I like to consider myself a fairly open-minded individual in many aspects. Music is something that I have a comprehensive knowledge in many respects with. I pride myself in being about to objectively be able to critique many forms of music regardless of my experience with the specific genre. Up until last week, my exposure to the Horrorcore genre was very limited. Though my youth was well exposed to a time when bands like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid were on the rise, I’ve never been exposed to much of any hip-hop aside from the classics I grew up with. So when I was given the opportunity to attend and review a show featuring modern artists of this genre, I had zero hesitation and I’m glad I did.
Blaze – Ya Dead Homie, fresh off signing with Twiztid’s new label Majik Ninja Entertainment, kicked of The Casket Factory Tour in support of the release of his latest album of the same name on Thursday at the Alrosa Villa. In support of Blaze was Majik Ninja’s newest artist Lex The Hex Master and independent rapper Trilogy, both amped and full of energy to perform for a packed crowd in Columbus. There was plenty of local support that was all stellar, but I will be giving them their own spotlight in a separate article. For the sake of this article, we’re looking at the touring acts and their associated performances.
Kicking off The Casket Factory show was Trilogy who wasted zero time to get in our faces. For the next 20 minutes, he was relentless in his rhymes only stopping to remove his hoodie. The unfortunate timing of his entrance, only minutes after the previous local act, left some of the crowd at the bar and caught off guard at the start of his set. Let me be clear, this isn’t a reflection of his quality because as soon as he began delivering his set, the crowd quickly returned and serious props to him for commanding their attention, many lesser would have been discouraged to see that most of the crowd has went to the bar for the beginning of your set. This didn’t stop him from bringing everybody back and delivering a memorable performance only to close it out by performing from the crowd with the family. This is the attitude you need to make it in this industry. After a short changeover and the revealing of erie wooden gravemarkers with skulls surrounding, the lowering of the backdrop revealed the next act, Lex The Hex Master.
Fresh off the release of his first EP, The Black Season, Lex took over the stage with face painted, beer in one hand and a mic in the other. Lyrically, Lex’s tracks are on point and his delivery is flawless. His latest track “Ninjas” combines modern hooky melodies with a vintage hip-hop feel. It’s familiar, yet fresh and stays relevant to provide a chant for the fanbase of Ninjas. “Bomb On Em'” has a very industrial feel, almost something that you would imagine to provide the backing track to, fittingly, a psychological horror film. With all his strengths, Lex, I feel, fell victim to a possible case of stage fright. Now, I have to establish that I’ve never seen him perform, but after discovering that he A) Is the newest artist on Majik Ninja B) is quite possibly on his first large tour and that C) The Alrosa was the first stop of the tour, it’s a very good possibility that this might have been the case. He hovered near the back of the stage for 90% of the show and, combined with a lack of front lighting for most of the show, was difficult to see. Lex, if somehow you’re reading this, you killed it, but as somebody who has been on stage for years, don’t be afraid to embrace your family. Get close and interact with us.
Despite that small gripe, Lex still is gonna be a strong force in this industry if he continues to write like he is now. He’s got my support and the support of the amazing crowd response of the Alrosa. Even having mic issues on stage, it didn’t stop him from delivering every track with precision and after relaxing and rollin’ through his set, he gave way to the main act of the night, the dead man homie, Blaze.
In what can only be described as a combination of a riot and a mosh pit, the juggalo family greeted Blaze and his nameless mystery vocal accompany with energy that was unrivaled from the funeral intro until the last beat. Blaze’s attire matches his stage presence, elegant and commanding. In a full, colorful suit with a striped cane topped with a gold skull, he made his presence known on every part of the stage. From start to finish, there was few break in tracks, which the standout for me was his most recent single “Ghost” off the tour album. It embodies everything this genre is defined by while still being incredibly hooky but still erie and unique. Being my first time seeing Blaze, his influences are immediately recognizable in both classic west-coast hip hop (as I found myself comparing his lyrical delivery very similar to 2-Pac) and elements of heavy rock. It’s really a fresh and unique approach at modern hip-hop. It was nothing like the manufactured, streamlined shit that we get force fed down our throats, and I have to admit, the fact that he was on stage with a nameless rapper whose identity is left a mystery and the reoccurring theme of horror and the genre of horror films was all really awesome. I’m a fan.
On the topic of fans, the reoccurring theme of the night was “family.” Everybody in the house, strangers all the way to the artist on stage, embraced the idea that this was their family and it showed. There wasn’t any fighting, in fact it was quite the opposite. Everybody made it a point to be nice to me, despite the fact that I was, clearly, out of place with my Star Wars shirt, lumberjack beard and huge camera bag. I sat center stage the entire show and everybody around me let me work while they had a good time around me which it was really hard not to stop what I was doing several times and join them. It was also the first time I was glad my equipment was weather-sealed as once the crowds energy got heavy, drinks started flying. Several times I had water, beer and probably Faygo rain down on me. It’s didn’t bother me at all because this is the type of energy that a crowd needs and the artists on stage feeds off of. Also, again, it was weather-sealed.
Despite all the challenges of the night (The Alrosa’s lighting can be incredibly difficult to shoot in) and the fact that I was shooting on a broken foot, it was still a memorable night and a much needed introduction for me into the world of juggalos, the unmistakable “WHOOP WHOOP,” the facepaint and the family of Horrorcore. I’d willingly go again and I highly suggest that if you’re not a narrow-minded fan of music (which you shouldn’t be) you take the same chance I did. You’ll be family. #whoopwhoop