Recently I had the privilege of attending the 2nd Annual Beats n Bars Festival which was hosted in my hometown, the Bull City: Durham, North Carolina. The first night of the festival was hosted at Pinhook, a popular yet eclectic performance venue used for local bands, DJs, open-mic nights, karaoke, and trivia. The second night of performances was hosted in a large parking lot behind the Pinhook and apartments adjacent to the venue. The stage was set up in the center of parking lot’s far end. Several food trucks and pop-up shops were stationed on the outer edges of the parking lot catering to people who came to support all the groups that performed live that weekend.
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I walked into the performance area. Today mainstream rap music is dominated by Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar: all of these rappers are very talented in their own right. Aside from J. Cole, none of these rappers hold roots in North Carolina. Almost all of the rappers I saw perform that weekend were from Durham or had a close relationship with Durham in another sense. Furthermore, all of these rappers were incredibly talented; the entire time I couldn’t stop thinking about why more people didn’t know about this event and why it wasn’t getting more coverage. Don’t get me wrong: the festival had a great turn out. However, I have high hopes that next year we’ll be able to share more of what Durham has to offer with the rest of the world.
There’s been a lot of hype about G. Yamazawa ever since he released “North Cack” earlier this May. The Durham born and cornbread-fed rapper put himself on the map with the release of this song. I was extremely grateful witnessing him perform at the Beats n Bars Festival. Here’s the video in case you haven’t already watched it…
DeFacto Thezpian was among the many Durham-native rappers that came out to perform for the festival. He performed alongside Lil Bob Doe at the beginning of the festival and with G. Yamazawa and Kaze towards the end of the night.
The most memorable moment of the night was Kaze’s freestyle set at the end of his performance. With help from the audience, Kaze freestyled about whatever was in his line of sight OR whatever was handed to him from the audience. At some point a woman took off her shoe and tried to hand it to Kaze so that he could freestyle about it.
Needless to say this festival was amazing considering that I walked into it with zero expectations. I’m impressed with what my hometown has to offer and I encourage everyone to attend the Beats n Bars Festival in 2018. You won’t regret it.
Here are some photographs from that fateful night.