Harking back to Trillectro, a handful of artists drew reactions and commanded attention from the crowd famished for anything Hip-Hop/electronic inspired. Schoolboy Q and Casey Veggies obviously had everyone going apeshit. Oddisee, Phony Ppl, Tabi Bonney all did their thing, too. But, it was Grande Marshall who left the most lasting impression and definitely a name to pay attention to in the coming weeks and months.
For one, Marshall was a last minute addition to the lineup and the first one to perform if I’m not mistaken, which turned out to be arguably one of the best low-key decisions Modi and crew made. Where many “up and coming” artist need vast improvement with stage acumen, G.M. moved around constantly connecting with fans on an individual basis. Is it perfect? By no means, but he does devote a certain energy to his life on stage making it almost effortless to connect with his music. At one point, buddy launched into an acapella forcing everyone – literally everyone – to stop what they were doing and focus on the skinny kid from The City of Brotherly Love.
Following his set, Grande and I caught up where he quickly informed his new mixtape would be dropping in the coming days. He was proud of the work and beginning to see his music was reaching people far beyond his circle. And sometimes, at least at first, that means more than a check. Staying true to my word, I gave 800 a spin and you wouldn’t be reading these words unless it was worth the price of admission. And by price of admission, simply clicking play will suffice. The project is cohesive, gliding through scrunchy-face lyric numbers (“Dearly Beloved”) and soporific “trippy” loony trips (“1020s”). And what he did to “GODBPM”? If that track alone isn’t selling point, then maybe we’re listening to two completely different tapes.
While it’d be extremely foolish and “prisoner of the moment”-esque to dub Grande Marshall as the “new voice of Philadelphia” rap, it’s not to say 800 is an enjoyable listen and probably something you should tell a friend, to tell a friend to tell a friend to listen to. Cultivated by traditionally one of the roughest cities in America, 800 captures that mentality and hunger. Pending Grande pans out, this could be a new rosebud set to sprout from the city’s cracked concrete which birthed the likes of Beanie Sigel, Freeway, The Young Gunz and Meek Mill.
And if he doesn’t, at least the tape rides.