The best rap shows in Denver in October
TUES | FLATBUSH ZOMBIES at CERVANTES' OTHER SIDE | 10/22/13
As if torn out of the pages of a graphic novel, Flatbush Zombies are intense and ultra-stylized to an extent that is at once cartoonish and darkly gritty. Sometimes, in the case of very exciting music such as theirs, substance takes a back seat to style, but both of their mixtapes, D.R.U.G.S. and BetterOffDEAD, get exponentially better with multiple listens. Thanks to the wild individuality of Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice and the remarkably advanced production of the multi-talented Erick Arc Elliott, Flatbush Zombies are already one of the best rap groups around, and they'll only get better.
See also: The ten best mixtape rappers of all time
TUES | EARL SWEATSHIRT at FOX THEATRE | 10/22/13
After releasing his prodigious self-titled debut at only sixteen, Earl was sent into exile by his mom to a Samoan disciplinary program during the most exciting years of Odd Future's meteoric rise, depriving the act's rabid fans of his music. As a result, Earl Sweatshirt's Doris was easily one of the most hyped rap albums this year. Because of his incredibly deep voice, occasionally repetitive flow and moodiness, Earl can come across as monotonous, but he is an incredibly gifted poet who has the ability to infuse his words with darkness and mystique while baring his soul with a refreshing honesty.
SUN | BIG K.R.I.T. at CERVANTES' | 10/27/13
Big K.R.I.T.'s been making music since 2005, but the mixtape that brought him to a wide audience was 2010's K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. The self-produced tape overflows will old-school soul, wisdom and the finest rapping to come out of Mississippi since... well, ever. But instead of immediately capitalizing on his newfound heat with a studio album, which he certainly could have done, he instead kept putting out dope mixtape after dope mixtape. By the time he finally released his studio debut, Live From the Underground, K.R.I.T. had already put out so much great music, the album sounded no better (maybe even a little worse) than the mixtapes. To K.R.I.T.'s credit, the album's not bad at all; the mixtapes are just really, really good.
TUES | J COLE at 1STBANK CENTER | 10/22/13
J. Cole's a funny artist, because even though he's a Gold-selling rapper, he still hasn't released an album as good as either of his Roc Nation mixtapes -- The Warm Up and, especially, Friday Night Lights. On the latter, with tracks like "Too Deep for the Intro," Cole proved that he had a raw, emotional honesty not often seen in hip-hop. The mixtape format also allowed him to go hard over already popular beats like Kanye's "Devil in a New Dress" on "Villematic."