If I had to credit one name as my introduction to independent hip-hop, it would be Minneapolis based powerhouse Rhymesayers Entertainment. Home to Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Aesop Rock, Dilated Peoples, deM Atlas and many more, these emcees were highly influential during my high school years and will always remain a staple in what you would refer to as “real hip-hop.” Fans dressed in Rhymesayers clothing gathered in a line that stretched around the black to see the crew rap.

It was quite the experience to be able to catch the above mentioned artists at the Los Angeles stop of the Freshwater Fly Fisherman Tour. Inspired by the release of Atmosphere’s 13th album Fishing Blues this year, the tour had Minneapolis’ finest hip-hop duo headlining.

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With the acceptation of deM Atlas, I had previously seen all of these artists on tour at least once, so it was dope to see what he brought to the table as one of the younger members of Rhymesayers. Next up to bat was Brother Ali. Having not released a project in three years, he still came hard with classic jams off of Us and The Undisputed Truth. Following him, was L.A. based Grammy award winning duo Dilated Peoples. Evidence and Rakaa put on a strong performance and had the crowd going wild when they performed their smash hits “Worst Comes to Worst” and “This Way.” Evidence even brought out his young son for a moment to enjoy the spectacle of a live crowd. Aesop Rock came on afterwards, doing mostly songs off his 2016 album The Impossible Kid. Last but never least, Atmosphere (just Slug and Ant, no live band) took the stage to perform their classics along with many cuts off Fishing Blues. If you’ve been to an Atmosphere show before you recognize how well these guys connect with the audience.

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My biggest takeaway from the whole show was the visible presence that Rhymesayers has a major cult following, at least on the west coast that is. The majority of the atendees were dressed in the label’s apparal or that of it’s artists. Being a Rhymesayers fan is much like being an OFWGKTA head, a Juggalo, or into Wu-Tang. No matter if you’ve heard their latest releases or not, if you’ve called yourself a fan at one time, you’re connected to the music for a lifetime. I’m pretty sure that as a senior citizen I’ll still be bumping songs their releases. Much respect for Rhymesayers Entertainment.

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