The Medicine in the Icebox
February 17, 2012
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Pt Burnem, Paulie Think, and Eyenine are Icebox. Its hard not to have a physical reaction when an artist or performer gets into your personal space. Icebox chose to set up on the audience floor instead of on the stage where rappers and artists usually do their thing at the Big Easy. That was my first clue that this show would be unlike ay other rap show I had seen. A live Icebox show is a carefully constructed performance brought to life; not just an auditory concept. They offer a more diverse experience that involves their audience, bringing you in as a contributing participant rather than allowing you to remain a passive observer. This performance style creates an environment that is very “in the moment” and organic. I had never seen or heard anything like it, and this increased it’s impact even more. It’s very powerful to be artfully drawn out of your own world-view long enough to really become part of something else, and Icebox seems to facilitate an environment where this is likely to happen!
I imagine taking 3 powerful players from the underground hip hop world and creating a super group has its difficulties. It must be a work of art to attempt to take the strengths of each person, and make them work as a part of a greater whole, rather than being the whole in and of itself. I think the performance aspect of the Icebox experience may originate in PT Burnem’s style, and I think it is important to executing the message that their powerfully and intellectually worded rhymes hold within. If you are feeling something, and not just listening to it, it has far greater impact. Eyenine has a style that I would have thought wouldn’t play well with others; usually involving insanely fast delivery and a specifically selected range of background beats and music. However, it appears he is highly adaptable and able to bring those strengths, but in a modified version that also facilitates and complements the groups “intended” sound (I assume I know what they intend). Paulie Think is the member I am least familiar with, but his style is integral to engaging the audience and it seems he may be the keystone of the group. He seems to fill the role of moderator and enabler; perhaps the individual whose personality and style is instrumental in creating the environment necessary for the Icebox phenomenon to fulfill its potential.
One cannot address the group without referencing what they are quite literally saying. The messages are powerful, articulate and often dark, but not overtly depressing. “We are connected, however ill directed” while simply put, is a powerful understatement that references not just the negative aspects of our species’ plight, but also the potential. Check out the video here:
The idea is to go experience Icebox live. The key aspect of the underground rap music scene, from an outsider’s perspective, is the interactive and direct intent to the music. It is not created in a void, and nor do they want it to be; there are messages to be received, lessons to be learned, and a powerful element of solidarity that can only be fully nourishing when experienced in the live performance. You need to see this group live because it is quite literally good for you. Just what the witch doctor ordered.
Check out the Icebox live show schedule below: