Styles upon styles

The Hip-Hop scene is bubbling with new faces experimenting with new sounds and concepts. 

Story by ROBERTO ELGUERA 

The underground Hip-Hop scene in Salt Lake City is in an exciting place right now. The hard work musical artists have been putting in for years now is finally paying off. Rappers with respected styles of their own, we get a glimpse of each one’s upbringing and influences through their music. 

A workhorse who is always representing the city is Zac Ivie. Born and raised in Utah, Ivie’s presence is undeniable in the scene. He is always working in the studio or performing. He has rubbed shoulders alongside well-known rappers like Ghostface Killa, Talib Kweli, Blueface, to name a few. He’s also a big believer in investing in yourself.  

“There is a lot that goes into this rap game, marketing, promoting, network, brand building. You gotta be your own PR, your own graphic designer, your own director in music videos, in this day and age you gotta be a jack of all trades,” Ivie says. Staying true to his words, Ivie started his own record label, Get It Write Records. The label’s purpose is to create an open environment for aspiring artists to hone their skills and continue to build creativity in Utah. 

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Zac Ivie. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Coming off of his new 2020 album WISHKID, Ivie continues to push himself musically. 

On the track “Pressure,” Ivie flows lightly on top of bright keys addressing his self-doubts and motivations for rapping. The standout R&B track, “Temptation,” featuring SayD and Breanna Marin, shows a different side of Ivie. Marin’s vocals sound amazing and SayD and Ivie have great chemistry as they share their views on love. If you’re a fan of Ivie’s Noteytapes, you’ll appreciate songs like “Red Handed,” “Joycee,” and “Luv.” Whether you’re a long-time listener or a newcomer, there is something for everyone on this album.

Another prominent character on the scene is Vinnie Cassius. Also known as Ferrari $moke, Cassius has been making noise on the scene for a while now. His shows aren’t meant for the shy listener. It’s for mosh-pits. A great entertainer, Cassius showed why he’s a veteran in the game at the Outset/Lord Sinek show on Feb. 24, 2020, show at Kilby Court. Cassius easily got the crowd jumping with him during his whole set. He even managed to get the crowd singing along to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl.” 

His crowd control comes from experience. After performing a sold-out show at the 801 Event Center, Cassius decided that he would give it his all every show no matter the stage. “It was my first time being in front of a stage like that and I was like, alright, every show got to be like this,” Cassius says.

What’s distinct about Cassius is his dark and cavernous sound. This sound made its first appearance on full display on Revenge Until Death. This tight-knit six-song EP doesn’t pull any punches. Right from the beginning with the song “NWO,” it throws the listener into a dark abyss as Cassius doesn’t let up even for a breath.

Cassius’ flow and the hard-hitting production match perfectly. He displays his own production ability on “Fiff (5th).” The standout track, “500 Degrees,” feels like a second-hand high, with the intoxicating chorus, “Treat my city like it’s Gotham how I’m riding in the night. They ain’t ever gonna stop me.” He’s got a lot of unreleased music in the vault, like the song, “Platinum Chanel,” that will be released in the near future. It will be exciting to see a new project from him as he continues to push his craft to a new level.  

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Vinnie Cassius performing at The Loading Dock. Photo by Roberto Elguera.

At the time of this article being written, Cassius has been invited to perform at The Hive Select Sound show on June 20, 2020, at the Utah State Fairpark. Cassius will be performing alongside big names in the current rap game with the likes of Ski Mask, The Slump God, Flatbush Zombies, Denzel Curry, and more that will be revealed soon. This will be a great opportunity for Cassius to show his talents on a bigger scale. 

Moving over to the west side of Salt Lake City, we have Rose Park’s own Bobby B Mac. What’s interesting about B Mac is his versatility and delivery. It’s a sound that is rough and gritty; reminiscent of the 1990s with a modern twist. On “Heaven or Hell,” B Mac smoothly glides on a dreamy laid back beat while he shares his introspections and sorrows. He raps about his frustration over his brother getting 15 years in prison and class inequality. Even though he is faced with these challenges, B Mac remains grounded. He continues by rapping about being mindful of his money and staying independent as an artist. 

In his music video for “95 Baby,” B Mac shows his hometown alongside his collective the Ghost Family. In this song, he addresses the school-to-prison pipeline. Even when faced with these issues B Mac remains hopeful with lines of motivation for his community. 

B Mac has always had an interest in music. Coming from a musical background, his father, Bryant Masina (also known as B. Side), was a prominent figure in the rap community. And B Mac’s uncle was a member of the Polynesian-American group, The Jets. 

“It’s always been around me. With everything growing up, I took bits and pieces of different genres. I was like damn I’m gonna make some rap music,” B Mac says. 

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Bobby B Mac. Photo courtesy of the artist.

“As far as my style, I try to keep a West Coast feel and energy, but at the same time, East Coast, as far as my delivery and bars,” B Mac says. But it’s not just about music. He has become a voice for his community. 

“I would say we just got to be more active with the kids. We got to break that barrier. So that way the kids know that they’re not alone. They may be pressured by social media to have these certain types of things, have these certain types of lifestyles, but I mean, if we’re able to just teach them that, well, whatever you got, you’re blessed,” B Mac says. 

Seeing these artists hustling for their passion is inspiring. At times they have to be their own director, promoter, and producer to keep their art alive. If you’re a real fan of Hip-Hop music, take some time to check out your local artists.