Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

Gadema – The Brighter Side of Nowhere

A funny thing happened on my way to reviewing D.O.P.E. Clique’s Blunt Force Trauma, the long awaited release from Des Moines MC’s Young Tripp and Gadema. I was all set to give this unique and incredible release the attention it deserves (and I still might down the road. I just want to take a moment and say that Iowa is so awesome that I now have a backlog of stuff I need to review. That is awesome). It’s just that when I went to Gadema’s Bandcamp page, I discovered he had a slightly under the radar release that came out in late December. So I listened to it. And, well.  It’s awesome. Maybe more awesome than Trauma, maybe not. I haven’t decided yet.

lFor those unfamiliar, Gadema, originally known as Gaiden Gadema, is one of Des Moines premier and most prolific MC’s.  He is responsible for one of my favorite Iowa albums and hip-hop albums of all time, 2009’s The Jim Kelly Acquisition. Since that album, Gadema has established himself as a smart and gifted MC, with a gigantic chip on his shoulder. He’s an MC as interested as proving his skills as he is shutting down yours. But mixed within that swagger is a man who understands his life, his city and his society.

On this unexpected release, Gadema channels all of his confidence into a seven song set that is almost a perfect introduction to those who are unfamiliar. It’s all new releases, but there is a greatest hits vibe. There tracks that showcase his confidence (“Gademus”, “Rhyme For Days”) a smart take on the party track (“Under the Influence”) and songs with an eye towards the world at large (“Vendetta”, “Salute the Sun”). It is a solid cross section of what Gadema can do and what he brings to the table as an artist.

I also think this album is special thanks to the production from Nicodemus. The samples are unexpected with some guitar heavy licks in “Gademus” to a more 80’s pop vibe in “Rhyme For Days”. The album takes a turn towards the introspective towards the end, and the production follows suit. Being simple at the right time, being background where they need to and overpowering where it matters.

All in all, while I really liked Blunt Force Trauma and think it totally earned its spot on my best of 2012 list, I think I like The Brighter Side of Nowhere that much more. I would recommend listening to it and, if it’s your thing, going through and listening to the rest of Gadema’s catalogue.

Try Not To Miss Shows – 1/17 – 1/23

Ganza 666 Feat. Poison Control Center, Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires, Wolves in the Attic and Mantis Pincers – Vaudeville Mews 1/18 7pm

If you are at all familiar with my work, you knew this one would be high on my list of shows to attend. Real world stuff will keep me from this, so go in my place.

The Melismatics w/ Bright Giant and RadKey – Gas Lamp 1/19

A Minneapolis dirty glam rock band that is awesome. Go to this one, too.

Peace Love and Stuff, Mumford’s, Surgery and Rebel Creek – M Shop 1/19 7pm

Four unique acts on one bill. Blues rock, rockabilly, goth electronic and whatever you want to call what  Mumford’s does. Punk jazz? Skabilly? Anyway, they’re all great.