By: Nick Nuk'em Phora The Observatory June 28, 2013 The mostly-teenage flock accompanied by their rap-weary parent at the Observatory for the CHOC Cancer benefit headlined by Phora had the opportunity to do a few cool things this past Friday night. On top of donating money for the saintliest of causes, the crowd--predominated by young Latinas who drag the last syllable of their sentences on forever--watched Phora step another wrung up on the music industry ladder. Also, in lieu of the several house parties that left cops throughout OC with little to do on the Friday night, the approximately 2,000 heads in attendance came together in the name of local culture to support a burgeoning click of local artists But for all of the love that was shown to upcoming acts like Omenz, Rhyme Addicts, and Rebels to the Grain, (the latter even had a toddler on stage rocking with them), one question in the afore mentioned Latina voice summarized the night's vibe: "When the fuck is Phora coming owwwt?"
A room full of Cali-incorporated t-shirts and hats erupted as Phora emerged, following a set from fellow buzz worthy local artist Self-Provoked. The energy in the crowd inflated to maximum capacity as hands and arms rose to full-sail. The maturity exuded in the music of the Anaheim native--often celebrated on his click-worthy YouTube videos--materialized nicely during his live performance. He made his way to the Observatory that night in a pair of dirty chucks that he rocks like they were "Jordans made of gold" as he raps on his track "The Old Days."
That essence of "underground hip-hop" adds to Phora's appeal to his audience who could be caught passionately singing along to song as if they'd wrote the lyrics themselves. His words are their thoughts expressed over Bluesy, bass-heavy beats. After performing music from his upcoming album dropping July 1st, "One Life to Live", the head emcee of the night paused to wipe his face and graciously admit he was performing in front of his largest crowd to date. At one point, cheers for the 19 year-old rapper turned into full-on chants.
Those responsible for the ruckus were presumably the same dedicated young'ns who found a spot in the pit at 8:30 and remained stationary, -except for the feverish head-bobbing, hand-swaying, and sweat-wiping until Phora took the stage half past midnight. That feat was made infinitely more attainable by the fact that teenagers too young to a buy brew don't have to piss all night as a result of it.
At another break in the music, a fan yelled out for the headliner to perform one of his older tracks. "I see we got some old school fans in the house", Phora repeated three or four times through an embarrassing grin seemingly realizing the true magnitude of his buzz.
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The young artist's poise, production quality, and of course tremendous skill make him capable of rocking the same stages as West Coast contemporaries Dom Kennedy, Casey Veggies, etc. With the help of his already dedicated fanbase, OC's favorite adolescent rapper doesn't have long before he's heard on Power's "New@2". Keep your ears peeled for the local underground rap movement's front man.
Get Phora's new album "One Life to Live" when it drops July 1st http://phoraclothing.bigcartel.com
Random Notebook Dump: After the hundredth of what seemed to be a thousand t-shirts thrown from the stage, one had to begin questioning whether they were still at a hip-hop show or in an impoverished country after a Super Bowl.