Hip hop for the holidays this Friday at Gabe’s

AWTHNTKTS’ ION (left) johndope (center) and Romulan. — photo by Trina Thompson

For those of us wishing to give back this holiday, and to hear some music devoid of the treacly sentimentality of traditional holiday fa-la-la, Gabe’s presents the 1st Annual Hip Hop for the Holidays Donation Drive this Friday at 9 p.m.

There are three things I like about this event. 1. I don’t have to wear an ugly f*&%^ing sweater (If ugly sweaters are your thing, by the way, The Mill is hosting a Crisis Center benefit party this Thursday at 9 p.m.). 2. By bringing a donation of food, clothes or toys, admission is only $5 ($10 without a donation). Non-perishables will be donated to the Crisis Center, toys and clothes to The Salvation Army. 3. This is a sick lineup of regional hip-hop acts that showcases the growing Iowa rap scene — plus it’s a steal at less than a buck a band.

The show was organized by Trina Thompson with help from Pete Rentz of the Twin Cities’ Bloody Boombox label. The festivities will also honor the birthday of Brandon “Johndope” Calkins, of AWTHNTKTS. AWTHNTKTS are the biggest deal in Iowa City hip-hop at the moment, opening for national acts like Black Milk and No Bird Sing. Their in-your-face delivery and braggadocio make for an always-entertaining set.

Joining AWTHNTKTS will be Baby Jayne, Imperfekt, Mike Shank, MC Rentz, Katana, AS IS and prettygirlhatemachine. Shank will drop his dark, cerebral lyrics over syrupy-slow beats to get your head bobbing and your mind churning. MC Rentz and Cedar Rapids’ Imperfekt bring more danceable party beats to the mix.

One of my most-anticipated acts of the evening to is Baby Jayne — a rapper and visual artist from Sterling, Iowa. Not only will Baby Jayne get your body movin’ with her smart, sassy rhymes, she’ll also have her bead-work and art for sale along with several other Iowa City mixed media artists.

With DJ Omatic and Wolf Mixer spinning downstairs for free, there should be something for everybody at Gabe’s this Friday. Enjoy!

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