Special Edition Groove at the Grove Brings Hip Hop to Claremont

On Nov. 4, KSPC organized a special hip-hop edition of Groove at the Grove House at Pitzer College by inviting several artists from off-campus and a 5C group.

Despite the cold weather and the highly popular SCAMFest happening the same evening, Groove at the Grove proved to be a successful event. The artists that performed were Abstract Rude, Besatree & K Serious, Big Digits, and Big Body Nation, an up-and-coming band 5C band.

Rapper Abstract Rude was a huge crowd-puller, and the audience was excited to see him perform in Claremont.

“I enjoyed Abstract Rude's set lot. He's such a talented performer, and the whole mood of the show changed as soon as he started,” said Alison Rosenfeld PZ ’13, the KSPC Live Music Director who organized the event.

Big Digits, a duo of rappers from Cambridge, was also at the Grove House to perform. K Serious, another performer at the show, said, “The Big Digits were very exciting to watch and really got the crowd going with their highly energetic performance.”

Despite being relatively new in comparison to the professional performers at the show, Big Body Nation stood its ground. Big Body Nation was formed this semester and began giving live performances at open-mic events.

“We have performed at a few open-mic events before, but this is our first [headlining] event,” said Jordan Leonard PO ’14, who plays the saxophone in Big Body Nation.

Big Body Nation performs jazz, hip hop, funk, blues, and reggae music that Leonard describes as a “blend of African music almost.” Drummer Nicky Phelps PZ ’15 describes the band’s music as "soulful sounds that are not produced by robots." The band members said that they were excited about their next performance at The Motley at Scripps.

“Although we don’t have any plans, we are looking forward to the future. We’re taking each day as it comes,” said Leonard. “We definitely will start recording soon.”

Duo Besatree & K Serious also have a Claremont connection. The performers are Claremont residents and always wanted to perform at the 5Cs.

“We were extremely excited to perform at the Grove House especially since its right in our backyard and our first real opportunity to rock directly for the students of the Claremont Colleges,” said K Serious, who has recently moved into the L.A. area.

The two met in high school and have been collaborating for twelve years now. The duo likes to perform in a variety of genres, but they say that hip-hop has been their most successful collaborative project.

“Over the years our creative pursuits have spanned across the board; from punk, to poetry, to indie rock and now hip-hop… this project has definitely been the most fruitful in regards to our creative and lyrical expression,” Besatree said.

The duo says that they have been inspired by a multitude of songs, even the ones that they may consider bad.

“It’s funny because at times we will be listening to [the] worst piece of pop garbage and one of us will comment on how we enjoy the simplicity of the bass line or the accents coming from the keys… [there are] influential elements within even the worst of songs,” Besatree said.

Rosenfeld said that she had been planning the show for a long time now. Over the summer she was put in contact with Big Digits by a friend and decided to bring the duo to Claremont as part of a hip-hop show.

The event was held outdoors on the steps of the Grove House, and the audience was standing immediately below, allowing close interaction between the audience and the performers.

“The location of the event was great because it can get pretty packed but you don’t need tons of people to packed in there. It gives it an intimate feeling. It’s also nice to be so close and around the performers,” Lindon Pronto PZ ’12 said.

Although the weather was chilly, the audience was not deterred. “I was actually surprised how many people stayed at the show despite the cold! I thought the Grove House was perfect for this show,” said Rosenfeld.

The audience had several favorites and many had come to support friends in Big Body Nation.

Pronto had come to the show for the music as well as to support his friends. “I enjoy good, live hip-hop… and supporting my fellow student bands is always enjoyable as well,” Pronto said. His favorite was Big Digits. “I would say that Big Digits one of the best and most energetic performances and probably the most entertaining of the ones I’ve seen at the Grove House.”

"I see them going big places,” said Ari Saperstein PZ ’15, who also attended the show.

The next KSPC-sponsored event will be an eight-band show at the PB&J gallery in Pomona on Nov. 18.