One Sound Studios on S. Parkway - $5 gives Memphians to access a dark room with pizza, colorful visuals projected on a white wall and the sounds of the underground Memphis hip-hop scene.
That is, until technical difficulties stop a group of emcees in their tracks.
â€œA lot of songs we performed for the first time, and it was great,â€ performer Krucial said. â€œOther than the computer bullshitting, it was cool.â€
The â€œcomputer bullshittingâ€ and the entire backing track cutting out during the openersâ€™ set made for an interesting start of the Qemistry/Spekulate Lab show on Nov. 4. The event celebrated both the release of Qemistâ€™s new EP as well as Spekulate the Philosopherâ€™s debut album â€œCome With Me.â€ Luckily, rapper Jayy the Pro was true to his name and spit an entire verse a capella once the music suddenly stopped. Â Â
â€œIt actually came out of nowhere,â€ Jayy said. â€œIt was like one of those downfalls when you just want to recover like you got to win it back and I did it. I bounced back â€¦ for the sake of Dojo Fam and Higher Class you know?â€
â€œHigher Class x Donâ€™t Passâ€ is a Bluff City-based hip-hop duo composed of Jayy the Pro and fellow artist â€œ+hank Aaron,â€ pronounced â€œthank Aaron.â€ According to the groupâ€™s SoundCloud page, the two have been making music together since â€œthe age of cassette tapes and Walkmans.â€
Their newest single, â€œLocked Inâ€ has reached around 630 listens in around 18 days. An older track, â€œPigeons,â€ has reached 980 listens and was released two years ago. â€œDojo Bando,â€ a song produced by XIV and released by Hippy SOUL features the Higher Class duo and has reached 4,887 plays in 10 months. Â Â Â Â
â€œWeâ€™ve been doing it for a while,â€ +hank Aaron said. â€œLong enough to make a strong bond off of it to where weâ€™re actually out here doing shows and connecting with different people.â€
The group even embarked on a â€œmini-tourâ€ with a few of their show mates earlier in 2016 visiting New York and Missouri as well as returning to their hometown, Memphis.
â€œIt was actually straight â€“ it was our first tour,â€ +hank Aaron said. â€œPutting our own money from our own funds together and just making some s--- out of it.â€
The full lineup of the November Qemistry/Spekulate Lab show included Bored Lord, minivan_markus, Higher Class, Krucial, Spekulate the Philosopher, and Qemist. Spekulateâ€™s set featured appearances by singer Sandie Soulette, rapper Trees, and the lively group T.A.N. who performed the comedic rap single â€œButter Biscuitsâ€ and ended the set on a high note. Â
â€œItâ€™s awesome, yâ€™know; itâ€™s different,â€ Jayy the Pro said about Spekulate the Philosopherâ€™s music. â€œItâ€™s different. He brings a lot from that aspect â€¦.this aspect. He takes from a lot of genres, pop, R&B, hip-hop, and just puts it into one. Plus EDM with the glitches â€¦ itâ€™s crazy.â€