Soul Crate Music bring hip-hop to B-town

John Hult

John Hult

While a more sophisticated-looking crowd sat around tables and milled over the week’s events while listening to Bus Nine play straightforward rock ‘n’ roll at Skinner’s Pub last Saturday, three hungry young men were raising the roof of the Jackalope Lounge with some down-and-dirty hip-hop.

Soul Crate Music, who released a CD as Urban Ills earlier this year, played their first Brookings show to a young and rowdy crowd of locals and Sioux Falls fans.

The trio ripped all too quickly through a set of new tunes and songs from the eponymous debut album.

Many in the crowd seemed to know every lyric to songs like “Introducing,” “Like You,” and “l.i.F.e.”

DJ Absolute?AKA Corey Gerlach?spun the vinyl for MCs A?Def (Attention Deficit) and Paradox?brothers Wes and Dan Eisenhower, respectively?at the show, which opened with a set by fellow Sioux Falls hip-hoppers Fellow Few.

The members of Urban Ills decided to change the name of the group after a fourth member, Division, parted ways with them shortly after the release of the first CD.

When Fellow Few took to the stage under low lights, DJ Ryan Kinner spun a beat behind MCs Epitome and Meutic that served as a backdrop for a call to action tothe crowd.

“F— your pool game, get up here,” Epitome, AKA Dan Smith, shouted to Jackalope visitors otherwise occupied when the group took the stage.

Luke Krueger, AKA Meutic, said that Fellow Few had been together for about a year.

“We [Dan & Luke] met and we just started doing songs together right away because he made beats on his computer,” Krueger said.

“We just did shows with that at first?we just put it on a CD.”

Saturday’s show was the first time Kinner DJed a show for Fellow Few.

Krueger joked with the crowd?many of whom were familiar with the group?during the performance about the earlier shows.

“You guys want us to bring back that CD player?”

Although the MCs were never able to pull the billiards players from their game, Fellow Few did manage to stir up the 20 or so fans bobbing their heads in front of the stage.

While South Dakota has never been a hotbed of hip-hop activity, Krueger said that a growing number of people are interested in the scene.

“We practice in Ryan’s room, and some people come in and freestyle or bust a verse or something,” Krueger says.

“There’s people out there who do it undercover?they sing along to their favorite songs.”

After five songs from Fellow Few, Soul Crate Music was ready to pump up the crowd with a high energy blast of thump and bump hip-hop.

Jackalope owner Max Fjelstead offered an incentive to the crowd to get down: a $100 gift certificate to Studio 27.

The certificate’s winner was decided by the cheers of the crowd after the contestants were narrowed down to three ladies, who danced onstage during the fourth song.

Crowd interaction played a huge role in Soul Crate’s show, actually.

The Urban Ills song “l.i.F.e.” was one of the songs A-Def asked the crowd to help with.

The song goes something like this:

“This is your L-I-F-E, the F stands for f— you/the rest is a lie so tell me why should I trust you?”

Take a guess as to which part of the chorus belonged to the crowd.

The vibe Soul Crate brought to the Jackalope went far beyond simple point-and-shoot dirty dozens and F— The World defiance. From the slam hop intro to Wes asking the crowd to “listen to what we’re saying, we’re not just blabbin’ up here,” the true tone of the evening’s music was one of full-on hip-hop transcendence.

That’s what makes Soul Crate Music different.

“We still get the occasional Eminem/Beastie Boys stuff,” Dan said.

“I almost want people to think that before they hear our sh–,” Wes added. “Half my motivation is to prove people wrong.”

The lucky ones who found themselves in the throws of their hip-hop magic last Saturday were certainly appreciative.

“For people to get on the mic and do that and for you to witness that element?that’s something you’ve got to respect,” SDSU student Roy Jager said.

Respect, indeed.

Soul Crate Music earned enough respect from Jager to convince him to buy both CDs before exiting the Jackalope.