Beats of Hope
Rhythmic rebellion: On the night of President Donald Trump’s inauguration ball, another, more attendance-worthy concert took place. DJ Abilities hosted a show at Sol Collective to send out positive vibes during a weekend of mixed emotions. Featured performers—including Hobo Johnson, SpaceWalker and the Philharmonik, among others—contributed to the movement with powerful words about our future.
While our nation’s outlook seems distressing, these artists’ careers are booming. Last week, Hobo Johnson signed with Los Angeles-based Control Music Group. More quietly, but no less powerfully, Sacramento rapper and producer the Philharmonik has hit the music scene with full force.
Since releasing his EP Good People, the Philharmonik has been busy with collaborations, creating beat compilations and sharpening his sound. At the show last Friday, the Philharmonik dropped hidden gems of sound onto the crowd with refreshingly organic tones. He spit words that resonated with the audience and reflected what many of us were thinking: We’re young people in the world trying to grow, but because we’re faced with negative forces keeping us down, we’re deciding if we should make peace or riot. His lyrics represented a deep dichotomy between wanting to change the world with love vs. rebellion—an urban, musical form of the yin and yang.
One of his songs hit home: “Stay Woke.” As the low tones of bass steadily crept before the hook, he said, “Stay woke … don’t believe the shit that you’ve been told.” Throughout the show, the Philharmonik played a few covers from artists like J. Cole and Kanye West, and debuted some new material from an upcoming project. He uplifted the crowd and promoted the importance of growing through your mistakes.
On February 17, the Philharmonik will perform live at Ruhstaller Taproom (630 K Street) at 10 p.m. He’ll make beats on the spot in a showcase that promises to be an amazing display of raw creation.
Radio silence: The record store fit for a Prince—yes, that Prince was once a customer—sadly closed last week. Records (1618 Broadway) shuttered after the owner, Kevin Hartman, balked at a $500 rent hike. Lovers of soul, R&B, hip-hop, punk and vinyl, no matter the genre, are mourning its loss.
“This is as sad as when Tower closed,” wrote Wesley Peden on its Facebook page.
To that, the owner offered a glint of hope: He’s still passively looking for a new, “significantly smaller” space.
For now, Hartman plans to keep the good records and sell some of them on eBay (www.ebay.com/usr/k-street_records), he wrote to SN&R.
“The store was taking up too much of my time and energy,” he wrote. “I feel that it’s good to at least have a break at this point.”
He’s not the only one enjoying the time off. The store’s mascot, the snowy white cat Joey (named after Joey Ramone), has curled up into early retirement.
“I think he’s much happier at home,” Hartman wrote. “He doesn’t have people messing with him.”
If Hartman does decide to move the store, it wouldn’t be the first time. Records opened in the 1970s on K Street and relocated to 1618 Broadway in the 2000s.
Throughout nearly a half-century, the musical mecca wove into local lore. Acerbic cartoonist R. Crumb designed the logo that emblazons its iconic storefront.
A photo of Records’ aisles, packed floor to eye level with sleeves, graced the cover of DJ Shadow’s seminal 1996 hip-hop album Entroducing. The 13 tracks layer samples of funk and blues standards, comedy bits and horror flicks, most of the sounds gathered from Records’ shelves. A palimpsest of the store’s history, Entroducing might become an ode to a long-lost record store. But let’s hope not.