On my gloomier days, I find myself wishing San Luis Obispo’s hip-hop scene were more like Minneapolis’. But on good days, such as this past Tuesday, I stop wishing and hit up a show by some of San Luis Obispo’s local talent.
This Tuesday, that talent was local rap/reggae/rock/”don’t classify us” group Bare Feet and its partners in crime, the live hip-hop group Kauzafex, as the two phenomenal groups took the stage at Frog and Peach Pub for a free Pint Night show.
Both bands are part of a growing hip-hop culture flourishing in San Luis Obispo County. Bands like Kauzafex are often a mash-up of one or more groups that are exploring with combining genres to create new musical styles, Kauzafex singer-songwriter Chad Futer said.
“A lot of different genres are teaming up together to try to make a new style of music,” Futer said.
In Kauzafex’s case, that team comes from the collaboration of Jacob Moore and Futer, who were rapping together under the name Kauzafex, with a local rock band called “Idiosyncratic Rabbit.” The result is an energetic, talented group of musicians who are passionate about pushing boundaries and providing great music.
And Tuesday’s show definitely didn’t disappoint. Aside from the bargain pints at Frog and Peach, I also got to revel in some fantastic beats and bass lines. Bare Feet was first, playing everything from reggae covers to Vince Guaraldi’s famous “Linus and Lucy” theme (and you know I Snoopy-danced).
The group may look young, but Bare Feet has an incredibly polished and tight sound. It was obvious by the number of people crowding in front of the stage, too, that everyone else agreed these guys are talented.
In its songs, the group’s influences (everything from Tenacious D to Seal) showed, while meshing to form a unique, beachy, sometimes-reggae-sometimes-rap sound.
“I don’t even know what to call it,” Futer said of Bare Feet’s original genre.
Kauzafex was next up.
Basically, I’ve loved this group ever since I figured out what the name meant (say it out loud if you’re having trouble).
Slightly older, with more of an emphasis on rap with a heavily rock-influenced sound, this group is made up of veterans of the San Luis Obispo music scene, and it shows.
The group’s performance was energetic as usual, as the crowd danced along with Kauzafex’s rhythmic, original songs.
Both groups put an emphasis on quality musicianship that I have come to expect from San Luis Obispo bands, and both are working at creating sounds and followings that are specific to their own visions.
And their collaboration between groups also helps advance San Luis Obispo’s growing live hip-hop culture, director of funk for local band Wordsauce Wesley Price said.
Where Bare Feet has reggae influences and Kauzafex rocks, Wordsauce is the funk and jazz hip-hop group. All three bands though — Kauzafex, Bare Feet and Wordsauce —help each other grow by collaborating, performing and supporting local shows, Price said.
“We’re all friends and we all like to jam and get funky with each other,” Price said.
That jamming pays off. Kauzafex, Bare Feet and Wordsauce are playing more shows at new venues, as bars downtown warm up to the idea of live hip-hop, Price said. Over the past few years bands such as Kauzafex and Wordsauce have been performing, Price has seen Mo|Tav, SLO Brewing Co. and Frog and Peach scheduling more shows with this crop of local hip-hop bands, he said.
Name recognition grows, and the members of these bands even teamed up last year to kick off a local music festival, called Rock n’ Flow, to benefit the San Luis Obispo skate park.
“There’s all sorts of talent and it’s blowing up. It gets better every day,” Price said.
So maybe San Luis Obispo doesn’t have Atmosphere, or P.O.S. In the end, though, I’m OK with that. Because Tuesday night, I got to dance to some incredibly talented local musicians, and more importantly, feel like a part of San Luis Obispo’s own unique rap world — one which is growing and thriving, and promises to get better.