Thursday, Nov. 2
There wasn’t an entourage of fans at Spin Nightclub on Thursday, but 16th Dynasty didn’t seem to notice. The intimate audience said these guys are part of a well-kept hip-hop secret.
Seven-strong with three musicians and four MCs (all of whom sing), 16th Dynasty emphasized lyrics both positive and muckraking. They addressed social and personal grievances, but they managed to turn both into a sense of hope.
Into 16th’s performance, we realized several things were happening on Spin’s small stage: today’s contemporary MC style layered upon a soulful foundation; mix this with a beat so steady you can set your watch by it.
“We fall somewhere between Indy’s underground and a harder rap and R&B,” said 16th Dynasty’s bassist, known simply as “Poncho,” after the show.
But I didn’t see the fall between. I saw classic music genres cascading over current lyrical techniques bursting into reggae rhythm and meeting somewhere on Guilford Avenue.
“I think the market, especially in Indy, doesn’t know or maybe doesn’t look at stuff like this,” Poncho said.
Poncho is also part of Indy’s better-known Blackberry Jam.
Intricate and explicative doesn’t equal “no fun.” 16th Dynasty is here to have a good time. The trick now is to see how many people open it.