TONIGHT: 99 Neighbors at Higher Ground


Today is a big one for the 99 Neighbors crew. HANKNATIVE's debut album, Problem Child, dropped just past midnight, and tonight, they'll be headlining at Higher Ground. Few readers need to be told this, but just in case: that's a big fucking deal around here. A rite of passage, a local landmark, and at the very least, proof of a real and growing fanbase.

They earned it all honestly. "High-energy, carefully calculated live sets" is a strategy that will never stop working. No matter what miraculous paths technology takes the music business down in the future, you'll still need to deliver those goods and rap your ass off onstage. 99 Neighbors are coming off a string of triumphant performances lately, from their Open House party at ArtsRiot to their closing set at this year's A_Dog Day

It's also been less than a month since the release of Sam.'s solo project, Collision. The collective is carving a very distinctive lane in 2018, with sharp bars, catchy hooks, and an emphasis on real songwriting -- as opposed to just rapping over beats. For a prime example, check out "Problems," a track that builds HANKNATIVE's fluid raps into melodic movements. Auto-tuned earworms aside, it's damn near prog rock, in terms of the structure. 

This is a young crew with essentially no limits. Their willingness to explore and musical ambition is matched by their quality control. Every track in their catalog sounds professional, and Somba is simply a beast.

So. They'll be at Higher Ground's Showcase Lounge this evening for an all ages show. Go and see that. Show starts at 8:30, $10 at the door. 

Justin Boland