ASUC SUPERB’s spring 2016 concert lineup is one of its most eclectic. Traversing a broad range of genres, from the Yoruban soul of the French-Cuban twin duo Ibeyi to the modern gangster rap of Indiana-based rapper Freddie Gibbs, there’s a lot to like about SUPERB’s spring 2016 concert series. Music fans across allegiances can all find free, on-campus live shows to check out this semester!
When: Saturday, time TBD
Where: Lower Sproul
Noname Gypsy is a sweet-voiced, Chicago-based rapper who rose to fame in 2013 after an inspired guest verse on “Lost” and a track on Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap. While her body of solo work is still limited, Telefone, her first mixtape, is currently in the works. She’s got a slew of collaborations under her belt, with silky-smooth contributions to Saba, Donnie Trumpet and budding rappers Mick Jenkins and Kirk Knight.
Noname’s website describes her as the Henny-sipping love child of Marvin Gaye and Gwendolyn Brooks. Her raps are transcendent, hypnotic and lyrical. A former slam poet, Noname doesn’t spit verses but floats them on a bed of clouds straight to your ears. Check out “Paradise,” featuring Queen SheCago, an honest song about wanting to return to childhood and her dreams to become a big-name rapper. Noname will be bouncing into Berkeley as part of the African-American Student Development Office’s first annual Black History Month Festival. Catch her free concert in Lower Sproul to see this up-and-coming artist with verses smoother than running water.
When: Feb. 25, 5 p.m.
Where: Upper Sproul
Soothing yet defiant, lilting yet powerful, Mitski captures a grace and vulnerability in her music like no other. The New York-based artist gained momentum with 2014’s breakthrough Bury Me at Makeout Creek — the album doesn’t shed the shimmering melancholy of her 2012 debut, LUSH, but rather explores new melodic territory. Straight out of a softly-lit neon dream, songs from Creek such as “I Don’t Smoke” and “First Love / Late Spring” pair longing lyrics with vibrant guitar builds, while the electric “Townie” is a rollicking blend of insistent drums and the singer’s sparkling falsetto.
Mitski recently wrapped her fall 2015 tour with Palehound and PWR BTTM, which included stops in Reykjavik, Iceland and Leeds, England. It’s been quite a while since the Bay Area has seen Mitski, however. Luckily, you have two chances: She’ll be performing at Swedish American Music Hall on Feb. 24 as a part of Noise Pop 2016’s hot lineup then on Upper Sproul the next evening.
When: March 31, 5 p.m.
Where: Memorial Glade
Known for his modern take on Gangster rap, Freddie Gibbs is a mainstay in talks of the next hip-hop great. Gibbs’ versatility as a rapper and his natural charisma create a wholly individual sound that fends off classification and broaches the boundaries of the genre.
Gibbs’ prowess as a storyteller is not to be underestimated either; his work has drawn comparisons to the likes of 2Pac, Biggie and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony with brutally honest lyrics of his hometown of Gary, Indiana, and his violent life as a drug dealer. His latest album, Shadow of a Doubt, features dark, muted production that meshes well with Gibbs’ polished delivery. With his unique flow and bumping trap beats, Gibbs is an act that you don’t want to miss — be sure to catch his early-evening performance on Memorial Glade, which will take place at 5 p.m.
When: April 7, 5 p.m.
Where: Upper Sproul
Michigan-native Zack Saginaw, who has previously recorded under the name Frank Omura, now uses the alias Shigeto, which is both his middle name and grandfather’s name. While growing up, Shigeto began to gain recognition Detroit’s music scene before moving to New York City to study jazz and then London, where he began to make electronic music. Shigeto has a unique style of electronically infused jazz and hip-hop with an additional emphasis on acoustic instruments that you have to take a listen to yourself to fully understand.
In 2015, Shigeto released his newest 6-track EP entitled Intermission. Whether you are going for a chill atmosphere while hanging out with friends or even trying to get into a study groove, Shigeto’s mellow electronic mixes have both ominous melodies and hopeful beats that reflect his directionality as an artist. Through his music, he pays homage to his lineage of fruitful visionaries while simultaneously carving his own creative path. Take an intermission from your studying and come vibe to Shigeto’s cutting-edge tunes.
When: April 21, 5 p.m.
Where: Upper Sproul
Meet Ibeyi, French-Cuban twin sisters Naomi Diaz and Lisa-Kainde Diaz. The group experiments and plays with different genres and create a captivating fusion of soul, jazz, clear beats and traditional instruments.
The sisters create a unique world of sensations by blending elements of contemporary music and the songs of their Yoruba ancestry. A Nigerian ethnic group with a rich culture, it has a strong influence in Ibeyi’s music. The group’s name and some of their songs are in Yoruba language, which gives their music an ethnic, mysterious air. The songs have a simple and minimalist beat but a profound and spiritual sound.
The 19-year-old girls took the best musical elements from the cultures they have been raised in. Cuban, French, Yoruba — their songs are examples of contemporary music spiced with exotic songs of African folk songs. Their creations are inspired by works of Frank Ocean, James Blake and King Krule. Naomi and Lisa-Kainde merge classical piano with their father’s favorite percussive instrument — cajon. They released a self-titled album in 2015; the most popular single, “River,” gained public attention with the conceptual video of the two sisters underwater, coming to surface to sing and then immersing back into the water again.
If you are looking for a rich and unique experience, come and fly off into the sunset on a journey to Cuba, France and Africa with Ibeyi’s ethereal music.
Contact Daily Cal Arts Staff at [email protected]