Sasquatch 2014, Day 1: Raz Simone

photos by Sally Gray Mahon

With much credit to Black Hippy, there’s a trend of blended conscious/streetwise hip hop sweeping the nation at the moment, and if there’s another act doing it as well as Seattle’s Raz Simone at Sasquatch this weekend, they should probably up their game. Simeone is undoubtedly a crowdpleaser, but he never panders to his audience. When he wants them to put their hands up, they do, but he uses their participation communally. Before nearly every song, he’d rally the audience before launching into an introspective banger, unafraid to talk about poverty, failed dreams, or inner city tension in a way that communicates just how much he cares. As telling as his songs are, his banter showed that behind the artist, there was still a man who was jubilant just to be with his audience. “Give yourselves a pat on the back for being motherfucking awesome,” said Raz Simone before starting “Thirsty”, “but now come in closer, guys. I got some shit I want to talk about.”

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