Rhymefest and special guests
The Jazz Kitchen
Wednesday, June 30
Jazz Kitchen patrons who mingled in the sultry summer air after Cathy Morris last Wednesday heard the organic R&B of Sage & Payne and the hot hip-hop of Rhymefest, part of Crush Entertainment’s Kilimanjaro Wednesday.
As DJ Indiana Jones warmed the crowd with classic Rakim, Sage & Payne took to the stage with well-rehearsed two-part gospel harmonies and an acoustic guitar that had the crowd clapping along. Mike Payne gave a soulful delivery that had ladies in the audience screaming for an encore.
After a bouncy reggae intermission, Rhymefest took the stage with Sage playing acoustic riffs and Payne belting out gospel backup. Rhymefest hosted the crowd to a call-and-response and then rapped over a high-speed barrage of new and classic-rock tracks, including the White Stripes.
In a further demonstration of lyrical versatility, he invited MabLab’s Kate Lamont on stage for a duet and parody of Joe Millionaire, delivered in a style reminiscent of Outkast. Rhymefest’s varied lyrical content ran the gamut from evolution in Chicago and “failing in school cuz you ain’t been fed,” to revolution of the spirit as he closed out the night in praise of Christ with “Promise,” citing, “Sometimes I feel like God don’t love when I didn’t love me,” as the packed crowd of 70 clapped along to the spiritual.
When it comes to live hip-hop, moving a crowd without an organic band can be somewhat difficult, but Rhymefest, Sage and Payne accomplished it brilliantly with just an acoustic guitar between them. It’s refreshing to hear Indy’s new R&B, and Rhymefest has again proved himself as one of the city’s top MCs. These are definitely two acts to see in the future.