Soundset 2012 Recap #1

May 31, 2012 8 min read

Messiah (Kevin Beacham's Nephew) Haircut Photo by Adam Stanzak (Haircut by Leon Moore)

Hello good peoples! This post was actually supposed to go up Monday, but I have been off the grid all week, which is rare. As a result, it's been quiet on the blog, but I'm back in full effect and prepared to unleash lots of treats...

As for my Soundset2012 experience, it was quite remarkable. On a personal note, my daughter, Alyssa Nikole, age 19, flew in from VA to attend her first Soundsetand kick it in MN with me for a week...which is the main reason I was off the grid and made for some awesome times. The Beacham crew was rolling kinda deep at Soundset 2012; my parents, daughter, two nephews (Mikey & Ceej), my Neice (Tif) + her husband (Leon) and two little ones (Areon & Messiah). Plus a couple friends as well; Casey and the homie, Darnell. 


Besides the obvious pre-planning, my Soundset weekend started on Saturday with the Pre-Party at Fifth Element which turned out quite awesome. Doing this was a sort of last minute idea on my part and I'm glad I decided to run with it and I think it's something I'll make a new Soundset tradition. The store was packed with last minute Soundset ticket buyers, out of town early arrivers doing some shopping and of course, people there for the live festivities. Besides the invited special guests, there were a lot of other artists hanging out at the spot. Fans who came out to kick it with us got treated to a variety of fun stuff; beat showcases, freestyle sessions, live performances, etc... Plus, it was a great opportunity to just hang out with the artists who were on the scene.

Here's a few things that went down:

-Beat Showcases by:Big Quarters, Big Cats!, & Julian Fairbanks (Audio Perm)

-Freestyles:MaLLy, Truth Be Told, Chantz, Sean Anonymous (Wide Eyes), and Chief Kamachi. Kamachi flipped a dope freestyle about his history in the rap game. I hope we got that on film!

-Performances: Dumbtron (Willie Evans JR + Paten Locke) gave a nice glimpse of what to expect from their live show on the FE Stage. Hopefully you caught this and it reminded you not to miss them on Sunday. BdotCroc kicked a couple acapellas for the peoples. JEL closed the party off with a ill live performance on beat machines and gadgets!

-Kicking It: There were more people than I can possibly remember hanging out, but a few that spring to mind are A.G. (D.I.T.C), Long Doe, Jake One, Evidence, J Zone(signing his "Root For The Villain" books), DJ Next, Chuuwee, Auddio Draggon, Solillaquists Of Sound,and one and on...

Chief Kamachi Photo by Kirsten Dehaven

Dumbtron Photo by Kirsten DeHaven

BdotCroc Photo by Kirsten DeHaven

Audio Perm + Medium Zach (Big Quarters) Photo by Kirsten DeHaven

THE BIG DAY: I hit the grounds about 9:30 AM to meet up with the FE Blog video crew and work out a plan for the day. Adam Stanzack & Farid Xan held down the FE Stage, capturing the action there. Jonny Schiller was all over the place; talking to fans, artists, and filming cool stuff he discovered on the grounds thru out the day. Dan Schlueter was at the Essential Element Tent to hold down the B-Boys/Girls and the DJs and Tommy Ellis was specifically on hand to lock in Last Of The Record Buyers. I'm starting to go thru a gazillion hours of footage, audio and photos to plan some edits, so look out for that stuff sometime in the future!

This year was the first Soundset that I wasn't managing/hosting the Essential Elements Tent (B-Boys/Girl, DJs, and LRB). I choose to "retire" myself from there and asked the long time homie, J Pratt to step into that position. That allowed me to be more flexible and roam around and help out wherever needed. I really liked this new role for me. However, even though I was more flexible all day I didn't really find any time to catch many live performances, I actually probably saw less this year than previously, which I don't even know how that is possible...ha. That's fine with me though, the most satisfying part of the day is being out there on the festival grounds and meeting and talking to people; Hip Hop fans, artists, friends I haven't seen in a while, etc... I met a lot of great people this year. I even had a few people come up to me who were Scribble Jam fans (one person was even wearing a Scribble T-Shirt!). 

In any event, I did get to see bits and pieces of things all day. Here's a few highlights from the day from me:

-DJ Stage One: He sparked things off on the main stage and he took it back in the day, dropping all sorts of classics and flashback cuts. That was a great vibe to help me get in on the right track for a long day.

-Last Of The Record Buyers: This is the only event I watched in full. It's always a great way to start the day off and an exclusive  experience. First we had the "Sample Challenge" where the 5 producers unveiled the tracks that they had two weeks to make and share at Soundset. I'm in the midst of collecting their beats and will do a blog with all their creations when I have them in hand so everyone can hear them! Next we had the "Beat Showcase" which was really tight. All the producers came thru with some ill joints, so shout out to Psymun, Young Federal, Willie Evans Jr, Zavala, J Zone, and Jake One!

