Earlier this week, someone told me that they deeply prefer college sports in comparison to their professional counterparts. Upon prompting, they explained that while the pros can easily make millions by simply sitting on the bench, college players strive to be the best, and they play their hearts out for free.
The recent house performance I attended for the University of California, Santa Barbara Hip Hop Collective has me prompting to make the same argument as it relates to musical artists. These days, it seems that only a handful of performers are known. If your life depended on the ability of some random stranger to name more than five current hip-hop artists, the last words you might hear would be, “Drake, Drake, Drake, ….”
However, if you’re reading this, it might not be too late. With their event “Not Another House Party (vol. 1),” the members of the Hip Hop Collective proved that despite what the radio tells you, it certainly is possible to have a music library with a varied amount of good rappers.
They set the scene perfectly in a wide open area behind the Biko Co-op House, a vibrant place that matched the liveliness of not only the performances, but also the fire pit that danced off wildly to the side. Throughout the night, more and more people trickled through as they were drawn in by the raw vibes bouncing off the walls into the streets of Sueno.
Around this time, rapper and creator of the club, Frosty Zipper (pronounced Zapata) — also known as Milo — took the stage accompanied first by Dishina, a female singer, as the two of them twisted their vocals together into a whirlwind of singing rap. The show continued on as another artist, Rudy K, joined the stage with Frosty. Both quickly ignited a cheering crowd with their passion and momentum.
Frosty Zipper ended the set yelling his lyrics out into the mic. With Frosty’s red face and closed eyes, it was hard not to feel the raw emotion that he was pouring out over the song’s curated and clean beats.
People who appreciate music will find it easy to appreciate the sphere of good music and fervor that the artists created during their show. While the microphones might not have been the highest quality on the market and the songs might not have been found on the Billboard Top 100, the energy and strength that came out made it spectacular for a free backyard show.
In the unique way that college athletes give it their all, this group of UCSB hip-hop artists displayed the same drive and vigor that can sometimes be lacking from musicians who have already made their big break.
More performers like Kamikaze Kane and Zane came onstage telling everyone in the crowd to get “as active as they possibly can.” Naturally, being in Isla Vista, the crowd went wild. People began pushing to the front, simultaneously moving their bodies to the hip-hop rhythm that filled the air.
One of the last rappers of the night was someone who caught my attention and who was rightly introduced, although slightly embellished, for “having one of the sickest flows [Rudy K] has ever heard in his entire life.” Here comes Flying Cactus.
If there was any one who embodied the spirit of raw energy during the show, it was definitely him. He even restarted a song twenty seconds in because he got too caught up in the raging crowd, who were definitely responding well to his emotional hip-hop/trap hits.
Having the chance to catch up with Flying Cactus — formerly referred to as Ramon Mendoza — during the show, he said, “Performing in Isla Vista is really cool. People don’t know us, and they come up and watch us do our hobby.”
For those of you who might be on the fence for attending the next Hip Hop Collective show, come out and support your local artists. According to Mendoza, “Even if it’s not the craziest party, we’re here together.” The Collective just isn’t complete without the audience.