Atlanta has gained a reputation as the center of Black music today, influencing the sound and culture throughout the nation. However, what often gets lost is the diversity of music and talent in the city. Rahbi, funk soul singer and native son, has used his annual Strange Fruit musical showcase to put the spotlight on local talent. With his recent Strange Fruit VIII: Funk Yeah! event at Atlanta’s Aisle 5, Rahbi has upped his game by inviting artists that included R&B, funk, hip-hop, soul and everything in between.
The night started with Jaye Newton warming up the crowd with conscious but fun hip-hop. On the rock side, Hero the Band represented, while all-women and all-awesome rock band The Txlips rocked out with some covers from Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. album. Meanwhile, emerging talent Nai Br.XX, Band of Brothas and Bounce-Worthy duo The APX held it down on the R&B side. In addition to the overwhelming local talent on display, Chi-town native Adam Ness blessed the stage.
Of course, the man of the hour Rahbi showed up and showed out. The singer made his grand entrance in a Roman Egyptian sedan chair carried by loyal servants in body glitter. Dressed like an emperor, Rahbi commanded the stage, giving glitz, glamour and a good dose of funk. In addition to playing some of his own music and giving us a sample of what’s to come with “Black Hand Side” featuring Band of Brothas, he also paid homage to his influences, covering James Brown’s “Sex Machine,” mashing up Rick James’s “Give It To Me Baby” with his own “Another Chance” and a few Earth, Wind & Fire covers, capping the night with “Boogie Wonderland.”
After another bold and brilliant edition of Strange Fruit, Rahbi already has us looking forward to the next installment and all the surprises that await.