Arts & Culture

A Night of Old-School Hip-Hop at Wildcraft Cider Works

Located at 232 Lincoln Street in Eugene is Wildcraft Cider Works. Wildcraft’s cider is crafted from “sustainably gathered” locally grown ingredients. With an ethically driven philosophy, Wildcraft seeks to support their local community in all that they do.

For a while now, Wildcraft has been hosting concerts and events, in both their upstairs balcony as well as in the warehouse. The event schedule is typically lined with performances from a variety of genres but this spring season’s lineup is filled with rap and hip-hop performances.

On Mar. 22, Wildcraft welcomed “the legendary Detroit hip-hop group Slum Village,” along with Abstract Mindstate and Vocab Slick and DJ True Justice for a night of fantastic hip-hop and rap.    

The event flyer for the concert at Wildcraft Cider Works on March 22, 2022. The concert featured Slum Village, Abstract Mindstate, Vocab Slick with DJ True Justice to name a few.

Opening the concert was a father-son duo from Eugene, Michael Kay and Mike Brown. Kay has been writing and performing hip-hop for the last thirty years and is a lead member of the group SageCrow the Flock. He incorporates elements of funk, jazz, and soul into his music to create a unique sound, a style known as Neo-Soul, and he delivers one amazing show. 

His son, Michael Brown, is a student at South Eugene High School and, he too, delivered an epic performance. Together, the duo crafted some incredible songs and gave their audience a truly authentic and great performance filled with their personality, spunk, and a little humor. 

Eugene father-and-son hip-hop duo, Michael Kay and Mike Brown, perform onstage at Wildcraft Cider Works on March 22, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]
Eugene father-and-son hip-hop duo, Michael Kay and Mike Brown, perform onstage at Wildcraft Cider Works in Eugene on March 22, 2022.

Kay also timed his beats and the set to a film, reminiscent of a 90s era music video, displayed on the stage backdrop. The film was made by Kay and he combined his own personal and professional footage with short clips from various other sources.

It was the perfect backdrop to their performance. The set was composed of some emotional hard-hitting hip-hop and feel-good, laid-back dance songs, including one full of lust for “your mom.” 

DJ True Justice and Vocab Slick, both artists are from the Bay area, took to the stage next 

DJ True Justice has been a part of the hip-hop community since 1989. True has amassed a huge amount of talent throughout this career and has performed with dozens of artists and providing stellar and often intense rhythms for the artists he works with.

Vocab Slick, a Bay Area artist stands behind his merchandise table at Wildcraft Cider Works in Eugene before his live set with DJ True Justice on March 22, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]
The Bay Area’s DJ True Justice and Vocab Slick preform onstage together as one of the opening acts on March 22, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]
Bay Area duo DJ True Justice and Vocab Slick perform onstage at Wildcraft on March 22, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]

During the show, he spun rhythmic fire on the turntables and skillfully set the mood and tempo for each song while Vocab Slick worked his magic on the mic. Slick grew up in the Bay area and traveled a difficult road in his early years. Just before 2003, the artist chose to change his narrative and transformed his life with music. 

He threw himself into his craft and never looked back. Through rap and hip-hop, he shares his life’s story.

E.P. Da Hellcat and Olskool Ice-Gre, otherwise known as Abstract Mindstate, were next and delighted the crowd with what they term “adult contemporary hip-hop.” Their unmatched lyrics were backed by beats produced by their longtime friend and collaborator Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who reawakened their aspirations and signed them to his record label, YZY SND.

After a sixteen year hiatus, Abstract Mindstate burst back into the hip-hop scene in 2018 reminding their listeners that “Dreams Still Inspire.” 

Abstract Mindstate, a hip-hop duo from Chicago, performs live onstage at Wildcraft Cider Works on March 22, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]

The unique female-male-rap-duo has been bringing back the old school sound straight-out of Chicago since the late-1990s. Hitting the stage like the hardcore professionals that they are, Abstract Mindstate delivered an unstopping performance packed with confidence, power, and infectious joy. Enticed by the crowd begging for more, Hellcat delivered one last incredible acapella freestyle that she wrote nearly twenty years prior to exiting the stage.  

Hailing from Detroit, Slum Village rounded out the night by entertaining the crowd with their nolgastic and bumping sound. 

The group first formed as Ssenepod—dopeness in reverse—in the early 1990s. They officially changed their name in 1991 with the release of their album “Vol. 1.” 

Detroit hip-hop duo Slum Village preforming at Wildcraft Cider Works on March 22, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]
Detroit hip-hop duo Slum Village perform as the headliner at Wildcraft Cider Works in Eugene on March 22, 2022. [Chance Raffield // Double Sided Media]

Since then, they have undergone a multitude of changes, difficulties, and personal losses, but have never lost their drive to just do what they do: make amazing music. The group has recorded with countless artists including Ye, Jay-Z, Q-Tip, and Busta Rhymes. Their set was filled with effortlessly delivered lyrics, lots of energy, and dope beats from their lengthy discography. 

Regardless of the show’s low attendance, the all ages crowd and performers filled Wildcraft’s warehouse with tons of energy and Scoob said that what’s it all about “the energy.” Abstract Mindstate captured some of that energy in a short video shot from the stage, showing how much they appreciated “rock’n with Eugene.”

Though Eugene’s hip-hop scene has never been as big as other cities’ like Chicago or Detroit, it’s been thriving underground. With more shows like this one in the future it’s sure to grow. The crowd present that Tuesday night was definitely blessed with one unforgettable night of classic old-school rap and hip-hop and Wildcraft promises more like it in the near future. 

Mary Bell
Chance Raffield

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