If you like your festival with more edge and less sideshow, Gurp Fest may be what you're looking for. The two-day hip-hop lineup (with all of the Gurp City South bands) takes to the Emerald Lounge stage on Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28.
First, what's Gurp City South, you ask? It's the Southeast branch of musician/rapper/artist/fan collective Gurp City, started in San Francisco. Take 10 seconds to peruse either the Gurp City or Gurp City South websites and you'll probably catch on quickly that the only thing this group may care about more than making music is imbibing: “The long lost king Conceit once said of Gurp City’s habits, and by extension its music, ever so succinctly, ‘It’s not a gimmick, it’s a lifestyle,’” reports a recent blog post on the South site. (If you share that passion, please program the number for a cab company into your phone before you head out.)
That said, this is the perfect chance for rap and hip-hop fans to catch up on much of the best of regional hip-hop. Local artists including Adam Strange, Foul Moth Jerk and Free Radio (formerly The Ville Boyz) perform. San Francisco-based acts Al Lover & The Haters, Eddie K and Z-man also make a showing. Headliners are Weekend Cult (formerly Fist Fam) on Friday and GFE on Saturday. And the Gurp City website promises: "There will be no, and I can not stress this enough, no fire jugglers/dancers and no f—king hula hoops." The full schedule follows.
Friday, July 27
Adam Strange — Asheville-based artist and rapper. Find his albums at http://adamstrange.bandcamp.com.
DJ Football — Local DJ who spins in clubs, appears on AshevilleFM and has contributed scratches and cuts to projects by Free Radio and Agent 23.
Al Lover & The Haters — From San Francisco, this group likes beers, beats and ‘45s. Find its music at http://allover.bandcamp.com.
Eddie K — Hip-hop and soul MC known for his collaborations with other Bay Area artists.
TopR — He started out as Top Ramen in ‘93; he’s a founding member for Gurp City and has opened for the likes of LL Cool J, De La Soul and Goodie Mob.
Weekend Cult — Formerly Fist Fam, this hip-hop collective got its start in Asheville before staking its claim in San Francisco. The group moved back east this spring.
Saturday, July 28
DJ RA Mak — You can catch local DJ RA Mak around Asheville, spinning dance music, neo-soul and underground hip-hop.
Chris Donato — The local DJ (aka Don Magic) has hosted a dirty dancing night at the Dirty South and opened for The Nova Echo.
Optik — Asheville-based Optik contributed beats to Weekend Cult’s LP and will perform a live beat set at Emerald Lounge.
Z-Man — San Fransico’s artist and painter Z-Man (aka Zamon and Z-mainey) released the EP In Case You Forgot with collaborator G-Pek earlier this year (he also did the cover art).
Free Radio — Formerly known as The Ville Boyz, Free Radio’s members went to high school together in Asheville and recently released a new album, The Powers That Be.
GFE — It’s hard to imagine Asheville music without the contributions of hip-hop collective GFE over the past two decades (!). The band has also spawned numerous solo careers and side projects.
Shows begin at 6 p.m. and are $8 each day. http://www.emeraldlounge.com. The event will be live-streamed at http://iamavl.com.