Presidential Emcees headline a night of pure hip hop @ Paid Dues

Paid Dues Festival, Sat. March 24th 2007

The second annual Paid Dues Festival is one of the very reasons hip-hop is alive and well in Southern California. The first installment of hip-hop summer festivals from the Guerilla Union crew continues to shine as a source of authentic rap music, as Murs follows Barack Obama’s lead and continues his run for hip-hop presidency.

Paid Dues kicked off early at 2pm with acts like Devin The Dude, Pigeon John and Evidence w/ Alchemist setting the tone for the evening. Zion I & The Grouch lit the stage with Amp Live and Charlie 2Na holding them down as they rocked cuts from their Heroes In The City Of Dope CD. The energy was high as they did it big for Oakland. Cage came through with his Smut Peddlers style, rocking his track “Shoot Frank” to a warm reception.

The Visionaries took over the stage as 2Mex, KeyKool, LMNO and the crew made the crowd drop and do crop circles all over the place! One of the night’s highlight performances, punctured with a nice boom bap session on the MPC by DJ Rhettmatic.

Mr. Lif dropped some heavy science and went for the Paid In Dues crowd’s jugular as he ripped his underground hits, bringing his concious east coast style to the sunny Cali venue. Pure hip-hop talent graced the stage as BK representer Jean Grae rocked the crowd with a mic in one hand and her cup of vodka in the other, ripping through a 20 minute set with ease.

Brother Ali laid it down heavy with cuts from his upcoming album The Undisputed Truth, showing the crowd his Rhymesayers backed flow. Blackalicious brought musicians and background singers onstage to lift it up to their level, while Gift of Gab showed why many people consider him as one of the best emcees alive. His multi syllable rapid fire flow is off the charts and very important seeing he freestyles like that. The night was caped by performances by Sage Francis, and the show headliners Felt with Slug & Ant and Murs, who announced he was signed by Warner Brothers and will deliver a hip-hop classic on a major very soon.

It seems that Mur’s dues have been truly paid, as he wraps up his second major rap festival with a gift of major label signing to cap it all off. By the amount of people floating around the pavilion and the tons of merchanside on hand by venodrs like, Rhymesayers, Visionaries & Up Above Records and more, this event was a huge sucess that will be back next year with more independent hip-hop.

Check out my Flickr photo set for pics from the show.


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Paid Dues Website

(Also posted at

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