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Hip-Hop bares its jazz roots 

click to enlarge DJ Metrognome - SUBMITTED PHOTO
Roots Movement
The Jazz Kitchen
October 3, 2012

Jazz and hip-hop were blended for an intimate evening at the Jazz Kitchen. Old Soul Entertainment hosted their weekly showcase, The Roots Movement, last night Oct. 3 much to the enjoyment of Indianapolis hip-hop heads. Because this particular evening was scheduled the night of the first Presidential debate of the election year, the crowd was mainly composed of family and friends of the artists. The music continued into the evening with an ensemble of local acts, who displayed their inspiration drawn from jazz sounds.

Armed with a fiery introduction by the master of ceremonies and a DJ spinning hypnotic beats, DJ Metrognome, the music exploded with a set by Sonny Paradise. Rocking a gold chain as large as a support cable from the Golden Gate Bridge and classic shell-toe Adidas, Paradise was the awaited reincarnation of that old school hip-hop essence. He spit verses about growing up, the unification of people in a struggle, and the ability to ascend with positivity. There couldn't have been a better choice than Sonny Paradise to get the crowd warmed up for the rest of the evening.

click to enlarge greygranite.jpg

Hinx Jones jumped onto stage with their own DJ, and quickly got to work hammering out a few of the older favorites along with some brand new cuts. The stage presence that this rapper duo encompasses is a phenomenon totally unique onto itself. Flipping verses back and forth to each other about being true to whom you are, and staying in check with reality keeps these guys easily accessible to the listener. Longevity and Gritts have an everyman feel about them, and their beats are legitimately fun to hear.

Following Hinx Jones came the rapper Grey Granite. Indianapolis born and bred, this heavy hitting emcee brought massive sound to the stage. Dropping tracks with monstrous beats and catchy hooks, Gray Granite was the closest to a mainstream hip-hop sound that The Roots Movement came that night. Many of his songs revolved around tales of growing up and dodging the law. Gray Granite's performance certainly stems from both the old school and mainstream realms of hip-sop.

Esoteric rapper Ajene tha God flowed with a voice so bass-laden that it shook my seat. His voice was low, but his verses were lightning fast. There was nothing small about this towering rapper with a four-inch beard, and his performance at the Jazz Kitchen displayed his quick lyricism in tandem with sultry beats. After Ajene tha God, Sonny Paradise and Feeray brought hyped up levels of energy. Hopping across the stage and getting the crowd a bit wild for this tight-knit show, this duo got everyone excited for the finale of Mr. Kinetik and Rusty Redenbacher.

Rusty and Mr. Kinetik kicked off the last set of the evening with live band Native Sun and beats by DJ Metrognome. Their energy was tangible as they took turns engaging the crowd with their entertaining verses. Whimsical at times, these guys covered an assortment of topics ranging from being in love to being broke. With their live instrumentation, the true presence of The Roots Movements jazz and hip-hop fusion could be felt.

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