A night with Doomtree

“No Kings” doesn’t disappoint. 

Doomtree brings a unique energy to what is, at times, a stagnant and boring hip hop world. The Minneapolis collective consisting of emcees, producers, DJs and graphic designers have made their name equally through solo and crew projects. A few years ago it seemed that each artist would take their own path, but still be loosely connected through the Doomtree name. However, they have come through with a banger of an album in “No Kings“.

Lawrence was their first stop on their nationwide tour to support the album. And as always, they did not disappoint. Local openers, Atilla and Steddy P., gave solid sets bringing KC’s diverse soundscapes to the ears of the Doomtree faithful. Atilla danced around on stage to experimental and spacy beats bringing his soulful lyrics to fruition. The crowd was intrigued, but this may not have been the best audience to introduce his style in comparison to say The Cool Kids, which he opened up late last year. Steddy P., however, was more of the crowd’s speed with his hard hitting lyrics and intense audience interaction. Steddy perused his catalog bringing out a new track off his yet to be released album “Better Make Room” and ended on an old favorite “P.S.” from “Dear Columbia…” (which was requested and had to be practiced by Steddy P. before the show). It is safe to say that as always local openers held their own and represented the area beautifully.

In keeping with their last tour, Doomtree had producer and rock artist Lazerbeak open with his latest project, which happened to be “Lavabangers”. He showcased his live production skills and continuously promised the rap show will start soon. The crowd really didn’t care. His performance was top notch. After a ten minute set, the rest of the crew took the stage and started off with their hit single “Bangarang“. Using their distinct advantage of having seven performers, they easily pumped up the crowd now numbering close to 350, doubling their last show’s turnout.

One of the interesting parts of having essentially seven solo acts with one album is how the show is put together. But Doomtree has a unique formula, a mix of solo work and crew tracks that intertwine everyone’s style. You had the punk rock, energetic heavy flows from P.O.S., which had the kids in the front row going nuts– including myself. Dessa brought the poetic and poppy songs that had the near 60-year-old woman next to me beyond excited. Producing most of the tracks on “No Kings”, Cecil Otter’s presence was felt more than ever bringing his unique cadence and style reminiscent of a Sage Francis type character to the stage. Sims had the quick and witty raps and Paper Tiger kept the tracks spinning. The highlight of the show was definitely Mike Mictlan. Doomtree would be nothing without him. To me, his songs and stage presence bring Doomtree to another level that I haven’t seen done by anyone yet. His intensity brought his sweat dripping down on the crowd standing in the front row. His raps at times became mumbled, but it didn’t matter. The energy he was emitting made everyone gravitate towards him. He is the most under-appreciated member both by the media and fans but if there is one takeaway from both Doomtree shows I have seen it is that Mike Mictlan is IT! Doomtree is changing the game…together.

 

James spoke with Doomtree two hours before the show about collaborating to produce “No Kings”.

by james baker
photos by ashton capps

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