Tragically allied, a MiniMansion VIP experience
By Alex P80Parks
This was supposed to be a written review of the 4/19 Primo Profit album release party featuring Estee Nack, Crimeapple and O.T.O. with special guests. I figured that there would be some other local emcees and producers who would show up, and I would get up-front access by pushing my way to the stage and maybe even meet a couple cats. But a week before the show I reached out to one of the local emcees I admired. He was a frequent collaborator of one of the performers so I checked to see if he was planning on going. Once I connected with this cat, I knew that the show just got better for me. I had no idea that I’d end up hanging out with artists that I regularly listen to and highly respect.
The Allied Liaison
Paranom, has carved himself a nice niche in Boston-area hip hop over the last few years, releasing some high quality, well-produced albums along with guest appearing on most of the albums of his local peers. He’s developed an introspective, yet worldly sound, working with some talented beat-makers and producers. An important memeber of the Tragic Allies family tree, his most recent releases include last month’s The Hispaniola EP with Estee Nack and this month’s La Tripleta with Nack and Haze (of City Yard Music). He and I connected on twitter, after we’d exchanged tweets about hangover remedies in the past few months. He is an accessible and truly humble dude, who is genuinely down for whatever. We exchanged the math and agreed to link up at some point before the show. Again, for me, I was hype just to meet dude, nevermind getting to chill and chop it up about music and life.
A couple hrs before doors open for the show and he texts me that he needs a ride to the show. I’m thinking, cool, no prob. He’s outta Lynn. I’m up the North Shore, so maybe a 45 min trip to the crib… Nope. He’s in Brockton. Ok, I’ll still come down and scoop you up, but that’s another 30 min at least. I still got you. I pick up Paranom and he advises us to go up to Nack’s place, in Lynn. Nack’s set time wasn’t till later, so we had plenty of time to meet up before the show. I’m hype as fuck at this point. We’re going to Estee Nack’s crib? The MiniMansion?? Trying not to fan out, I keep cool.
This is where the team pre-games for all the local shows. It also happens to be where Nack has recorded countless tracks over his career. When P-nom and I arrived, we were greeted by Al Divino, the man Nack has recorded the recent EP’s Rafaga Facil, Maleficis Artibus, and DESTINY with. Divino also just released his own, fully self-produced LP, Monumentality. Divino is a guy with a tremendous current buzz around his name. Whether the buzz surrounds his deep and aggressive flows and flipping wild rhyme schemes or around his selectively high pricing of his art, Divino has the eyes and ears of the underground on him. He prefers to maintain the mystique and mystery of his character, opting out of most interviews and photo shoots. I was fortunate enough to build with the young shooter, mostly with me listening to stories that he tells with such clarity and precision, similar to the way he flows and constructs the imagery in his rhymes. A stand-up dude, and an extremely talented emcee and producer he’s carving his name in stone with a firm grasp of the hip hop industry. Divino is a smart and savvy businessman who knows his value and doesn’t back down for no man.
The vibes for creativity at Nack’s place are organic and all the homies that come thru feel comfortable as hell, cooling in the MiniMansion. Beats on in the background, along with some Nack tracks I hadn’t heard. After chilling for a bit and just sinking into my seat, some homies including Purpose (of Tragic Allies) and King Asiatic come in, generously offering refreshments and introducing themselves as if I’m a fixture in the scene. In rolls CodeNine. A member of the Tragic Allies, Code has been consistently releasing high quality albums, most recently with the album IX in December of ’17 and just this week releasing 9 Roses. Codenine has a strong reputation for excellent beat selection, high production value and gritty street rhymes. He introduced himself to me and slipped right into conversations as if he’d been there for hours. Whether zoning out to instrumentals with heads chipping in 2 cents about visuals, Nack’s home is a place where the close friends come together like a family.
Like every family, there is a mother or father figure to provide guidance, advice, spiritual and physical in presence. The team’s patriarchal leader is Estee Nack, no question. Now I hadn’t yet met Nack at this point. He was still getting ready because he was a featured performer on the night’s bill. When he finally came to greet me, it was as if I was one of the homies. He is a genuine dude who made sure I was all set. He has a warm and welcoming nature, despite the tough and raw persona displayed in his rhymes. His presence demands everyone’s attention. Not in an arrogant manner, but in that of a wise sage, eager to share his knowledge. While the pre-game was still in session, he was trying to figure out who was riding with who, and when we were hitting the liquor store, acknowledging that we were already running a little late.
My first time hearing Nack was a few years ago on the 7 Gems album with Tragedy titled Golden Era Music Sciences. I heard that raw, raspy voice speaking rhymes with heart, but also visceral and real. By that point he had built a strong following with Tragic Allies and having a sound that embodies true hip hop, and not following trends in production choices. Recently, Nack has evolved into a truly prolific emcee, recording with some of the most talented emcees and producers at a breakneck pace, especially over the last few months. He has popped up as a featured guest emcee on several high quality releases of late including SPNDA and Grubby Pawz new album Holographic, and even contributed to 2 tracks off AnkhleJohn’s new LP AnkhNasty. Nack is a presence in hip hop and is highly regarded for his lyricism and complex rhymes by critics and his contemporaries. That night we were eagerly anticipating his new album releasing the next day, on 4/20 with creative visionary Sadhugold titled Surfing on Gold waves.
