Judge me if you must for listening to the album of the artist I’m going to see on the way to the show, but my iPod was blasting The Electric Kool Aid Experiment all of Thursday evening as I got ready to head to The Melody Inn. Surprisingly, though, Freddie Bunz and Grey Granite opted to split their scheduled time and do two shorter, solo sets in lieu of performing their new dubhop/hipstep project. Although EKAE is being well-received by the local music community, the decision to perform solo material instead did not displease the audience.
Grey Granite & Freddie Bunz
Bunz went first, proving that whether he’s in front of 10 people or 100 people, he always delivers with passion and originality. My favorite song was “Pasta Cowboy”, an exceptional track that breaks the mold of traditional hip hop flow and replaces it with a fervent chorus wherein Bunz repeatedly cries “Ai-yea-ai-yea-aiiiiiiiii”. He also rapped about “a mediocre life in the Rottonapolis” where he shares thoughts on rapping in the Nappy city while maintaining solid grades in school.
Next up was Granite who, with very little persuasion, managed to get nearly every one at The Melody Inn on their feet and to the stage. Lonegevity stepped up to open the set with Granite on “Honey Badger (HAMswag)”- a fun sing-along from the Gateway 2 album. Granite utilized space well by dancing both on stage and in the audience. By the time he finished, the crowd was warmed up and in fine condition to jam with Hinx Jones.
Hinx Jones & Heavy Gun crew
Lonegevity hopped on stage as soon as Granite completed his set and announced there would be no break; capitalizing on the amped audience, he and Gritts were going to go right into the Hinx Jones headlining portion of the night. It commenced with a skit from their most recent album, Frozen Liquor, during which the duo perform an accurate rendition of the theme song from 90’s Nicktoon “Doug”.
During a recent interview with Lonegevity, he told me that their new music has a lot more jams. “You need the people to be able to get into it and make it their own,” he said. “Pump Ya Stereo” was a validating testament to that fresh, exciting vibe Hinx Jones have been striving for; arms were raised overhead and hands bobbed in time with the song’s upbeat chorus. Likewise, “Tick Tock” (also from Frozen Liquor) met positive response from the audience. I was let down, however, when the shortened version of the track transitioned into the next one before they could call up Blake Allee to rap his guest spot on the track. Adding to the live Hinx Jones experience was Lonegevity and Gritts’ fantastic chemistry on stage- equal parts of humor and spunk mixed with sincerity and thoughtfulness- that kept the show fun and engaging from start to finish.
A touching moment came when the duo sang “Go”- a song written in memory of a friend who passed away. I wanted to feel sad for their loss as I listened to Gritts detail the man’s life through poetry and music, but the song took an unexpected emotional twist when it ended with uplifting energy and excitement. Although it’s purpose is to tell a mournful story, the song also exists to honor their friend’s spirit. Instead of being anguished, Hinx Jones (and the rest of The Melody Inn) got loud and impassioned as the track played on.
The pair closed their set with a beloved fan favorite. “I’ll give you five dollars if you sing ‘Hey’,” fellow emcee and producer Blake Allee shouted standing next to me in the front row. Hinx Jones obliged and finished the show on a high note… quite literally.
Stream the new Hinx Jones album, Frozen Liquor in it’s entirety below: