Busdriver at the Flamingo Cantina

Words by Jack Riggs

Courtesy of FACT magazine

Courtesy of FACT magazine

Conscious rap is one of the most under-appreciated genres in my opinion; it is rap music that makes you think about concepts deeper than money and women. Regan Farquhar, also known as Busdriver, has been practicing this art form since he was a kid. In the words of Milo (another conscious rapper who is very much inspired by Busdriver) “[Driver] raps like the eldest sap of the Everglade/ His raps move heat like thermostats adjusting centigrade.”

Doors were at 9 and openers started at 10, but I showed up at about 11:45. I caught the end of a rapper named Metasota, and even though I only saw the last couple songs, when I got home that night, I immediately bought his most recent album entitled #RUMDMT. After Metasota I got a sticker from his merch desk and got to talk to him for a few moments; he is a fucking cool dude. His raps remind me of a more energetic Earl Sweatshirt.

Driver started at about 12:10 AM and it was a sight to behold. Busdriver is one of the fastest rappers I have ever heard; he’s up there with Daveed Diggs or Busta Rhymes. I noticed during his show that every word shot from his mouth was accompanied by some sort of hand gesture. During each song, his hand waved furiously in the air or his fingers flicked with each lyric, making it look as though he was tickling the atmosphere of the room. I have never been hit with such a barrage of powerful language; each bar carried some kind of critique on this day and age. At one point he did his own version of the Flying Lotus song “Never Catch Me”, which took everyone by surprise. A lot of the songs performed were from his most recent album entitled Thumbs, which I highly recommend. You can find that here.

Some of my favorites from the set were “Imaginary Places,” “Much,” “Hyperbole 2,” “Great Spooks of Enormous Strength,” “Worlds to Run,” “Ministry of the Torture Couch,” and “Black Labor (as understood by Equiano).” After the show, I tried to get a station ID from him but I could see how exhausted he was, proving that he put his whole being into the performance. Overall, this was a great experience: 9.5/10. It would have been a ten, but the barefoot guy standing in front of me smelled like feet.