Last week, I was fortunate enough to witness Blueprint’s ‘Two Head Monster’ tour at SPACE Gallery in Portland, Maine. The veteran hip hop artist was hitting the states in support of his new album – Two Headed Monster. Local hip hop organization Monday of the Minds helped put on the event, and being a longtime fan of Print, I knew I had to catch the show.
When I first got to SPACE, local kingpin ‘Graphic Melee’ had just hit the stage. Lemme break down this dude’s live show real quick. Graphic makes his own beats, runs his own turntable, AND spits his own raps…ALL without a DJ or backing tracks. Truly a multi-dimensional artist. Not only was Graphic impressive to witness as a live performer, but his music was fresh as hell too. He had just dropped his latest album Closure on the day of the show, and played most of the project for us lucky folks in the crowd. After hearing Closure in almost its entirety I gotta say – Graphic Melee is a PROBLEM. I can’t think of anyone in the Maine scene doing what he is doing right now. Shoutout his work ethic….go support that project ASAP. He absolutely crushed his set and made me a fan.
That then brings us to Mr. Blueprint himself. Damn – what a live show he puts on. This was my third time seeing him and it blew me away. He played shining gems from his new album, early cuts from the 1988 days and even some Soul Position. At one point he also pulled out a trombone and hit some notes for the crowd! Can’t think of anyone I’ve ever seen do that. And speaking of crowd, Print is a master of crowd control. He knew exactly how to get people pumped up and into the music, while still being the genuine and composed artist that he is. Blueprint has been around enough to know what he’s doing, and it was beautiful to witness his talent once more. Seeing an underground legend in my home city never gets old. If you ever get the chance to catch a Blueprint show, DO IT! You will not regret it.
Also, before I conclude, I want to shoutout Words of Phrase. He also played SPACE that night, hitting the stage right before Graphic. I unfortunately had to work right up to the show, so I missed his set. But, I did peep his latest album A Curse Called Passion, and man – that’s some pure ass hip hop. Go and support that too!
All in all, Blueprint’s performance at SPACE solidified in me why I love this hip hop shit the way I do. To witness an artist at full potential, trying new things, and constantly bettering themselve – that’s beyond inspirational. Two-Headed Monster is hands down one of Print’s best projects to date, and it was an honor hearing it live. Going above that, witnessing Graphic’s set was something else too. Knowing we have artists like that, and organizations like Monday of the Minds, in our local area show that it doesn’t matter how large or expansive one’s hip hop scene is. All that matters is the passion, unity and spirit of competition amongst those in it.
One love, and a HUGE shoutout to all the amazing people who run Monday of the Minds here in Portland. Infinitely appreciate your dedication to the culture…looking forward to many more shows down the road.
images via Benny P & Monday of the Minds
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– Benny P