Peering at the audience on the small dance floor of Portagalia in Ocean Beach, you realize that We Are Hip Hop II is less a concert than a family reunion. It starts onstage. Between Trust One's nearly indecipherable syllable chopping, Circle Empire's bleak death marching, and Skrapez' tweeked-out, World War III-inciting instrumentals, the hip-hop on display is made purely, unapologetically for a niche that dwells deep in the hip-hop underground. Music for heads, by heads.
The heads in this crowd consist of little more than the scheduled performers and a few friends that each performer brings along for the night. Which would sound sad if everyone present wasn't having such a great time. Performers jump into the crowd, giving dap to their friends and other performers. In one instance, rapper Stunt Double obtains an iPhone from a producer on the floor to perform a song the two had just finished hours prior. After his set, he heads to the bar for a beer only to be stopped at every step by a fan, friend, fellow artist - or all three - who he happily greets. Really, it's a recurring motif for the night. Every other minute, you bear witness to the seeming discovery of some long-lost friend, complete with raucous laughter and backbreaking man-hugs. The affection is palpable. The performers thrive off it. The crowd jumps to the performers' energy. This is the unity that San Diego hip-hop says it wants.
Concert: Circle Empire, Parker & the Numberman, Trust One, Skrapez, Stunt Double
Date: October 15
Seats: General admission
Photo from myspace.com/parkerthenumberman