The Independent is a hip and intimate venue nestled between the Lower Haight and Anza Vista. The lineup for the evening was to be MAYDAY and Dead Prez. MAYDAY is a rising hip-hop duo from Miami, consisting of rappers Bernz and Wrekonize, and percussionist NonMS. They’ve been signed to Tech N9ne’s record label Strange Music since 2011. Dead Prez is another hip-hop duo consisting of stic.man and M-1. The duo formed in New York in 1996, and has produced many socially conscious songs with topics ranging from Pan-Africanism to the corporate control of contemporary media.
Upon entering, MAYDAY was introduced with a funky bongo-sounding drum roll. They stepped onto stage with high energy, kicking off their set with some of their older tunes from past collaborations with rapper Murs. Some of their biggest hits were from the MursDay (2014) album collaboration; many of the songs they played that evening were from earlier albums rather than from their recent album Search Party (2017). Once MAYDAY’s set ended, there was an encore, after which they played “Shortcuts and Dead Ends.”
Dead Prez promptly followed. Sadly, there were no collaboration songs or overlap between the two rap duos, and though they came out a little less enthusiastically than MAYDAY, their stage presence was powerful and captivating. As their set went on they each shed jackets: M-1 was wearing a T-shirt asserting that “Queens Make Kings” and stic.man was sporting a “Spiritual Gangster” tank top. They played hits such as, “Hell Yeah,”“They School,” and of course, “Hip Hop,” to which the audience responded ecstatically. The set wrapped up around midnight, and fans filed onto the sidewalk where they spoke loudly and fondly of the night’s performance.
Written & Photos by Circe Ament