(photos by Broccoli)
Supakaine’s latest project, Scholastica Park, blessed the airwaves on October 31st of this year, and last Thursday he took it to the Majestic Cafe, bringing together friends, fans, and a few special guests as he brought the release to life.
The first thing I noticed was the tight-knit atmosphere. I’ve known about APX for a while, and from what I’d seen the team bonds were strong, but likes and shares don’t do justice to the camaraderie. While Kaine’s song “Bridges” laments on the struggles of toxic associations, it’s apparent that his crew is quite the opposite. With Joe Robinson steering the ship, the night was a talent show of some of Detroit’s finest, past meeting present and future, from within APX and beyond.
This collision of new and old was also represented in the album itself, aptly exhibited by two feature in particular: a verse from Guilty Simpson on “Black and Blue,” (which also features Payroll Giovani), and vocals from one of the city’s rising stars, Sam Austins, on “Going Solo.”
Another thing I should mention is that the night wasn’t just about Kaine; Yes, it was a celebration of his release, and of course he was a major focus, but he was out there before and after every set, shouting out his fellow artists and hyping the crowd for the people he rides for. The love did not go unnoticed, with each supporting artist giving their own take on Kaine, man that had known him for years and seen his progression firsthand. Not a single set went by without a few exchanges of praise, and we even got a few guest appearances from Kaine before he graced the stage for the headlining set.
Every act brought something different to the table; Nvdeem and Lokye brought some heavier R&B influences, while Yung Roc delivered rap madness with the help of 6AAMM, whose vocal offerings added to Roc’s flow while simultaneously standing strong on their own.
A highlight of the night was a performance by Prada Leary, APX standout and close friend/collaborator of Kaine’s, bringing an energy that made an impression on those who didn’t know (most people were enthusiastically familiar). In addition, his back and forth with Kaine brought the bonds within APX to center stage, and served as a solid prelude to the legend about to hit the mic.
Guilty Simpson is essential listening for any Detroit Hip-Hop head. Ask anyone that knows anything about the scene, and Simpson’s name is sure to come up. When I first heard Dice Game, his collaborative project with Apollo Brown, I listened to it on repeat for a month straight. A few years ago he played a Dilla tribute show (who he shouted out several times during his performance) with none other than Jay Electronica, which was arguably the best rap show I’ve ever seen.
Before he took the stage, Kaine expressed his heartfelt appreciation for Simpson, who became a close friend and mentor to him after they toured together in 2016. In his own words, “[Simpson] didn’t know me from a can of paint before that, and now we out here together.”
Simpson was quick to return the favor, adding a few words of wisdom to the praise: “I don’t always agree with the feelings of my generation,” he admitted, continuing that many old heads are skeptical about some new trends in Hip Hop. Meaningful lyrics have partially relinquished their priority to choruses and catch-phrases, but rather than rejecting these new developments, Simpson challenges his peers to embrace the new, and if I can be so bold, his co-sign of Supakaine is more than justified.
At last, we had Supakaine come out to perform live some of the standouts from Scholastica Park, including “Incense,” which features and is also produced by DaG, “Keep Walking,” and a powerful rendition of “What a Feeling” that provided an assertive finale to his outstanding set.
He’d consistently put on for his team up to that moment, and he took full advantage of his well-earned time to shine with a performance that brought his most personal project to date straight to the ears, minds, and hearts of the people that came to support him.
It was my first time seeing Kaine perform live, and if this is any indication of what to expect, you can bet I won’t be missing the next opportunity to see this exceptional Detroit artist make his mark.
Listen to Scholastica park here, and be on the lookout for what’s to come from Supakaine and the rest of the APX team.