Presented by Bowery Boston
Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm
Tickets on sale Fri 11/8 at 10am!
Tickets available at AXS.COM, or by phone at 855-482-2090. No service charge on tickets purchased in person at The Sinclair Box Office Wednesdays-Saturdays 12-7PM.
Please note: this show is 18+ with valid ID. Patrons under 18 admitted if accompanied by a parent. Opening acts and set times are subject to change without notice. All sales are final unless a show is postponed or canceled. All bags larger than 12 inches x 12 inches, backpacks, professional cameras, video equipment, large bags, luggage and like articles are strictly prohibited from the venue. Please make sure necessary arrangements are made ahead of time. All patrons subject to search upon venue entry.
The very first day Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot of EarthGang met, their school caught on fire. On a field trip, they’d discovered they had similar tastes in music and that neither was scared to say exactly what he was thinking. As their bus turned toward campus, they saw smoke billowing and felt the hand of serendipity at work. Everything around them was burning down, leaving something new, a phoenix, in its wake—their partnership.
“We just had our own vibe,” says Doctur Dot. “We weren’t doing music just to get rich and drink a bunch of lean. Nah. We just wanna make music best we can.”
A handful of years later, that’s precisely what they’ve become known for. Marrying lean, sharp-eyed lyricism with Southern-fried soul to produce keep-em-guessing projects like their most recent, 2015’s Strays With Rabies or the much-lauded 2013 Shallow Graves for Toys, they embody the best of the new generation of music—and plenty of critics and fans alike have taken note. Noisey lavished praise on the duo, calling their work a
“I’m always trying to push the limits of things,” says Johnny Venus.
“We tend to work with producers that wanna break some rules. They pull out their secret stuff – the reason they do that is they know we aren’t constricted to one type of sound, one type of rhythm or attitude. We contain multitudes,” continues Dot.
It wasn’t always that way. As they were coming up in Atlanta, the guys found it difficult not only to find producers that wanted to work with them, but also mentors, surprising in a city with such a rich rap history. “In the beginning, we didn’t have nobody that wanted to work with us, so we worked by ourselves and made the most of it,” says Dot. “We didn’t have anybody else who thought we should be doing it.”
That all changed with 2011’s Mad Men project. With their nimble wordplay and ability to color outside the line, comparisons to another local group—Outkast—cropped up, and EarthGang quickly became a name to know. They were branded a clever indie hip-hop act, and for a big part of their career, they were, as Dot puts it, “surfing the indie ocean and doing real good.” But as the years have passed, that label has become constricting.
Now, they find themselves stretching beyond the “indie hip-hop” brand, ready to reach a wider audience with sharp-slick lyrics that cut through the hazy blur of ratchet rap and an avid interest in never settling or resting on their laurels. “A lot of people in the industry get caught up in: ‘This is what I do.’ With us, it’s like, ‘This is what I could do? Shit, I’m gonna try doing that.’ As long as it keeps being fun, we gonna keep doing it,” Venus says.
renewal for Atlanta, a departure from the city’s familiar club sounds … Every song
arrived fully formed, hitting hard and landing jokes while also delving deep into political
issues, especially topics of race.” Working with fellow bout-to-blow artists like J.I.D. and
established producers like J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, they’ve continued to hit curve balls
musically, surprising not only their fan base, but also themselves.
Fittingly, there’s no one genre that can hold EarthGang. “I describe the sound how you describe freedom. There are twelve notes on the keyboard and I love every single one of them with all my heat. That’s my sound,” Venus says.
“We’re making the transition and recognizing our response as artists. I don’t mean we gotta save every kid in every hood, but when you represent something to somebody, the best you think you can do is accept responsibility for what you have to do. Freedom,” Dot echoes. “We gonna take ‘em to another world.”
Mick Jenkins’ writing is rich with hard-won perspective and dotted with impressively specific, naturalistic details. But on a thematic level, it digs deeper than the here and now, the bus stop in front of him, the string of tour dates looming ahead. His music explores things that humans feel on an intuitive level but struggle to fully understand. From the nature of familiar and romantic love to the elements that sustain life itself, he burrows deep into our collective unconscious in an attempt to give order to the world. With his new album, Piece of A Man––due out August 3, 2018 on Cinematic Music Group. Mick goes further than he ever has before toward a unified theory of hip-hop: rigorous but sensitive, technical but deeply musical.
Born in Huntsville, Alabama at the end of the George Bush years, Mick moved to Chicago with the women in his life––his mother and sister––when he was ten years old. This set up two important factors that would shape his world view, and ultimately his music. On one hand, he became embedded in the fabric of the city, adopting some of its sensibilities and slang, and benefitting from its growing array of opportunities for young creatives. On the other, his early childhood in a radically different environment gave him the outsider’s perspective that allows him, to this day, to turn a critical eye to his surroundings.
After a brief stint at an Alabama college––he planned to study law––Mick was back in Chicago for good, pursuing music with all his energy. It wasn’t long before he scored a major breakthrough, with his stunning mixtape The Water[s]. Released in August of 2014, that record announced Mick as a major creative force, an artist who synthesized early-20th century poets with hip-hop’s most powerful voices. The Water[s] earned rapturous praise from critics and magazines, but also from rap’s most respected underground pioneers: Busdriver, in a rare piece of written criticism, called Mick’s talent “gloriously uncommon.”
In the few years since The Water[s], Mick has used his new platform to grow, evolve, and continue to challenge audiences. He broke new technical ground with the bright and adventurous Waves and delivered an immensely thoughtful debut album with 2016’s The Healing Component; in recent months he dropped a pair of critically-acclaimed EPs, Or More; The Anxious and Or More; The Frustration.
Where he once drew creative inspiration from those poets, Mick’s new drive for synthesis has led him to closely examine other artistic mediums. Short films, he says, have impacted his new, daring work with their narrative density and clever manipulation of format. He’s also taken to imagining his new songs being performed live in front of audiences, and driving himself to craft tracks that will elicit awe from observers who have never heard them before.
While Mick remains committed to clarity, he accepts that, in striving to make great art, he’s going to challenge people’s preconceptions and perhaps push them out of their comfort zones. “I think it’s natural for art to be misunderstood, especially art that is intended to serve a message,” he says. For the most part, though, he finds that his audience gravitates to his central messagoes above all else: spread love, drink more water. “Those are themes that shine through, even if you can’t understand or break down or some of the deeper aspects,” he says, pausing to consider the relationship forward thinking has always had with the culture at large. “But show me some art that’s not misunderstood.”