Sunday night shows set the tone for my week. If it’s a bad show, I tend to have a not so great week but, if it’s an amazing show, I’m sure to have an awesome week. Thankfully, last night’s show was amazing. So come on week– give me your best shot. I’m ready for it!
After grabbing dinner and a drink with my brother and his friend, we made our way into the dark and always welcoming 7th Street Entry. We claimed our spot back by the soundboard and prepared to be amazed by opening act Sammus. Sammus is a 31 year old female rapper who instantly had me in love with her everything. Her charm instantly had me sold as she explained the she is a rapper, producer and a PhD student. The PhD part got the most cheers out of the quickly growing crowd but, as she explained, that is her least favorite item on that list. She wasted no time jumping into a truly explosive and emotional set that had the entire crowd eating out of the palm of her hand.
Sammus (born Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo) had a very honest way about her. She rapped about things that were relatable but not generic. One of my favorite songs that she performed was “Spell It Out” which was about having a unique name and how important it is that people take the time to learn your name instead of just blowing it off. If you know who I am and know my first name, it’s clear that this would be a struggle for me. This may sound like a dumb premise for a song but the way she did was flawless and it truly hit me with it’s honesty. Beyond rapping about having an odd name, Sammus touched on many other topics including video games, a song that she played for her parents in order to tell them she wanted to be a rapper, and mental health.
Majority of Sammus’ set was light-hearted and fun but when it came to mental health and getting help when you need it, the show took a bit of a serious turn. I loved that Sammus is using her rap status to promote getting help. She explained that had she not found a therapist when going through a dark time, she probably wouldn’t be on that stage doing what she loved. After she finished pleaded to the crowd to get help if they needed it, the nearly sold out crowd erupted into applause and cheers. So many bands and musicians talk about mental health and getting help but there was something different when Sammus did it. It was truly coming from the heart and she truly meant every word she was saying. It was an absolutely beautiful moment and just the icing on the cake when it came to her incredible set.
Headlining the night was Open Mike Eagle. Born in Chicago, IL but currently based out of Los Angeles, CA, Mike is one of those hip-hop artists that fits in perfectly to the Twin Cities scene. His lyrics are about real life issues and events. It’s relateable, refreshing and so Midwestern it’s not even funny. Mike has coined his music “Art Rap” and honestly I couldn’t think of a better name. Sure, he’s hip-hop and he raps over beats but his beats and the effects he uses on his vocals truly paint a picture making him more than just a rapper or hip-hop artist.
With six albums out dating back to 2010, Open Mike Eagle is not a newcomber to the scene. I have seen him multiple times now but last night was the first chance I had to see him headline. I was worried that he wouldn’t have the energy or electricity to make himself worth of a headlining act but he instantly proved me wrong. Much like Sammus, Open Mike Eagle had a personality that truly shined brighter than the lights on the stage. Although he didn’t address the crowd as much as Sammus did, he constantly had a giant, genuine smile on his face that was nothing short of infectious. Although it was glaringly obvious that Mike take his art seriously, that smile that constantly took over his face gave his set that light hearted feeling that seemed to be the constant of the night.
There were little bits that Mike did throughout the set that were fun, creative, and kept the set feeling fresh. At one point it was the “Open Mike Eagle Advice Show” where Mike asked for anyone in the crowd to shout out an issue they were currently dealing with. A kid towards the front raised his hand and shouted out that he was new to the cities and was feeling a bit lonely. Mike took that and made it into a freestyle which instantly had everyone in the crowd bobbing along. Towards the end of the set, Mike explained that if he were to be on one of those late night comedy shows, here’s what he would play and explained that that’s why he would never be on one of those shows as he proceeded to play a politically charged song. Regardless of what bit Mike was doing, there was a passion and sense of conviction behind it that reigned supreme.
Mike and his DJ (I did not catch his name and I’m so sorry!) powered through their hour long set with a sense of conviction and honesty that made for an absolutely beautiful set. Even when the set was said and done, I was left wanting more from him. I knew there was no way that he could play everything I wanted to hear and the three song encore was definitely a treat but there were still some tracks that I wanted to hear left unplayed.
Sunday shows set the tone for the upcoming week. I can easily say that this is going to be a great week!