Knocturnal has developed a reputation for being the place for local MC’s to strut their stuff. On Mardi Gras Eve, I made my way to Charlotte, NC in search of some of the southeast’s finest hip hop and Trap music, and I was not disappointed. The evening began, as every Knocturnal event does, with an anyone-who-has-the-balls-can-join-in break dance circle. Set to a soundtrack of New Orleans funk and disco, this was a wonderful way to kick off the evening and a great reason to show up early.
Stranger Day (Charlotte, NC)
Marred by technical difficulties that forced at least 2 restarts to his set, Stranger Day manfully fought through these setbacks to deliver a short but sweet set. It was unfortunate that his set was cut short, because despite the stuttering start he brought up the level of energy in the room substantially, setting the stage up for the next two acts.
Mach 5 (Atlanta, GA)
Mach 5 made it pretty clear within the first few moments of their set that they were ready to party. “Teenage Jesus” might be my new favorite drunk anthem. Proudly referencing traditional southern crunk artists like Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat and the like, MC’s A.ware and Corey Davis demonstrated a self-awareness and tongue-in-cheek delivery that this kind of music demands. Rapping over a Heroes x Villians (also from Atlanta) track while chanting “Trap…Trap…Trap…Trap” was absolutely a highlight.
Clicks & Whistles (Charlotte, NC)
Stranger Day and Mach 5 were pleasant surprises, but I was there to see C&W. Hailing from Charlotte, NC, the group has made a noticeable impact on the burgeoning Trap scene, while also delving into more obscure and higher minded fare. This duality has made them one of my favorite electronic artists over the last year, and their set did not disappoint. The duo’s set definitely leaned towards the Trap side of their work, as recent singles “Fumando” and “Southern Slaw” were both standouts. I’ve become quite immersed in the realm of Trap beats and was pleasantly surprised to hear several tracks I was not familiar with. Regardless, driving rhythms, blaring sirens and literal clicks and whistles delighted myself and the crowd. Absolutely a group to watch going forward.