The Sacramento art scene, in addition to cultivating its own exceptional artists, attracts great ones from all over the world. Last Thursday, Mexican poet/rapper/activist Bocafloja made a brief tour stop in Sacramento via art space Sol Collective. Featuring two local hip-hop artists and drawing a moderate sized crowd, the event’s energy throughout the night was unmatched. To translate, Bocafloja’s name literally means “loose mouth”, which makes sense considering the intricate wordplay he provided along with his friend and collaborator for the night, San Diego rapper/poet Cambio (English for “Change”).

As a way to warm up the crowd and set the tone for the night, audiences were treated to a collaborative spoken word provided by Bocafloja, Cambio and local Sacramento groups Foreign Native and Native Children. Each performer provided their own unique verse, creating a poem constructed by four different people. The poem mostly consisted of thoughts revolving around the ideas of activism and change, a continuing theme within each performer’s work and the focus of Sol Collective. What made this particular aspect of the show so special is the collaborative ability to create a piece of work that remained cohesive but featuring different thoughts of each performer. Continuing the exciting momentum of the show local hip-hop duo Native Children hit the stage to really get things started. Compromised of beat wizard WiseChild and the swift MC Salvin, both flexed their skills as hip-hop artists. Salvin’s rap over Dr. Dre’s famous “Still D.R.E.” track was easily the highlight of the night.

After their set winded down, other Sacramento local rapper/poet Dre-T followed immediately to perform tracks from his latest album, Sacramentality. While not as boisterous as Native Children, Dre-T’s performance was reflective, personal and mellow. Because of a small crowd, this proved to be advantageous and supplemented Dre-T’s soothing voice and flow. To cap off the night, Bocafloja and Cambio provided a fitting finale to the event. Backed with some projection visuals, catchy beats and sharp-tongued wordplay, both artists were able to transcend their own intensity towards the crowd and held onto towards the closing of the show. In between their songs, Bocafloja managed to provide context to some of the tracks as they dealt with topics of gentrification, human rights and activism. Taking a few minutes to chat with fans after the show, Cambio talked about his work affecting audiences, and stated, “You want to make sure you’re getting a nice response from the audience and building community. If the work can do that, that’s really powerful.”

Words and Photos Giovanni Martinez

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