$tackboy Ent. @ Outback Lodge

Stackboy Ent., an organization of seven young MCs, lyricists and producers, entertained a crowd of over fifty at the Outback Lodge in Charlottesville back in November 2007.

Stackboy Ent is on stage with DJ XSV, the crowd is pushing up to the stage, hands in the air, and the whole building is buzzing with sound and good vibes. Throughout the night, Stackboys make their way through the crowd, pushed ahead by friends and fans, as DJ Millz films the event. They take the stage to the cheers of the audience, where young men stand at the center in hoodies and jeans and women dance on the side in casual dress. Many people are already convinced of the talent of these young men, yet still others in the crowd, new to the experience, look on skeptically. Their skepticism doesn’t last long; the crowd pushes closer. Men bob their heads and shoulders and women sway their hips to the heavy beats. The climax of the night comes with HB’s Get Money – “Who wants money?” they ask, as they shower the crowd with greenbacks. The energy held through P. Giovanni’s In Da’Ville, as the entire room put two up and two down to represent Virginia.

This is the third show of Outback Lodge’s attempt to revive the hip-hop scene by offering the only major venue space for local artists. This effort, combined with a new sound system and new stage downstairs is aimed at offering an alternative venue in town that supports the edgier side of music. Intentional or not, this new mission also seems to have broken down the racial and genre barriers between the upstairs and downstairs clubs that used to exist – punk, metal, hip-hop, goth and indie rock all share both stages.

This is the first major show for Stack Boyz and there are some performance jitters – mostly related to sound and technology breakdowns. It is the also the first time Stackboyz have worked with DJ XSV and at times they seem to work at cross purposes. Yet, the beats, designed by P. Giovanni, Nix, and DJ Millz were well crafted. The MCs’ vocal performances, and ability to work with the situation and with the crowd made this a strong show. HB was particularly charismatic, with flows that were smooth and well-executed. Domino’s minimalist sounds and dead-pan delivery forge a new path for Virginia hip-hop, which is often caught between the sounds of NY and ATL. Bandana Money, the youngest member of the group, proved that he is one of the hottest up and coming acts, showing confidence in his fiery delivery.

The buzz of this live show only partially reveals the on-line attention that is given to their mix tapes. Despite the few opportunities for live performance in town, the artists of Stack Boy Ent. are remaking Charlottesville’s hip-hop scene as each member contributes his own unique talents and strengths to the group.

Stackboy Ent. has big plans in mind. Stackboy Ent., lead by manager DJ Millz, is working to bring new life to the Charlottesville scene, supporting each other and up and coming acts. They aim to lead a scene that would be visible beyond Charlottesville’s borders and a community that would support young kids coming up in their city. As they achieve financial success, they plan to reinvest in their community through creating a venue. This will be particularly important, as the Outback Lodge, like other venues before it, has lost the ability to host hip-hop shows.