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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Busdriver & Waldo to grace Gardner

Photo contributed.

By Halley Freger

Grinnell Concerts is back this weekend with the first concert since spring break. What a perfect way to kick things back into gear with two distinctive and accomplished rappers: Busdriver and Waldo.

The concert will be in Gardner Lounge this Saturday at 10 p.m. following Drag Show. LA’s Busdriver has had an expansive career. He began rapping at the age of nine and joined his first rap group in response to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots at the age of thirteen. Since then, he has put out eleven solo full-length releases. His most recent mixtape “Thumbs,” exemplifies his ability to seamlessly blend different sounds. The opening track “Absolutions in the Hottentot Supercluster” combines Busdriver’s insightful lyricism with a humming lo-fi hip-hop beat. On this particular mixtape, Busdriver’s lyrics are explicitly political, exploring issues of race and class in the United States. Though 2015 was a great year for explicitly political hip-hop, such as Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” but “Thumbs” stands out as a mixtape that combines both the historical, with references to people such as abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, with the poetic and personal. On “Great Spooks of Enormous Strength,” he explores the constant threat of being a black man, referencing current events such as militarized police. In one critical lyric, delivered in his iconic fast-paced flow, he puts a spin on the Pledge of Allegiance by stating, “buying power indivisible, under God.” The album features many of his frequent collaborators such as milo, Mono/Poly, Kenny Segal and Fumitake Tamura. Busdriver is unafraid of collaboration, from groups to features to remixes. He has experience as part of the famous open-mic workshop Project Blowed, but he has also taken on projects such as a remix of a song by math rock band Tera Melos.

In true 2017 fashion, Busdriver’s current project is a podcast. In FR/BLCK/PR Radio, Busdriver combines political and social theory with atmospheric soundscapes to create complicated episodes such as “The American Theatre of The Real & The Nazi Party.” By combining lecture, samples and music, Busdriver has created a smart, haunting series that also serves as a glimpse into the kind of research and thought behind his lyrics.

Michigan-based rapper and founding member of the hip-hop collective AGO Waldo will join Busdriver on Saturday. Another experienced rapper, with seven projects under his belt, Waldo continues to set the bar even higher which each project. On his most recent 2016 album “Ever Be Wonderful,” named in reference to the Earth, Wind & Fire song, Waldo combines soulful and hardcore hip-hop in a delicate blend.

It is exciting to finally bring Waldo to Grinnell after he was originally scheduled to play a show last semester. Don’t miss him with Busdriver this Saturday at 10 p.m. in Gardner.

Photo contributed.
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