Salem has a hip hop scene, due in large part to the seemingly tireless efforts of Aaron Nash, stage name “ThatKidCry”.  If there’s a rap show going in on town, look closely at the flyer. Chances are he’s either curated it, or he’s performing. Not only does he put on tons of shows, he also has an impressive catalogue of music and videos. He has nine releases all on bandcamp for your enjoyment. I’m listening to “Words to Remember – Mixtape” right now, and his variety in style is impressive and refreshing. The title track features Salem’s own hugely talented Fahari Classix’s smokey soulful vocals and backup from emcee Logic One out of South Lake Tahoe. Nash collaborates often with other talent from around the area, and it’s an aspect of his work that is very important to him.

In truth, ThatKidCry’s music deserves its own column – there’s just too much to talk about. But what I’m here to celebrate is a milestone for his project “Northwest Monthly.” Northwest Monthly is the moniker of a regular hip hop show that he and friend and manager Ari Andrade started two years ago at The Triangle. Since then, they’ve put together impressive lineups of local Northwest talent every single month, including magnificent show flyers, (I wish more people made flyers). This is in addition to all the other shows he puts on and performs in. He didn’t even miss a beat when he went on a month-long 14 city tour in September of this year. His tour culminated with September’s volume 23 of Northwest Monthly, which I attended and thoroughly enjoyed. There was strong representation from local Native American hip hop talent like Grizzly, Mista Chief and my new favorite, Stryk-9. It was particularly poignant to listen to their rhymes given the current situation in North Dakota (where many of them are right now). Their song “Infectious” talked about giving the blankets back, and I almost cried. They call it “conscious rap.” It’s my favorite.

Nash knows how to put on a show and he’s got a doozy lined up for his two year extravaganza. First off, it’s being hosted by Jessie Sponberg, a social justice and environmental warrior who recently ran for mayor of Portland. You had me at social justice – I’m there. Nash described this show as “instrument heavy,” and includes:  Felony Flats, Rich McCloud, Raise the Bridges and Donovan Trip from Portland, BP & PraDuh out of Sacramento and Tomikaze the Saxxy Beast + PlayBots from Cottage Grove. As you can see, it’s not all hip hop acts for this show. That’s another thing Nash enjoys doing: mixing it up, getting diverse people together and seeing what happens. “I love when two previously unacquainted groups get together and before you know it, they’re collaborating on their next project.” Nash is a giver and Salem’s lucky to have him. If you’ve never been to one of his shows, you’re in for a talent packed evening. Give it a try November 18th at The Triangle. It’s a free show.