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ISSUE 118 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/24/2004

'Heir' grounds

By Stephen Gunvalson
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 24, 2004

The eclectic sounds of local hip-hop group Heiruspecs filled the Pause Saturday night while over 300 fans shook their fists excitedly and sang along.

Unlike many of todays overproduced, digitally infused hip-hop music, Heiruspecs offered a live, vocal oriented brand of hip-hop that wowed audiences with its fresh appeal.

P.O.S., a solo artist from Minneapolis and co-founder of underground hip-hop movement Doomtree Nation (DU Nation), took the Mane Stage as Heiruspecs opening act. Although the crowd appeared unfamiliar with his music, they seemed to take quickly to his amiable personality.

After warming up, P.O.S. made two invitations to the lively audience. "Anyone want to take me home?" he inquired. "Only five dollars and you can have me on CD."

His second request was for a show of hands from audience-members willing to have a smoke with him after the show  and about five hands rose in response.

Concluding his performance, P.O.S. gave an honorable introduction to Heiruspecs, and hinted at the "dance party" to come.

As the St. Paul hip-hop band assembled onstage, the crowd welcomed them excitedly. Even as the group embarked on their first song, members of the crowd had their hands swinging from right to left in time with the bass drum beats of percussionist Peter Leggett.

By the third song, "The Fall," from their self-released album Small Steps, the crowds ever-increasing energy had seemingly transformed the Pause from a venue in the land of colleges, cows and contentment to a Twin Cities club.

One of the many highlights of the night was front man Felixs alter ego, MC Muad'Dib. His vocal chords were the only instruments required to produce the diverse sounds and beats that laid the foundation for several songs. At one point in the evening, Felix played the role of beat box by setting a rhythm and doing some vocal fills.

Later, he styled a "Satchmo-esque" solo to set off an accented jazz drumbeat. He finished the set with a one-man, rapid-fire rhyming act.

In between songs, Felix mentioned that the only songs the crowd wouldnt recognize were those from their upcoming release, A Tiger Dancing, which they produced under the Razor and Tie Records label. The anticipated release date for Tiger is Sept. 28  the same day they are scheduled to perform at a CD release party at Fifth Element Records in Minneapolis.

In a genre generally restricted to reproduced samples and ever-so-familiar sounds, Heiruspecs original approach seems a breath of fresh air for the underground hip-hop scene.

The vocally-oriented trend Heiruspecs follows, originally explored by the famous underground-turned-mainstream hip-hop group The Roots, is attracting more and more fans.

Slug of Atmosphere and Rhymesayers Entertainment pay further testament to the nationwide movement toward live hip-hop, and the uniquely flavored music of Heiruspecs and Doomtree Nation also bear witness to a progressive Twin Cities hip-hop scene.

As their fan base continues to grow, Heiruspecs is becoming almost transcendental in its sound appeal  both indie and punk crowds are becoming more interested in a genre that was formerly unappealing.

Saturdays concert at the Pause was indicative of their mass appeal. Heiruspecs harmonious flow of rhyme and rhythm generated a night of hip-hop thrills and enjoyment; it even got a few Scandinavians to shake their fists and sing along  and that in itself is quite an accomplishment.

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