Psymun definitely brought some fans out and sparked it off right, getting the crowd hype. I gotta say that Young Federal had this one beat that was particularly knocking, I think it was his second one, it had me on a serious head nod trip. Watch out for that young cat, he's no joke. Willie Evans Jr, not only dropped some ridiculous beats, but he had the crazy energy and personality too. He played this one joint and soon as i heard it I had to walk right over to Paten Locke and say, "Tell me that this going to be a Dumbtron song!" He just laughed and was like, "Yeah, it's written, but not recorded yet." I knew it soon as I heard it, it was perfect for their vibe. Zavala has a knack for crafting those beats with a moody vibe and musical touch, it sounded great to hear them on that big sound system. Jake One once again proved that he is one of the most talented producers out there. Every beat he dropped made me want to go ask him what song it was for. Even though everyone came with heat, I think J Zone stood out. He's evolved his production sound a bit and I'm really feeling the new direction. The drums are just raw and crunchy, they are a perfect balance of crisp and dusty. Hearing what he rocked has me hoping that he locks in some more production work and I'm glad he dusted off his MPC to rock wit us.

-DiVINCi: Although he is technically part of the Last Of The Record Buyers set, I need to single him out. His live MPC sets are always wild and he did not disappoint. He tried some new things that were super fresh. While i was introducing him, he sampled a little of my voice. Then he said a few words to the crowd and in the midst of that he made a few drum sounds with his mouth and imported them into the MPC. Then he had the crowd make some noise and sampled that as well. He then proceeded to rock a impromptu beat using all of those elements and it was crazy!! He then continued on into an all out beat assault for the next 15 minutes; using a multitude of MPCs, gadgets, effect pedals, microphones, vocoder, and all sorts of tools that he freaked with his hands, lips, feet, and lord knows what else!

-Essential Elements DJ Sets: I got to see bits and pieces of all the sets and everyone represented lovely. Superbrush427 rocked before the dance floor was opened up, but he set the tone and mood regardless for the tents vibe. Kool Akiem was the first to get the B-Boys/Girls on floor and he flossed his veteran skills. This weekend was a strong reminder that J-Zone is a Hip Hop renaissance man, as he was killing it on multiple levels; book signing at FE, the Beat Showcase earlier and then a high-powered B-Boy DJ set to top it all off. DJ Premier actually did more of a musical dialog with the people than a straight up DJ set and the crowd was loving it. He had the people screaming and showing love...

-FE Stage: I only saw small fragments of this stage thru out the day. I had to go catch a piece of my man Chief Kamachi for sure. He's one my favorite MCs no doubt and this was his first time in the Twin Cities. He was loving the vibe out here and when he hit the stage it was all about the raw lyricism. I only caught the first half of the set, which featured tracks exclusively from his latest album, "Rise And Rhyme Volume 1". Dumbtron came with crazy energy, rocking rhymes back n forth, and showing off some new routines. Later on, I caught a quick glimpse of Astronautalis who had the crowd amped. I'm really glad that he connected with JEL to add extra drum layers with the MPC. It's a great addition to the live band sound, giving it a extra raw feel.

-Main Stage:Somehow I managed to miss nearly everything on the main stage this year, so I'm looking forward to catch some of the main stage wrap up videos myself. I heard great things about the Kendrick Lamar set. I was walking around the main stage during the Ghostface & Raekwon set and it sounded like they were having a great time on stage and I did catch a little of them inviting fans on stage to rhyme with them, it was a long set up, but ultimately a cool thing to do. I wish I would have caught Premier joining Evidence on stage to perform "You", that's dope that it got to go down. I guess I really need to be asking you peoples what the Main Stage highlights were....

-Dee Jay Wiz:If you didn't know, Dee Jay Wiz, who rocks the turntables with Aesop Rock, has been in this game a long time. He is originally from Houston and has some serious history of DJing and production thru out the 80s and early 90s in the Houston scene, working with and/or hanging with Def IV, DJ Ready Red of the Ghetto Boys, Raheem The Vigilante, Royal Flush, etc... I was getting this in-depth interview with him when the weather report came in and we had to cut it short. He continued to tell me little stories at the after-party, he was blowing my mind with his experiences and stories! Interview still in the works!!!

Chuuwee Photo By Adam Stanzak

Chuuwee + Fans Photo By Adam Stanzak

Paten Locke of Dumbtron Photo By Adam Stanzak

Willie Evans Jr Of Dumbtron Photo By Adam Stanzak

P.O.S Photo by Kirsten DeHaven

Aesop Rock + Rob Sonic Photo by Kirsten DeHaven


I had been looking forward to this part of the day nearly as much as anything else, I knew it was going to be an all out party! Get Cryphy always represents and the after-party was no different. They killed it on all levels, including the way they worked in all the special guests. It was super awesome. I was probably the most excited to see Evidence bring out Aesop Rock & Slug to perform "Late For The Sky". It was also cool to see Danny Brown hanging out at the after-party all night and kicking it with fans. Myself, I just had fun talking to people, running into friends, and doing a little bit of dancing... A perfect end to a glorious day... More photos and photos to come!

Plain Ole Bill, Evidence, Aesop Rock & Slug Performing "Late For The Sky" Photo by Daniel Yang

-Editor's Note: Peep a zillion more photos from Kirsten DeHaven HERE!!

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