One thing I don’t think people understand is the politics & how they play out for rappers, even independent, DIY, underground, pro-Black, conscious guys like myself. Politics mixed with rapper egos & emotions mixed together can be toxic, even when it’s not that much money involved. Hell, sometimes I think folk of my ilk take it MORE personal due to our love for craft, aft, & culture.
I will tread light (kinda), because this was a situation between friends that had to be rectified when shit went kinda left. I booked this particular show with a promoter back in March. About a month out, I asked him deets for the event, he didn’t have any, so I asked for the address to the venue, and asked can I make a generic flyer for the event, you know, so I can flex on the gram. I did.
In the meantime I’d already been long booked for another show I was supposed to do the next week, after my Hattiesburg show. So one day I see the Hattiesburg promoter post a flyer, I wasn’t tagged in it or anything. I notice that the name on the event flyer is the same name as the event I was supposed to do the following week, but a different spelling. Till this day, in my heart of hearts, I think it was a coincidence. Reason being, my guy the following week has been running that event in his town for a few years, but I’d heard another rapper in the same state use that same phrase in his in car freestyles. Buddy had tee’s with the saying on it & e’thang. Also, Hattiesburg is country af, as is my guy who booked me. He told me that he DJ’s every Friday at this spot that’s literally a juke joint, and that he can bring me up to rock because he has full go ahead on promoting & programming that night. My guy in Hattiesburg had never done this event before, and I truly believe he picked this name because he knows I’m a Hip-Hop guy & not a club rapper. He was afraid his crowd wouldn’t like me.
Fast forward, I post the flyer, and my guy in the other state and his friends are pissed because the events have the same name. I tell them I think it’s a coincidence, that I was pretty sure buddy in Mississippi heard of him or his scene before, and explained why I think he chose that name. They were still mad, but I felt I was heard and thought nothing else of it. 2 weeks before I go to Hattiesburg, I’m in Jackson, MS waking up early on a Saturday morning after a late night of recording, and I see my guy who drove the event with the same name was hittin me with the Facebook slander. I called homie, we had the talk, explained our sides, squared it away immediately. It’s all love & respect now, but it was kinda “tense” for a lil minute there.
Anyways, this particular trip, I MADE my producer, biz partner, investor, supporter, etc. Joe On the Track go with me to Hattiesburg. He’s been one of my in house producers for 10 yrs, and he produced “Cry Freedom,” in it’s entirety, & that motherfucker NEVER wants to leave BR and travel with me. Well I guilted him to going this time. I booked the rooms in advance, and tryinna save money, I opt to stay in Motel 6 for $42 a night, as the next cheapest room was $71 a night at the Quality Inn.
Mane I shoulda paid that extra bread yeah.
This room was so damn small… We might as well shared a bed (pause). That bih ain’t have nann microwave or fridge, and had a old ass fat TV. When we pulled up, it was a group of scraggly looking thugs trappin out the hotel by the stairs, and a white girl who I’m sure was being prostituted. Tragic.
We pull up to the venue, and it’s in a semi rural area on the “other side of the tracks.” It legit is a juke joint. Joe described it as the place where they shot Crucial Conflict’s “Hay In The Middle Of The Barn Video.” I knew it was real when the first guy who walked in as we set up had dreads, a blue tank top with grass I’m sure that came from bailing hay, and some NDC* 11’s[sic] on.
As I go to the restroom, I see a nigga size me up, I ask him “Wassup?” He replies, “Nah I’m just fuckin witcha Big Dog, you look like Killer Mike.”
Bet. On the way out the restroom, I see a sign that basically says “no fighting, gang signs, or foolishness.” The funny thing was, there was an illustration of a nigga getting his ass whipped on sign lolololol. Now the crowd is filling in, & the DJ is playing a lot of dirty south rap. Reminding me a lot of my hometown in Oklahoma.
First act goes up. Buddy was a country Panda. Rapping/singing over his vocals, doing his own rendition of “This Little Lite of Mine,” and New Editions “Can You Stand The Rain,” except homie sang, “Can you stand the tornado’s.”
Next was this tall fine sister. She asks for a male to be her “victim” on stage, next thing you know there’s two niggas on this small stage thirsting to be her “victim,” & neither one of these fools budged. So she did her thing, rapping, singing, trying not to fall off of this small flimsy stage only 6 inches off the ground, damn near falling down a few times. Next song she does her club record, and invites her friend to come on stage as her background dancer (who was quite fine too), but the stage is too small for them to really get busy.
Next is me. Before he brings me up, the DJ plays Killer Mike’s verse on “Kill Jill” to get the crowd ready for me. I’ll never escape these comparisons, & I’m cool with that. I start off by doing my acapella. NDC. Mind you, I’m the only person not rappng over vocals, and I’m really snappin. They wasn’t expecting that, so they didn’t really know how to react. I do “Bad Man,” & see a few ladies looking, and a couple of country gangstas (I say this with love, because that’s where I come from) nodding their heads, but only the sisters who performed gave me any crowd participation.
So I tried my 5 things segue. Once again, NDC.
I do “Boss,” & now the people are kinda moving a lil bit. I didn’t even try for crowd response, just tried to really impress them with my rapping skills, which I think worked because a few people came and dapped me on stage.
Last, I hit them with an acapella about Black Jesus, and went in to “Stare & Whisper.” THIS was the song they fucked with. Lesson I learned, always do you. I tried to hit them with my more upbeat/street records, and even tho they are good records, that’s not what I do best. We in hard times Mississippi, where MF’s really overstand the plight to overcome the struggle. Now I see them vibing with me. I feel great. I take it all the way to church. I felt somewhat redeemed.
When I went to sit by my merch area, a few people came and dapped me down. Nobody shopped with me, but being from a small town, I know it’s hard to give in outsider props but, for them to come speak to me meant something.
Out of respect for the people in Hattiesburg, I won’t even go into detail on what made me Joe’s night for the rest of the evening. Let’s just say it was some small town gangstas and women in there cuttin up. It was hilarious. A grand ole country time.
I will say this tho… Every time I go on the road, I always find the booty club afterwards. When I asked the guy who booked me wazzup with the strip club, his reply was, “They shut the strip clubs down because the police was fucking all the strippers. But I can get some girls to strip for you if that’s what you’re looking for…”
Me, “No thanks.”
Me inside, “WTF?”
In the midst of all this small town litness, the people were consummate professionals and super friendly. Got paid right & exact, they helped me park, told me when I left lights on in the van, just super down to earth good people. IDK if it’s the right fit for me to come back & perform, but I’d def come back with some friends & cut tf up. We’re actually already planning on bringing some new artists we’re working with, but we’ll table that for later…
I never asked the promoter in Hattiesburg had he heard of the super duper true to the culture of the essence of the elements show in the other state before. And I never will, because judging by the way the night went there, I’m 3000% sure he or anybody in Hattiesburg at that venue that night, knows, or cares.
Venue Rating: 2.5/5 (Great place to turn up, drink, smoke, hop on some big booties, and have fist fights, not great for a Hip-Hop show)
Crowd Response: 0.5/5
Merch Sales: 0/5
Next Show: June 29rd, @ The HandleBar, Pensacola, Florida
Baton Rouge veteran emcee Marcel P. Black has already received high praise from some of the most well respected names in Hip-Hop. Most recently Marcel was featured on XXL.com’s list “12 Baton Rouge Rappers You Should Know,” also highlighted on HipHopDX.com’s “Up Next By DX” feature. Marcel regularly tours the Southeast, Gulf Coast, and Southwest, appearing at Atlanta’s A3C Festival, as well as other festivals in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, & Tennessee.