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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Over the Weekend: Freeway and Jake One, DaVinci, Freddie Gibbs, J-Billion, and Jern Eye

Posted By on Sun, Apr 4, 2010 at 6:05 PM

DaVinci
  • DaVinci

Freeway and Jake One, DaVinci, Freddie Gibbs, J-Billion, and Jern Eye
Friday, April 2, 2010
Mezzanine

Better than: most overstuffed hip-hop bills.

It was opening weekend, and Top Billin' put together a searing line-up at the Mezzanine that pitted Bay Area emcees against well-represented out-of-towners. Everyone brought their A-game.

Out of the Bay Area dugout, Jern Eye brought a live sax accompaniment and played to the locals with "Cali": "When I say C A / Y'all say all day." This song featured J-Billion, who returned with his crazy animated stage presence for a set of his own. He had some additional thoughts on the Bay Area, and boasted, "We live in the Bay / We hustle all day / It's that Cali way."

Next up was Freddie Gibbs, who sits atop a short stack of critically-acclaimed mixtapes, but has been stunted by the crumbling major labels. Gibbs was playing for the visiting team. He resides in LA, but his hardcore style was born of the streets of Gary, Indiana, and while sociopathic fare like "Murda on my Mind" and "Womb 2 the Tomb" may not sound as compelling as it did during that first tidal wave of gangsta wrap, Gibbs' cool confidence and utter refusal to smile make you believe every word.

Then we took a few moments to conduct an informal census of the attendees: Oakland made a strong showing, but San Francisco repped larger. Eventually, it was deduced that the Fillmore had sent the most fans to show.

Of course, this was in support of the Fillmore's DaVinci, whose anti-gentrification anthem "What you Finna Do," has drawn attention and accolades to his new record The Day the Turf Stood Still (available for free download). DaVinci did not disappoint. From his title track, a minute and change stuffed with his hood overview, he rapped, "Fresh off an all-nighter hustling with the red eyes / When bread rise, I smell profit / Don't make me dead guys for dead guys in my pocket."

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David MacFadden-Elliott

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