Great local hip-hop was on display at the Jackie Gaughan Plaza on Saturday, and that wasn’t all. In the small lot nestled between Fremont East businesses and the Ogden, Vegas StrEATS offers access to food trucks, local artists, apparel and the best of street culture on a monthly basis. For the July edition, the motor-food-mini-fest joined forces with another cultural powerhouse, Life Is Beautiful, to host a hip-hop showcase, the latest in a string of local-talent-driven performances leading up to the main festival in October.
Our town’s hip-hop community, while not great in size, is very active, and StrEATS offered artists the valuable opportunity to reach beyond their regular Hip Hop Roots and Sunday Skoolin’ fanbases and into the broader Las Vegas audience. One of the night’s performance highlights was Ekoh, who spit continuous flows filled with raw emotion. He performed a variety of tracks off his recently released Zzyzx Road album along with some old favorites, as fans and randoms crowded the stage.
The night’s closer, Rhyme N Rhythm, took the stage at 12:40 a.m., with the entire band wearing black hoodies and offering shout-outs to Trayvon Martin in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman announced earlier that night. The crowd had thinned by this time, but those of us there knew sticking around would be worth it—no backing tracks, no DJ, no unnecessary padding, just what their name suggests: rhyme and rhythm supported by a live drummer, keyboardist and bassist. RNR can lay it down. They are one of Las Vegas’ most celebrated hip-hop outfits, and they proved why again on Saturday, performing soul-filled jams till the early morning as organizers tore down StrEATS around them, capping another great Downtown showcase.