David Dallas’ “The Rose Tint” Album Release Party @ Mercury Lounge
Who said New Zealand is only good for Lord of the Rings and Flight of the Conchords? Although it boasts some of the greatest scenery in the eastern hemisphere, the kiwi nation is now stepping its way into the ring of east coast hip hop, with David Dallas as their prize fighter.
New York City hip hop label, Duck Down Records, has recently signed Dallas with the primary goal of promoting his May 2011 debut, The Rose Tint. And for those out of the know, this past monday was the celebratory release party at NYC’s own Mercury Lounge, a fun-filled evening with the aim of respecting the past and laying down the red carpet for future talent.
Producer Just Blaze kicked off the evening with an hour-long DJ set introduced by Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg; a radio personality whose unique brand of urban schtick is always appreciated. But when Just Blaze stepped to the decks, his mix encapsulated the essence of time travel, beginning with old school east coast cuts a la KRS-One and De La Soul and ending with recently-produced tracks of his own. His technical prowess shone through as he sculpted creative blends between his own productions and the classic records he sampled.
By the time the crowd was warm, Canadian Duck Down artist, Promise, took the stage, performing a handful of tracks from his June release, Awakening. Highlights included “Clark Kent,” a track valorizing covert heroism in a musical culture defined by showiness, and “Back When (Things Were Simple),” a lyrical reminiscence of the simplicity and innocence of youth. As cheesy as it sounds, Promise most definitely represents a promise for solid hip hop to come. Check out a prior BRM post involving him here.
In the break before David Dallas’ set, I stepped outside with a friend to get some air. While standing by the entrance, we joined a conversation between Duck Down co-owner and Black Moon member, Buckshot, and a curious passerby. The two were discussing the music being performed inside, as the passerby was a recent immigrant from Saudi Arabia and had never been exposed to American hip hop. He kept insisting that classical music was his one and only pleasure. But as a testament to the evening, I must say that I later saw this man amongst the audience, beer in hand and smiling.
It makes sense though, as David Dallas’ rhythmic, in-the-pocket flow over funky, West-coast inspired instrumentals was difficult to find fault with. There existed a wonderful contradiction between his seemingly seasoned technique and the endearing youthfulness of his performance- a combination that is always appreciated with an upcoming artist. His continual trips to his DJ’s computer to pick songs reminded me of the college hip hop shows I used to go to in my university’s dining hall – except this time with bucketloads of added talent.
Philly up-and-comer, Tayyib Ali, later joined Dallas in a performance of their collab track, “Feel Like Oasis,” a musical metaphor for feeling on top of the game and self-secure. He followed up with a solo performance of his own, “Keystone State of Mind,” providing enough proof that his name is also one to look out for in the coming years.
The evening ended with Buckshot and Dallas trading verses on “Ain’t Comin Down,” a proverbial passing of the torch one might say, and with David Dallas, I believe that Duck Down is making a solid decision.
Check out a live video from the show below
Words by Jon Mennella
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