Blu & Exile Below The Heavens Anniversary Tour – Tickets – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR – September 12th, 2017

Blu & Exile Below The Heavens Anniversary Tour

Underground LA hip-hop icons celebrate the tenth anniversary of their brilliant landmark album

Blu & Exile Below The Heavens Anniversary Tour

Dag Savage, Choosey, Cashus King, The Last Artful, Dodgr, Tope, Pistol McFly

Tue, September 12, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$18 ADV / $20 DOS

This event is 21 and over

Mostly Standing / Limited Balcony Seats 

Blu & Exile
Blu & Exile
"The underground Los Angeles-based duo of MC Blu (b. Johnson Barnes) and DJ/producer Exile (b. Aleksander Manfredi) earned widespread acclaim right out of the gate with their debut album, Below the Heavens (2007), which critics crowned as the seemingly perfect marriage of Blu's everyday-struggle raps and Exile's Pete Rock- and J Dilla-inspired production. Blu, struggling to make ends meet at the time, first crossed paths with Exile in the early to mid-2000s, while the rapper earned gigs as a hype man for various soul/hip-hop outfits like Slum Village, Platinum Pied Pipers, and Exile's own duo, Emanon. In fact, Blu knew the other half of Emanon, MC/singer Aloe Blacc, who then introduced the two to each other. Deciding to sign to L.A. independent label Sound in Color, Exile's label home, in 2004, Blu began cutting a few records with the DJ/producer and assisted him with his solo LP, Dirty Science (2006). Blu was still trying to break into the industry, but Exile was enjoying production credits for the likes of Jurassic 5, Kardinal Offishall, and Mobb Deep. The release of the soul-entrenched collaborative effort, Below the Heavens in August 2007, put them both in the limelight and had fans of the alternative rap scene buzzing; however, it specifically garnered Blu many "Artist to Watch" features in various magazine and online publications throughout the year and into 2008. During subsequent years, they worked apart more than together; nevertheless, 2012 brought another co-billed LP, Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them." —Allmusic
Cashus King
The Last Artful, Dodgr
If you were to only listen to the chatter online and in the newspapers and magazines of the world, you'd likely think that the only music being made in Portland, Oregon was lovelorn folk and literate indie rock. But scratch below that surface, and you'll find a strong, vibrant underground hip-hop scene that dominates the stages and eardrums of the city for decades.

The Portland rap game couldn't stay below street level forever. Word is starting to spread about the talent the Rose City boasts, and the one name that keeps popping up on people's lips is a rapper known simply as Tope.

A good deal of that attention is due to the respect that Tope has earned for the years he's committed to the scene. Starting in his teens, he's been a fixture at local hip-hop showcases and freestyle jams. He eventually started a pair of groups, Living Proof (with Seattle-based rapper Prem) and the well-respected crew TxE with Epp and Calvin Valentine (aka G_Force). Tope has also been providing production help and dropping by for guest appearances on tracks by artists including Abstract Rude, Myka 9, TiRon, Planet Asia, Scarub, Co$$, LMNO, and many more.

As any restless and talented artist would, Tope has been stepping out on his own, releasing solo albums that have only burnished his talent even brighter. Last year's Until The Next Time We Meet was a bold step forward, but he's evolved in leaps and bounds on his latest EP Trouble Man.

This eight-song collection is a daring and fearless one, with a willingness to fold live instrumentation into the soulful mix, some smartly chosen samples (check out how "Got To Be Real" bumps through "Family Affair," his collaboration with fellow Portland rhymers Grinch and Spaceman), and some deep lyrical content.

Says Tope: "This project is my most personal to date expressing themes regarding my family, the death of my mom and grandpa, absence of my dad, relationships with girls, the struggle of trying to make it musically." He doesn't wallow in self-pity though. No, these songs are about coming to accept the bumpy road that helped form his personality and, even with the grind of trying to get heard in the overflowing world of hip-hop, loving the game as he plays it.

Tope's burden to be accepted in the wider music world is getting lighter and lighter these days. He's already a well-respected member of the Portland scene, having placed at #6 on Willamette Week's Best New Bands of 2012 list, joining the likes of Radiation City, Onuinu, and his collaborator Reva Devito, as well as #2 on The Deli Magazine's Emerging Artist List of 2011. The East Coast is starting to take notice now, too, with legendary NY & Philly Record Labels knocking on his door, and features in VICE and Frank 151 Magazine. And as ever, he's become a go-to opener for hip-hop's best and brightest when they make it to the Rose City. To date, he's shared the stage with Nas, Talib Kweli, Dom Kennedy, Blu, Macklemore, Mac Miller, Shabazz Palaces, Dead Prez, Nappy Roots, Digable Planets, The Coup, and many more.

The whole of the U.S. is waking up to, and showing lots of love and respect for, what Tope brings to the table. Now it's time for the rest of the world to take notice.