Last weekend, DJ Pos 2 and I were talking about Columbus Hip Hop’s ascension from being this really outsider, underdocumented underground Culture at Bernies to a really dominant and vibrant force in Columbus music.
One of the important factors was Blueprint opening for the Black Keys at the Newport Music Hall’s date for “the Rubber Factory” tour.
I’ve probably said this somewhere on the internet before, but the Black Keys art director Michael Carney went to CCAD and him and I are friends.
Mike came down to the 3rd Annual Bustown Reunion which was September 10-12, 2004 .
Bustown Reunion was this Hip Hop festival We (When I worked for Weightless) and the Fonosluts would organize every year to highlight Columbus Hip Hop and Graffiti culture.
Blueprint, and Greenhouse were headlining the Saturday Bustown Reunion show at High Five that also had lllogic & Przm and CJ the Cynic on it. There was a Jim Jones show that night at The Obvious that Sara Evers, Shawn K, and Martin went to or were going to. I only say that because I remember them showing up and talking about it and then Mike showed up a little later so the night was already amusing because random people were coming through casually. Sara is an activist, anarchist type so her telling me about going to see Jim Jones cracked me up.
So then Mike comes in holding a skateboard and I told the doorman to not charge him.
Mike kicked it for a bit and asked me if Blueprint was my dude and we talked about Weightless a bit. Mike was impressed by Print’s performance. And then he said, “I’m gonna call Pat, and get Blueprint on the Newport Show.” Basically everytime the Keys would come to town, Mike would get the Keys to put a local band on the bill that he was friends with. It was his way of looking out for Columbus underground acts that he thought deserved some light.
Sure enough, Mike lined it up and made a flyer. I was writing for the Alive at the time and tried to pitch a story. Unbeknownst to me, the staff at the Alive at the time had decided the Keys had gotten too big and it was time to diss them. So the Alive turned my pitch down, and decided to write a scathing attack on the Keys basically calling them “Blues Hammer” and “white boy blues”. I think the writer was also throwing an event the same evening so there may have been some salt there.
Whatever the case,this was pre-Dangermouse, Blakroc, and RZA so unbeknownst to the Alive Staff at the time, the Hip Hop world had embraced the Black Keys. . And locally, the Keys had a lot of love. Mike and I were boys. He was always at Hip Hop events. The Fonosluts had been playing “10 AM Automatic” at Bernies during Rathole Sundays. If you look at the inside of the Artwork on “the Rubber Factory” vinyl fold-out you can see a faint toss-up by Columbus graffiti legend Hery BSA.
And then you add Blueprint opening for the Columbus show?
“I just wanted to remind you about prolly the coolest show in along time.
The Black Keys and Blueprint at the Newport Music Hall
Friday, Oct 8th.
For those of you who aren’t familar with the Black Keys…
I will try to get you up to speed.
They are from Akron. They got their start on a Southern Blues Label called Fat Possum. For two white kids from Ohio to get love on the same label that put out Blues great R.L. Burnside, should tell you something.
Their first show in COlumbus was at Skully’s in front of 40 people.
Their last show sold out Little Brothers.
They are on Epitaph now and have a video on MTV2 directed by David Cross.
For a rock group of their stature to have the integrity to request to have Blueprint on their bill with no other motivation than to have a dope show, should tell you what type of shit these cats are on.
I wanted to make sure this moment is not lost on the Columbus Hip Hop community.
They are amazing live. Blueprint is amazing live.
So get fucking real, y’all. This is not a show to miss.
Remember, Newport shows start early and end by 11:30. So
you want to come out early to make sure you see Print and the Keys.
Also, I have coordinated a free afterparty at Bento that will have an hour of damn near freee drinks from 12-1. DJ True Skills and Numeric will spin funk and soul .
This event will be brought to you by me, mike carney and Downtown For Democracy(the people i did the skylab event with). The afterparty will also be to increase voter motivation.
ok…well. if you sleep now then its your own goddamn fault.
I’m fucking trying.”
At the time, aside from the Columbus Hip Hop Heads that came the Keys crowd didn’t know who Print was. So he came out with DJ Rare Groove on a mission to win everyone over. Print murdered it. By the end of his set Print had the crowd eating out of his hand. I remember him rocking some Soul Position joint over the Pharcyde “Runnin'” instrumental.
The touring opening act the Cuts just looked sad like a denim corporate abortion compared to Print.
The crowd was sufficiently warmed up, and the Black Keys came out and blew us all away.
This was the October before the Kerry-Bush election. I was helping plan and coordinate events for a New York Voting Awareness group called Downtown 4 Democracy. So we did Black Keys/Blueprint after-party at Bento that had DJ True Skills, and Numeric spin with an open bar to help get people registered and motivated.
Columbus Hip Hop in front the Black Keys crowd helped a lot in the coming year in terms of another audience that was exposed to Columbus Hip Hop. Mike also did some design work for Weightless. So it was just a natural progression of Columbus culture.