We left shortly after that, headed for the venue. P-nom and I went straight to the show while Nack, Divino, Code and the rest of the homies stopped at the local liquor store. My head was floating from it all. P-nom and I were vibing out to some beats, discussing some of his personal favorites and classic artists of all time, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. We talked about European vs American concerts and then about French producers and instrumentals. The night just kept getting better and we hadn’t even got to the show at this point.
Mid East showtime
The Middle East Upstairs was already simmering, but when we rolled in I feel like shit got wild. The scene was pretty tame. I had hoped for better enthusiasm initially but that didn’t matter. Not when the team shows up. Nack’s energy is palpable. He performs with a lot of physical and spiritual energy. He basically jumped on stage after only being in the building for a few minutes. He hyped the crowd up himself and ran into his new opening track “El Blablazo” off the brand new album with Sadhugold. He Ran through a couple more solo joints before Divino jumped on stage to burn it down alongside Nack.
Al Divino provided some additional rugged energy to hype the crowd up even further. They blew off the roof with “Lugano Airport” from Triple Black Diamonds and then ran through a couple more songs. Nack rounded out his set with a couple more solo joints including “The Talented Mr. Nackly” from his MiniMansionDustEP Vol.1 . Nack klled his set and got the crowd pretty hype for Crimeapple.
Crime has a different, yet still magnetic and engaging stage presence. He’s not a physical energy kind of guy, it’s more spiritual energy. Crimeapple has earned a stellar reputation since he burst onto the scene with a thunderous impact and quickly rose the ranks as an elite emcee. His command of the mic is quite powerful, making him an excellent performer on stage not just in the booth. He did “5 Chechnyans” and “Palo Santo” from his latest LP Aguardiente, “Spike Up” from Metralleta and then his verse from “Lanus” off of SmooVth and Giallo Point’s Medellin album. He has a great voice and projects well throughout each song in his set. I was certainly even more impressed by the dude after seeing and hearing his dope performance.
After Crime’s set, I was by the bar where I was chilling with P-Nom, Nack and the crew and bought a round. Crime came over to buy a beer and we chopped it up for a few. He’s got a chill demeanor but he’s well-read and extremely articulate and can talk about anything. Again, trying to maintain some cool as a fan and not a male-groupie, I told him I was a fan of his beat selection and his depth of vocabulary. He seemed really humbled and appreciative of the accolades and praise, which is nice to see in anybody who is in the public eye. Crimeapple once said he tries to interact with everybody, “Even the aloof mf’s.”
I can’t forget Termanology’s surprise joints that he did. He jumped on stage and tore it down with a couple quick ones. Term is always a great performer. As an avid New England hip hop fan, I’d be remiss not to acknowledge what a huge contributor Term has been for the scene here for more than 10 years. Term and his guys DJ Deadeye and Ea$y Money were also there for the whole ST Da Squad crew. Those dudes have worked with some of the illest cats in all of hip hop and helped to put Lawrence/Haverhill on the map and all of Mass in terms of quality hip hop. They also have a new album, ST Da Squad.
In all honesty, I was least familiar with Primo’s music. But had downloaded his newest album Locksmith from Dec of ’17. Definitely an overlooked/underappreciated album with some hard beats and heavy hitting guest spots from Conway, Jadakiss and Dave East. The same goes for his performance, character and stage presence. He had great energy, the crowd was feeling him and his songs banged. I was impressed by how he rocked the crowd and was getting solid interaction. The beats in his set were strong and he had some serious bars to flex. I wasn’t able to meet him post-show, because he was so busy with other fans. I’ll definitely have to check for him on future releases and upcoming performances in the area. He also seemed like a gracious headliner for the night and a genuine dude.
The Extended Fam
During the show I met Magno Garcia, a fiery lyricist with an ear for top-notch beats on his albums. He is another guy who is accessible and truly humble, down to build with a fan. His latest album, Chandelier Shining, was one of 2017’s best albums. Also showing support was Vinyl Villain, who is working with everybody these days, crafting all kinds of crazy beats for emcees all over the place. He released 3 The PRR Way with Nowaah the Flood, Jamal Gasol, and Sauce Heist about a month ago and then a monster single with Crimeapple. He also produced a couple tracks on the new AnkhleJohn album. Dude is working with everyone in hip hop.
After the show I got to meet the extremely talented producers Jon Glass and Billy Loman. Very down-to-earth and chill guys. These guys are also multi-dimensional producers. Just last month, Billy Loman released a seriously legit beat tape called Funkin Donuts. They were very appreciative of the support and I acknowledged their impact on me as amazing beat makers and producers.
As a collective and collaborative unit in New England all these emcees and producers are really unrivaled in overall quality and high caliber of skill to any other region right now. That is certainly my opinion and I am most definitely biased, but who’s gonna argue with the talent in that building? There were some other hip hop cats that I didn’t even get to meet that were in there showing support to the thriving underground Massachusetts hip hop culture.
I certainly had a memorable experience to say the least. I have to extend my deepest thanks to Estee Nack, Al Divino, CodeNine and the whole Tragic allies fam along with a special thanks to ParaNom for making this night a legendary hip hop night for me.
This is just one chapter.
The saga continues..