By: Lauren Royer
“Pell Yeah!” the crowd yells with admiration back at Pell, New Orlean’s freshest and finest rapper. Going out of my way to see this artist throw down on a Thursday night, it felt as though I was winning regardless having only paid 10 bucks to see this youngin go. I’m going to try my best to describe his sound: groovy, light, jazzy rhythmic, almost a hint of Cudi meets something new and more humorful. There were some songs that had reggae vibes and the crowd had some dread-heads swaying to it heavy.
Hosted by Red Bull Sound Selects, Pell clearly has wisdom beyond his years and is catching the attention of the right people. The biggest thing I noticed about his performance was his ability to connect with his audience, heart to heart. They were hooked on his performance, his words, his energy. This is such a fantastic thing to see because live performances can make or break your audience’s experience of you as an artist and how they listen to your music after.
One way Pell was able to manifest this energy was through his deep lyricism. Even though I described his sound as light and jazzy, his lyrics run deep and hit you in all the right places. He also created a hyped and creative stage presence. With his iconic pale tangerine colored hat, canvas portrait propped up to his left, and another single musician to his right, he kept his personal energy up by bouncing and dipping to every bar he dropped. The third element that made his audience sync up with him was the interaction he worked in. Throughout the set, he got people involved by asking them to echo a phrase while he sang, kind of like an old school ‘roll call’. That shit works well.
There was a fella named Shawn in the front row of Pell’s set and he hadn’t even heard of him before. I asked him what he thought after hearing Pell for the first time and it was clear his world had just been rocked:
“That was incredible! That was exactly what I miss from Hip Hop! Just like good, clean beats, and lyricism. It’s gotten so much to where it’s more about the producers than it is about the Hip Hop Artist. That’s fine but don’t call it rap, call it something else, but (Pell) is the shit that I missed, that I craved, like why I even got into Hip Hop to begin with.”
Listening to Pell before and after his set, I can tell you his energy will stay with me and enhance his music even more. Performances should stick with your audience long after you drop the mic and Pell was able to achieve to carve out a super stellar performance. Would recommend to a friend.