The month of January offers plenty of shows and concerts all around the bay area for your entertainment pleasure. Here is a breakdown of who’s going to be making the bay poppin’ this month to start out 2017.
1/13 – J. LATELY’S PANDA PARTY
WHERE: LEGIONNAIRE SALOON IN OAKLAND
Performances by: DJ Nocturnal, Down 2 Earth, Zion I (Special Guest), & J.Lately
This is a dope lineup for a party that is themed around panda bears. They may not make you go googly-eyed like the baby ones that go viral every so often, but they’re going to bring out a cool crowd that enjoys the realness in hip-hop.
I’ve had a chance to see everybody on this lineup at one point in time. DJ Nocturnal is a master on the 1’s & 2’s. Down 2 Earth, who I saw open for Sylvan Lacue on his Loner Tour last month, absolutely know how to move the crowd in more ways than one. I’ve seen this take place on several occasions at Hiero Day and Free Spirit Fest 3, both taking place in the town in 2015. With Fair Share expected to release in 2016, this group of emcees cannot be slept on.
As for the special guest, Zion I, there is no denying their credibility in the bay area music scene. Zumbi and Amp Live had a spectacular 2016 as they released Stay Woke, a collaboration with local producer Mikos Da Gawd, and The Labyrinth. J Lately has been on tour opening for Zion I headlined shows for the past couple of years now, so this guest appearance should come as no surprise as the support is mutual for these local presences.
I’ve been an actual fan of J. Lately when I saw him open for Talib Kweli at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. That was in 2014 and he has dropped multiple projects since then, showing extensive growth and development in his craft of wordplay and lyricism. His 2016 release, The Good Panda, in my opinion was his best work to date. I kind of hope he breaks out the panda suit for this party. Would it really be a panda party if he didn’t break it out?!
1/14 – ELUJAY & FRIENDS
WHERE: STARLINE SOCIAL CLUB
Performances by: Wade08, Rayana Jay, Julia Lewis, YMTK, & Elujay
This lineup is assembled by local artists who either released projects of epic and beautiful content, quality, and potential in 2016 (Elujay, YMTK, Rayana Jay, Wade08) or contributed in the production of many dope tracks in 2016 (Julia Lewis). There are so many possibilities with each individual in this lineup for the future of bay area hip-hop/R&B that everybody should show some curiosity as to what their sound brings to the stage.
I have never heard of Wade08 until I saw this lineup so I went to sound cloud to gain some knowledge real quick. I wasn’t dissappointed with what I heard. I listened to his 3 track EP, The Era of 08, and now I expect a real turn-up when he graces the stage this Saturday.
Rayana Jay has been the local voice that many bay area artists have turned to when in need of incredible vocalizations and harmonies. She has features with local artists such as Caleborate, Azure, P-Lo, and most recently Sylvan Lacue from Miami. In 2016, she released her debut EP, Sorry About Last Night, that includes production credits by Lil Dads, Mikos Da Gawd & Drew Banga, & 1-O.A.K.just to name a few. Prepare to get up in those feeling for real.
Julia Lewis was one of my favorite producers of 2016. He took part in producing several tracks from Caleborate’s 2016 album release, 1993, and even remixing hit singles of Rexx Life Raj’s Handheld GPS and Cal-A’s Real One. There is a true talent that Lewis possesses with mixing and producing music. Look out for more in 2017.
YMTK aka Young Murph Tha Kidd, is a singer/songwriter that assembled a collection of work that goes well beyond bay area hip-hop. He has built quite the resume of projects, visuals, and features over the past 2 years. 2016 included his major project release, All The Right Places, with features from Iamsu!, Rexx Life Raj, Marc E. Bassy, & Too $hort. His music video for Exotic, that takes place in Brazil, I think shows that as an artist he has had fun with what he’s doing for his audience and there are many more unexpected journeys to be part of his career.
Last but not least, the OneTime! man himself, Elujay has slowly but surely worked his way to the limelight on his own merit and creativity as an artist over the past year. He was voted best new artist of 2016 by 90.5 KSJS staff located in San Jose. His 2016 debut album, Jentrify, was definitely one for the books as he brought Oakland to a new light with this project. His performance at Oaklandish during First Friday this past October was amazing as he incorporated a live band that completely enhanced his overall sound. This show is a must-see for bay area music lovers.