very cool hearing what people could freestyle on. And what could mix. Hearing all the different people bring out their hidden beatboxing talents outside. This is one of my favorite parts of Opus.
You never know what will happen.
We typo’d Summer Knights on purpose above, in respect to Joey Bada$$: because events like these are about supporting real hip hop. That 90s flavor. And most importantly: music with a message. The artists showcased tend to bring you back into the the golden era of hip hop. Relentless The Tangible, Paranom, and Estee Nack, and Shalom (our 2016 breakout female choice) are four that immediately come to mind that provide golden era magic. Without them, the essence of events like these would not be there. Talent level is important.
(video taken on my phone of Paranom performing “All Ideas Subliminal” at our show at the Hard Rock Cafe which heavily featured Wreck Shop artists. To give you an idea of the talent. HE DOESNT BREATHE!)
Maybe that ‘golden-era-ness’ is another reason why everyone vibes so strongly.
You can’t help but wanting to go home and continue pursuing what YOU love too. That energy is inexpressible. It’s like describing the color orange to a blind person. They only know black. And fuchsia.
This is mid-week therapy for myself and SO many others. Whenever people are having a stressful period in life, I tell them to come out and empty yourself of your stress hormones here. And they always thank me for showing it to them.
Even my cousin (who goes to bars weekly in Boston with friends), and didn’t really think I would recommend a good place was like “Damn. I’ve been to a lot of lounges, etc, but that place was really cool, and the people they are so friendly. When can we go back?”.
Opus/Live From The Underground will literally give you a dopamine-refill. “Curing depressive feelings weekly” should be its tagline. Or the “De-stress Playground” aka DP.
Therapists who have hip hop-loving clients need to send their patients HERE. “First, try Opus. If that doesn’t work, okay proceed with medicine if needed”, the doctor would say.
The Open Mic portion serves as a tryout zone, too, for one of, if not the fastest growing hip hop team in 2016’s events. They run a ridiculous amount of shows & outlets (Den City Radio on WEMF radio in Boston, the buzzing Sunday Subway Cipher, etc). So to get on their good side is a brilliant idea.
Most of the singers for their “Takin It’ Back Tuesday” R&B night had been discovered from the Open Mic at #LFTU. It shows dedication and support to the team the more times you come back, as well.
So tell your artist friends about this, if they are trying to make a name for themself. Worst case, they make some friends and discover some nice stress relief.
He went into Boston armed with just an idea and a sign. Oh: a big heart & a brazen mission...