The ten best hip-hop shows in Denver in July
MAC MILLER @ OGDEN THEATRE | TUES, 7/30/13
Following in the footsteps of fellow Pittsburgh native and Taylor Allderdice graduate Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller is well known for making feel-good music. His breakout mixtape K.I.D.S. (Kickin' Incredibly Dope Shit), an homage to the notably dark Larry Clark film, and followup Best Day Ever were beloved by casual and hard-core hip-hop fans alike for their fleeting yet satisfying jams about being young; Mac Miller's greatest strength and the chief reason for his success has always been that he raps about what he knows. His first studio album, Blue Slide Park, debuted at number one but received mixed reviews. Watching Movies With the Lights Off, his newest album, is his best yet. With Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson and Vince Staples sharing the bill, this is a loaded lineup.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE TOUR @ FIDDLER'S GREEN | TUE, 7/23/13
The Under the Influence Tour may be technically Wiz Khalifa's tour, but it's hardly his show. Though he probably still commands the largest and most diverse audience of anyone on the tour, Wiz's 2012 mixtape, Taylor Allderdice, was his last worthwhile project, while A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$ and Trinidad James, who share the bill, are strictly on the rise. Also performing are B.o.B. and Joey Bada$$'s crew Pro-Era, but no matter who you're most excited to see, you're gonna have a good time.
CASEY VEGGIES & TRAVI$ SCOTT @ GOTHIC THEATRE | SAT, 7/25/13
Casey Veggies first appeared as a part of the polarizing new-school hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. He has since distanced himself amicably from the group for artistic reasons. Though he has yet to release a studio album, he has gained significant buzz through a number of solid mixtapes and performances with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T. and Mac Miller. Travi$ Scott, on the other hand, has been most successful as a producer, with a credit on Yeezus, though he has recently forayed into the rhyming side of the business. Scott's debut, Owl Pharoah, was released under the guidance of T.I. and Kanye West, among others, and it shows in its sound.
DESSA @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | FRI, 7/26/13
"It's been assumed I'm soft or irrelevant/'Cause I refuse to downplay my intelligence." So raps Dessa on "Bullpen," from her debut album, A Badly Broken Code, released in 2010 on the Doomtree imprint. Although her inherent "hardness" has yet to be tested, it's clear that Dessa is an intelligent MC who clearly has something to say. Hailing from Minneapolis, the home of a vibrant underground hip-hop scene, Dessa brashly raps about the struggles she faces being a female rapper, a businesswoman and a published author. (Dessa is also playing Thursday, July 25, at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins.) -- Andy Thomas