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Basement Records embraces the flow

Basement Records helps Brandeis musicians get professional. By assisting with branding, audio production and publishing, the club gets aspiring musicians to up their game. “Another Saturday Night in the Basement,” Basement Records’ first live performance this semester, was an opportunity for student artists to showcase their talent and hone their craft. Featuring hip-hop, and R&B with some strains of pop, the event brought beats and a quick format that kept the audience engaged.

The night started out strong with DJ Ekenomiks (Ekenedilichukwu Uwanaka ’21) laying down a beat that gave each artist a chance to demonstrate their talent freestyling. Bethlehem the Producer, (Bethel Adekogbe ’20), Trizzy Tré, The Rapper (Tré Warner ’22), and alum Jerome B (Marcelo Brociner ’18) were all especially good in this opening round, giving the audience a preview of their respective styles and expertise.

The show then transitioned to solo acts. Bethlehem The Producer opened things up with“Miss America,” a spoken word performance. “I’m the darkest berry poppin’ off like Cherry Coke,” he said, in the politically-charged poem.

Bethlehem then launched into his music, bringing the energy with songs like “Hennessy,” and “Waves Pt. 3.” The crowd reflected that energy, singing along and participating enthusiastically in the call and response parts, like when Bethlehem got the whole Stein to help sing the chorus on “Uh Huh.”

On “Waves Pt. 3,” he invited up two artists, Marz (Maegann Stafford ’19) and Jerome B, who went up for a solo performance later, provided vocals, with Jerome B taking a featured verse. The song has a great pace to it, an infectious guitar loop and a beat that makes you want to play it over and over again.

Trizzy Tré came up next, taking things up a notch with a lightning fast lyrical flow. Tré’s style was different than Bethlehem’s—a little faster, he seemed to have perfected that machine-gun style rap, where as soon as a word hits, he says the next one, leaving your brain in this dazzled state, trying to catch-up to the lyrical flow.

Tré’s third song, “PHONE CALLS,” was an audience favorite, with everyone singing along to the hook “They gon’ call my phone like.” The lyric “Face my fears like every hour/24, no Jack Bauer,” added a vulnerable courage to the song.

A few artists later, we got to hear from Jerome B, the stage name of Marcelo Brociner, who graduated from Brandeis last May. With a voice reminiscent of MF DOOM and El-P, Jerome B demonstrated versatility in his performance, rapping in Spanish in his opening song, “¿Qué es el precio de paraíso?” — “What’s the price of paradise?”

For his second song, Jerome B brought up Briana Li ’20 and Late Night Thoughts’ Brian Rauch ’19, who provided backing vocals. At the end of one of Jerome’s verses, there was an audible sigh from the crowd—the exhalation of the audience after an incredible verse in which Jerome rapped without a beat, in an almost overwhelming machine-gun style delivery.

There was a song about gentrification, “Condos,”— “All I see is condos…vamos vamos vamos.” The mention of “Five dollar donuts” as a sign of gentrification was all too real. With a purposefully-bland realtor video of an empty apartment playing behind him, “Condos” felt particularly well-presented.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Stein is one of the worst performance spaces known to man. “Another Saturday Night” worked because the performers and audience made it work, but an awkwardly-designed, poorly-lit quasi-diner is not an ideal place for live music.

But Basement Records brought their best, and that was more than enough. My hope would be that we get to have more shows, and performers, in a dedicated performance venue.

The organization’s president, Bethel Adekogbe ’20 (AKA Bethlehem The Producer) wants the club to be a welcoming space where people can perform and hone their art: “That’s one of the reasons I became the president for Basement,” he said to The Hoot. “To help facilitate a space for students who may not have felt welcomed or wanted in the music scene at Brandeis.”

“If a student already makes music we help them to improve their abilities, increase their audience and give them opportunities to showcase their talent. If they don’t already make music, we help them to learn the ins and outs of the production, the music industry and much more.”

For music industry hopefuls, Basement Records is a opportunity to learn and grow in a supportive, inclusive environment. Hopefully Brandeis will recognize that and give our student musicians the space they deserve.

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