Just when you thought LB Johnson and DJ Baqbeet couldn't top themselves, they did it again! Not only do they have one of the most organic open mics I've seen around town, they featured an up and coming artist that deserves the attention he's starting to get - Darris Robins. LB billed the other open mic'ers as an "extended opening act". There were some really good musicians that graced the stage, including guitarists, David Lindgren, John Tree, Masi Kast with her soulful voice, Andy Hyland the funk/soul dynamo, a young guy named Moses and a few others whose names have escaped our attention at the moment. Emcees Dr. Dan, See No Evo, Dizzie, Ike Zero, and Codeine rocked the crowd with their mix of hip hop beats and hard hitting lyrics covering subjects from the hustle to expanding ones mind, to not succumbing to the abuse of bullies. There were a couple organic jams where LB, Moses, DJ BaqBeet, Dr. Dan playing bass and didgeridoo, and Tim Collins on the drums wowed the crowd with beats and guitar licks that had everyone grooving. At one point they invited emcees to the stage to fill the time they had allotted for the jams, with Ciej and See No Evo joining in on the festivities. There was even a digital set provided by Andrew Garrison and a trumpeter whose name escapes the mind. The mysterious man with trumpet even joined one of the organic jams at one point as well. The open mic so good, the St. Louis Post - Dispatch has picked up on it and listed on the STL Today website. Any new artists should definitely come and enjoy the atmosphere, support and the amazing back line. Then came the featured artist of the night - Darris Robins.
After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Robins returned to St. Louis to pursue a career in music. His newest project 'My Dark Twisted Freshman Year' flies in the face of today's mainstream hip hop - covering subjects such as violence against women and many of the other world's ills. Robins considers his music experimental Hip Hop Rock Fusion, and if you didn't know he was 20 years old, you might think he grew up in the time that mainstream hip hop music still had a message. This self-proclaimed revolutionary spirit, produces, raps and much, much more as those of us lucky enough to experience the LBJ Presents after party got to witness. His delivery is so different, you may not notice that he has timed his lyrics to a different time signature altogether. In addition, the chord progressions in his music are not the typical calculated formulas you might hear on the radio. It's refreshing to see someone so young not falling victim to the copycat mentality found in the music industry these days. If you haven't heard his album, listen to it here. To top it all off this was a free show. Typically Robins performs with a band, but that show you'll have to pay for. Robins says he is not currently booking shows, but make sure you have a listen and look out for him around St. Louis in the near future.