Moving along, to the beat of Mardi Gras

otaylor@thestate.comFebruary 24, 2012 

THE MOVEMENT: Ben G’s mixtape “Cak-Ill-Ak Muzik” has caught the attention of superstar rappers like T.I.

The mixtape, presented by the influential DJ Green Lantern, who has worked with Eminem and hosts “The Invasion” on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Hip-Hop Nation channel, is a harbinger: The B-FAM movement is getting stronger.

Soon Ben G, a Columbia native who moved to Atlanta last year to further his career, will have to make some more career decisions. In hip-hop, white rappers are hot right now. So if offered, should Ben G sign a major-label deal like Machine Gun Kelly and Yelawolf (with Diddy and Eminem, respectively) or stay independent like, say, Mac Miller?

At his mixtape release show Feb. 16 at 5 Points Pub, Ben G didn’t seem like he was about to make the decision of a lifetime. He was relaxed, as usual. The show sold out (225 people, officially) by 11 p.m., and there was a line at least 50 deep waiting to get in for an hour after ticket sales stopped. On the day that Boss G., one of the state’s most prominent rappers, was sentenced to 17 years in prison, the show was a lift for hip-hop. And me.

Ox and Wally Fatz, two rappers in the B-Fam crew, opened the show with raucous sets. Ben G was introduced by FatRat Da Czar, a street rapper who has a gift for colorful shows, which is to say there is a variety of people — thugs, frat boys, hipsters and, apparently, children after seeing his Mardi Gras Columbia set — in his audience. The response to Ben G, who performs with a live drummer, is the same.

Gorilla Zoe has co-signed Ben G. Locally, he’s done an intro for WHXT-FM Hot 103.9 DJ Lucky Leon.

Ben G still claims Columbia — the 803, to be precise — when he’s in Atlanta. He could soon be taking his message worldwide. A salute for that.

ALL ABOARD: While many music fans were remembering Whitney Houston this weekend, Don Cornelius, the former host of “Soul Train,” was remembered at the Columbia Blues Festival Friday night at The Township. How? By — what else? — a “Soul Train” line. Cornelius died Feb. 1.

MARDI GRAS: Earlier this week, I was still finding beads in random crevices of my life. Obviously, I had a good time Saturday at Mardi Gras Columbia, hosted by Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya. And judging from the galleries posted by The State, Thomas Hammond, Forrest Clonts, Stereofly, Incandescent Images and others on Sunday, the 3,000 folks who partied and paraded had similar experiences. Some highlights and observations:

When the drummers from Benedict College’s marching band leaned into their step maneuvers at the corner of Rosewood Drive and South Edisto Street, the formation became the most exciting part of the parade. Put them in front next year.

The Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul had turntables and speakers hooked up in the bed of a pickup truck. Really cool. And Amy Caffee made the krewe masks out of 45s. Really cool.

Jenny Maxwell’s crocheted cape, a last minute find from Hip-Wa-Zee, had to be in the running for most complimented outfit. Crocheting krewe, anyone?

A float driven by Robbie McClam, an owner of City Roots, where the party was held, had to stop for gas. During the parade.

The dogs in the parade were really, really well behaved.

Thanks, Whitney Malson, for the refreshment at Cock n Bull.

There were two stages at City Roots, on either side of the building, that didn’t interfere with each other. And inside the building, interference from the outside noise was minimal. The performance run of FatRat, The Get Wets, Those Lavender Whales, The Can’t Kids, Chemical Peel and Sweet Vans will be hard for any local festival to beat. Perhaps Tom Hall should get into booking.

And, lastly, a scary thought: What if the weather had been rainy and cold like it was on Sunday? Makes me shudder, too.

ST. PAT’S: The St. Pat’s in Five Points lineup was released last week, and Hinder is the big-name headliner. In other festival news, Weaving the Fate’s Jeremy Roberson will play drums for Crossfade’s set. Crossfade’s Les Hall has played with Weaving the Fate, so why not more cross-pollination?

DRIVE: Joey Thompson, half of Dinobrite Productions, looks like actor Ryan Gosling. Or so he thinks. Or so a convenience store clerk does. Anyway, a video of Thompson teaching how to look like “The Notebook” star has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube. Thompson, who is campaigning to get on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” told me a followup video will be released soon.

SHAME ON YOU: Do not go see “Shame” at Nickelodeon Theatre. That’s was the message on papers stuck to posts around town. The film about a sex addict ran through Feb. 23. The posts chided actors Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender, saying their performances “will only serve to ruin your sexual standards.” A discussion on the theater’s Facebook page ensued. “They probably posted this as an advertising piece,” one commenter wrote. The very next comment: “i mean, duh.” We were with that guy well before Andy Smith, the theater’s executive director, conceded it was a ploy. Good stuff. Good movie, too.

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