On Saturday night, I was hitting the websites of all the music venues, trying to find something new and different to satisfy my lust for live music. On the Grottos site, they promised a rather eclectic lineup, ending with some band I'd never heard of called Mount Olympus. A quick Google/Facebook search showed several acts by that name, and only one of them seemed to be playing in Funkytown. It was a hip-hop collective, and Dru B Shinins name was attached to it.
Ive seen Dru perform before, and that was enough to make up my mind. I headed out to the Grotto. I was too late for the opening acts, and I really wanted to see The More You Know, but I walked in just as Mount Olympus was setting up.
Dru describes Mount Olympus as kind of a Funkytown Wu-Tang clan.
We all just kinda have different styles, said Dru, so we just bring it together in Wu-Tang everybody has like a certain role to play, like certain strengths. We all have certain strengths. Cliffs a free-styler, some of the younger guys do like more music thats relevant to the younger people; we all have a certain role.
Mount Olympus has been collectivizing since May, and they have already put out a few recordings and a couple of music videos. Their creative output is truly a collaborative process.
Each person writes their own verses, said Dru, and comes up with their own song ideas. So you get to play like a different role sometimes that you wouldnt normally do. If one of the guys comes and hes more of a street rapper and he wants to do a song with you, then you have to say How can I get on a street song and still be myself?
Mount Olympus consists of Dru B Shinin', Wrex Washington, Young Zeus, Big Cliff, J Kush, Cali4nia Cuddy, A-Roy, Paul Gordon (on drums) and DJ DreDey. I honestly couldnt tell you how many of these guys were on stage. It was hectic, and to add to the confusion, you couldnt get near the stage because of the enthusiastic Grotto crowd (and the Grotto has a low stage, so visibility is limited). So all I can say is there were drums, a DJ, and a bunch of rappers. The music was energizing, and the collective owned the limited space on the stage they owned the whole room for that matter. The place was packed, and everyone was focused on Mount Olympus.
After a frantic set of original songs, they opened up the mics to free-style rap and audience members were given a chance. Ive always been a fan of improvisation in all forms of music, but especially rap. Sometimes its awkward and falls apart, other times its mind-blowing, and its always fun to watch.
Mount Olympus is off to a good start, and you should definitely check out their videos (http://www.youtube.com/itsthemo), and their upcoming show at Lolas on January 5th.