There has been a dearth of decent hip-hop shows here in Music City this summer, so it figures once something is finally going down another show pops up across town at the exact same time. Philly hipster-hoppers Chiddy Bang at the Exit/In or the debut performance of buzzworthy duo Sam & Tre over at Mashville? What is a poor Spin do to on a steamy August Saturday night? Hit 'em both, of course! No rest for the sleazy, motherfuckers!
Our first stop was the Rock Block, and we showed up just in time to catch XV perform a decent piece of hip-house before leaving the stage and allowing us to fully take in the, uh, youthfulness of the crowd. We had totally forgotten that the college kids were coming back, but based on the number of flip-flops, khaki shorts and pink button-ups in the audience, we'd say Vandy has returned to barf on The Spin's driveway, hold up the line when we're getting coffee and make walking down West End a life-threatening experience. Yay!
Donnis was up next, and he was definitely decent — allegedly he just signed a major-label deal — but his 20-minute set was more memorable for the awkward “My First Rap Show” behavior of the crowd than any of the actual tracks. Seriously, there were a bunch of kids doing the Jay-Z hand signal thingy as if they were unaware Jay-Z would not be playing a half-empty room in Nashville on a Saturday night. Kids these days. ... Chiddy Bang were alright, using a live drum kit to augment their twee-heavy laptop rap, but when they started soliciting suggestions for freestyling and the audience could only offer up “Dead Prez” and “9/11,” we decided it was time to leave and let the kids have their fun before we said something mean.
Our timing couldn't have been better though, as we walked into the Mercy Lounge just as Sam & Tre were dropping “We Do,” their debut single and the best damn rap song to come out of Nashville in ... shit, in as long as we can remember. If you wanted to get technical, Sam & Tre play progressive Southern dub-rap, full of big huge wobble bass and tight, laid-back rhymes. Sam is the little brother/production partner of local luminary Kidsmeal, and Tre is possibly the most charismatic new MC we've seen in a while — he's low-key and doesn't try to impress you, mostly because he can tell you're already impressed. Their live show was way stronger than a debut performance has a right to be and they came out swinging. Mark our words: These kids are going places.