All-Star Cincy Hip Hop Lineup Joins Talib Kweli

Plus, Leo Coffeehouse stars new season at former home and The Mitchells and concert:nova team up for unique concert

click to enlarge Donte and Buggs Tha Rocka of Space Invadaz
Donte and Buggs Tha Rocka of Space Invadaz

Some cross-generational Cincinnati Hip Hop champs are currently doing a series of Ohio dates with modern legend Talib Kweli, who has recently been doing road dates supporting his summer releases, a rarities and B-sides collection and the new Fuck The Money, the latter of which is available for free via the acclaimed MC’s kweliclub.com. Although Kweli is from Brooklyn, N.Y., he has a lot of Cincinnati ties, which is reflected in the lineup for his trio of Ohio dates.

Kweli befriended locally based DJ Hi-Tek early in his career during a visit to Cincy in the mid-’90s. Some of Kweli’s first recorded appearances were on Doom, the 1997 debut album by legendary Cincinnati Hip Hop group Mood that was released nationally through TVT Records. Hi-Tek — who produced and DJed with Mood — and Kweli formed a partnership they dubbed Reflection Eternal. When Kweli teamed up with Mos Def to form Black Star (releasing the classic album of the same name), Hi-Tek did extensive work on the record. In 2000, Reflection Eternal (Tek and Kweli) released its debut, the acclaimed Train of Thought. By that point both artists were becoming major figures in Hip Hop — Kweli as a lyrically gifted and influential MC and Tek as an in-demand producer who also released three well-received solo albums.

Donte (aka Donte the Gr8) was one of the MCs in Mood, alongside Main Flow. The two MCs recently reunited to record a new album, Into the Mood, which is due for release on the French Hip Hop label Effiscienz next week (you can also find it digitally at effiscienz.bandcamp.com). Donte is also one half of Space Invadaz, a duo formed with young, on-the-rise MC Buggs Tha Rocka, who released the phenomenal album Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet last year and has won the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Hip Hop the past three years. Buggs (solo) and Space Invadaz have done numerous shows with Kweli in the past couple of years; Space Invadaz reportedly signed with Kweli’s Javotti Media label at the beginning of 2015.

And that brings us to Kweli’s Ohio shows, which are like a Cincinnati family reunion, featuring Space Invadaz and Hi-Tek on dates in Columbus, Cleveland and Wednesday’s show at Bogart’s (2621 Vine St., Corryville, bogarts.com). Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.com for $20 (plus fees).

More Local Notes

• The Queen City Balladeers, which has been celebrating and showcasing traditional Folk/Americana music in Cincinnati for over 50 years, is preparing to begin the 2015-2016 season of its weekly live music event, the Leo Coffeehouse, this Sunday. This year, Leo’s events — which feature open mics and jams, as well as sets by local and touring Americana artists — will be held in a new home… which is actually its old home. The every-Sunday event is returning to the Zion United Church of Christ (2301 Indian Mound Ave, Norwood, zionchurchucc.org).

Sunday’s “Return to Zion Homecoming Celebration” begins at 5:30 p.m. and will feature a pot-luck dinner and a night of open jamming featuring many Leo regulars. The normal schedule will begin the following week; Leo Coffeehouse events are held each Sunday through the end of May 2016.

Find complete information about the Queen City Balladeers at queencityballadeers.org.

• Tuesday at the Woodward Theater (1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com), diverse Cincinnati Indie/Folk/Rock band The Mitchells (joined by noted local guitarist/producer Ric Hordinski) are teaming up with creative local Chamber music ensemble concert:nova for a unique collaborative concert.

The show will feature the performance of a five-song adaptation of Franz Schubert’s renowned song cycle Die schöne Müllerin (based on poems by Wilhelm Müller), which was composed by The Mitchells for the performance with a mix of some of the original text but many new lyrics. The music itself is all new, written by the band with some references to the original. Concert:nova will perform its five-song reworking of Schubert’s Winterreise, which was originally written after Die schöne Müllerin and also features Müller’s poetry.

The unique show begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $25 through cincyticket.com or $30 at the door. More on the project can be found at themitchellsmusic.com.


CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]


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