Saturday night at the Music Hall (formerly Mill City Nights) was the spot to be in Minneapolis. The show was to celebrate Allan Kingdom’s (aka the Peanut Butter Prince) birthday, but the night was also essentially a showcase of the up and coming talent in the Twin Cities. The bill for Saturday night was extensive to say the least. Allan Kingdom and company took over Music Hall and it was nothing short of epic. It’d been a few years since I first saw Allan Kingdom at the 10,000 Sounds Festival in Minneapolis. At that time Allan Kingdom was just a Minneapolis based rapper with an album under his belt. Since then, Allan Kingdom has worked with Kanye West, dropped another album (Northern Lights), and has playing a slew of live shows. It was a treat to get to see Allan Kingdom back in Minneapolis with the whole squad (and literally, I mean the whole squad), supporting his on stage.
Opening up the evening shortly before 10:00 pm was Sushi Boi lux and longley – two Twin Cities based rappers. These guys look like they’re barely old enough to be out past curfew but their talent, stage presence and energy was something beyond their years. They played through their roughly twenty minute set with a contagious energy. A stand out track was “Watch How I Flex” which is a serious earworm and will be on heavy rotation over the next couple months. The crowd seemed to be fairly familiar with Lux + Longley, showing plenty of love. The set was short and sweet, but expect plenty more from these dudes in 2017.
Up next was another duo generating some good buzz around the Twin Cities and beyond – Nazeem & Spencer Joles. We had just seen these guys the night before at First Ave, supporting Doomtree member, Sims. Aesthetically there is something to just so engaging about Nazeem & Spencer Joles on stage, they have a bit of yin and yang thing going on. Spencer Joles is a bit more buttoned up and Nazeem is grittier. Supporting Nazeem and Spencer Joles is their DJ, plus backing from the saxaphone and trumpet, overall making for an incredibly engaging and fun live set. The crowd also had plenty of love for these dudes warming up the stage for the Peanut Butter Prince. Stay tuned for plenty more in 2017 from Nazeem and Spencer Joles.
As the evening went one, the stage somehow became fuller and fuller. Of the what seemed like 40 dudes on stage, about 3 were actually doing something, but what would Allan Kingdom’s birthday show be without the hype squad?! As entertaining as it was to see the whole squad on stage – it was also fun to see everyone out supporting Allan Kingdom on his birthday weekend. The crowd was eating up every last drop of it. At one point, people from the crowd even made their way up on stage with no one really seeming to care.
Up next on the bill was The Rift, Daddy Dinero and J. Plaza. These dudes helped to turn things up a notch at the Music Hall. From stage dives to dancing around stage, and people from the crowd coming up on stage, it was a party all around. Musically, these guys went off. Their beats are contagious and catchy, lyrically the rhymes are on point. Each of the guys performing on stage had a bit of their own vibe, but it all blended perfectly. Honestly, there was so much happening on stage from the crew to the numerous photographers and pulling people on stage, it was a bit hard to really focus on The Rift, Daddy Dinero and J. Plaza. It would be great to see them play a set that is a bit more focused, with less distractions on stage, but at the time – we wouldn’t expect anything less than organized chaos for Allan Kingdom’s birthday. If you haven’t listened to these guys before – definitely go give them a listen on Soundcloud, you won’t regret it.
Playing another short but firey set was Skny. His set was absolutely captivating to watch. By the time Skny came out the entire stage was packed with Allan Kingdom and company. Allan Kingdom and some of the other So Cold Records rocking their So Cold hoodies and matching track pants. This night was all about highlighting all of the amazing talent coming out of Minneapolis right now. Following Skny was Dro, Drelli and Novyon. During their performances, Allan Kingdom was kind of just hanging in the background, popping out to introduce his friends, and hanging behind the DJ booth. Allan Kingdom was definitely what this night was all about, but he took the time to highlight his slew of talented friends. The energy was absolutely contagious, you can’t help but cheer for these guys. As a fellow Minnesotan, you can’t help but want the best for all of them. Dro, Drelli and Novyon’s sets show what is just so awesome about the music scene in Minneapolis. First, there’s the diversity in the music, there’s really something for everyone. And second, there’s a sense of community. It’s just dudes who are good at what they do, and all supporting each other. It’s artists like Allan Kingdom and his crew who continue to put the Minneapolis music scene on the map.
Finally – closing out the night was Allan Kingdom, the birthday boy himself. He played a good mix of his older tracks as well as some off his newest album. From the energy from the crowd, it was clear everyone was there to show some love for Allan Kingdom and help him celebrate his birthday. At just 23 years old, Kingdom is a wildly talented performer. He is so confident on stage, working the crowd like a seasoned pro. His vocals, the production, everything about Kingdom’s performance was polished and perfection. It’s no wonder he’s already worked with huge names in the industry like Kanye West, D.R.A.M among others. If last night’s performance was any indicator – 2017 is going to be a good year for Allan Kingdom and friends.