The Herbalists, a rap trio out of Battle Creek, MI, had their third performance this past weekend; this time at Papa Pete’s in Kalamazoo. Shade, Devon and Manny came together with incredible energy. Unfortunately Papa Pete’s wonky XLR’s used for the microphones couldn’t keep up with the Herbalists wild stage presence, occasionally cutting out. Monitors were precariously perched on wooden boxes next to the stage, shaking from the consistent movement. But they didn’t only push their equipment to the limits: they also pushed themselves.
Each individual in the audience was fully engaged and moving hypnotically to the beat. The instrumentals were bangers, but the lyrics were deeper that you may think. The Herbalists made a point to bring up meaningful topics during their performance. Yelling 2017’s mantra “FUCK TRUMP” got the crowds attention, and then it got real. They went in depth regarding the disarray of the economy, consumerism and the poverty many American’s experience. They even mentioned urban farming and the importance of whole foods. Sprinkled in with the enlightenment was every rap lover’s guilty pleasure: dirty, raw bars about drugs, sex and violence. It was a perfect and seemingly effortless balance between wisdom and street cred.
We As One’s Nick Petro joined them on stage for one song. This track was full of light and love. More importantly it displayed The Herbalists willingness to collaborate and work with fellow artists on the come up. These young rappers seem to be on a path to success. They displayed progress and an impressive sense of determination through out this performance while daringly using their voices to express important opinions. Don’t sleep on The Herbalists, or you just might catch yourself paying big bucks for them to do a verse on your track someday.