Country music and hot chicken aren’t the only things poppin’ in Nashville . As a matter of fact, gospel and soul also have a rich history here. What I wasn’t aware of was the huge sub culture of underground hip hop, spoken word and visual art. I’m not a native of Nashville, but this city is starting to grow on me.
This past weekend I attended an event from the Second Annual Blacklift Music and Poetry Festival. The Festival is a three-day multi-event festival that features art from Black musicians, poets and artists. The event that really resonated with me was called Lyrically Speaking, a lineup of local poets and rappers making a name for themselves.
Sadly, I almost didn’t make it to the venue. The weather in Nashville was awful. The sky poured huge buckets of rain on us the entire day. It got worse that evening. So much so that some of the roads were closed due to flooding. I decided to take Uber, but my driver had to reroute a few times to avoid the areas that were flooded. In the end I arrived safe and sound. And trust me, it was worth it the bar was free.
The first rapper to take the stage was Tim Gent. Prior to the event, I didn’t know who he was. But his performance demonstrated that he’s probably one of Nashville’s best kept secrets. He’s not the stereotypical southern MC mumbling over trap beats about bitches and money. His delivery and cadence rivals that of some of the more well-known MC’s from regions known to produce rap legends.
And his subject matter was uplifting, inspirational and at some times humorous. One of his songs spoke about tenacity and not giving up when things go awry. He used the acronym CHIEF( Catch Height In Every Fall) to drive the point home. I was so impressed with his energy that I purchased some merch after his set.
The second rapper, Petty was just as entertaining. He was also not at all what I expected. His performance was dope as well. Another great lyricist hiding in plain sight, and probably one of the most talented rappers in the South. But what surprised me the most was his humility. He was so down to earth and appreciative of everyone who came out. If I learned anything Saturday, it was that I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss MCs from Nashville. Petty was a breath of fresh air.
All in all, I’m glad the storm didn’t keep me from this event. It was well worth the effort it took to get there. Check out my artist page for music from Tim Gent and Petty.