As we anxiously await Kota the Friend’s historic Flight Night Hip Hop Festival (PA), which will coincide with the grand opening of his FLTBYS retail location blocks away, it is essential to remember Kota’s vision for this event. In a recent interview with Today’s HipHop, Kota restated the Flight Night mission:
“We are going to NYC, Chicago, LA, Colorado, Paris, London, Australia etc. In each city we will give local artists, who are grinding, a chance to perform. We will create fun events where people can discover new artists and get immersed in the FLTBYS NYC culture. We have big plans for Flight Night.”
With this vision to connect up-and-coming talent with their communities, we will highlight a stacked lineup of opening acts in Harrisburg, who will bless the mic prior to Kota taking the stage at H*MAC on Friday, November 12th. At the head of the pack as far as poetic artistry might be versatile and bombastic Neptune XXI.
Born in Washington, DC and representing the DMV, Neptune XXI has used the diverse musical fabric of the places she’s called home (including DC, Miami and Philadelphia) to develop an artistic canvas rich with tradition. Perceptive language and incisive writing are central to Neptune’s creative identity. In her case, music is platform for an artist who should truly be classified as a poet. That said, Neptune XXI utilizes superb versatility in delivery, vocal style, and old-school instrumentation to further elevate her sophisticated lyrical prowess.
Neptune XXI’s discography is distinct, varied, and inventive. The quality of her work is a testament to work ethic and inspiration. In reference to her creative process and personal favorite projects, Neptune stated: “I never imagined myself being an artist, so the fact that there’s this spark that exists within me, makes me so proud of what I create. If I absolutely had to choose, I’d say I’m very proud of my first project, TwentyOne because it was my introduction to the world knowing me as Neptune XXI. It encompasses everything I stand for; that makes me proud.”
It is easy to hear the roots of this pride listening to TwentyOne. The project is full, varied and displays the many talents of an artist truly on the rise. Neptune XXI seamlessly moves from a spoken word, underground hip hop poet (in the ilk of Noname, Mos Def, Talib Kweli), to a soulful singer with superb vocal talents. These varied vocal skills are utilized exceptionally well based on the nature of the track, and as a tool for distinguishing bars from hook. This gift is further supplemented by a talented array of features and an extremely cohesive collection of beats. What does remain consistent throughout the project is an untarnished attention to detail when it comes to lyricism.
Take, for example, the silky writing on the 9th track of TwentyOne, Breathe: (“The makeup is contour to compliment the physics/of freewill, purpose and all your new found wishes/whoever knew we gifted like this.”) Neptune’s content alone is compelling, but her natural ability to bend phrases, create complex rhyme schemes and abruptly destroy them creates a secondary dynamic of lyrical sound within the fabric of each track. We are still witnessing the early stages of Neptune XXI musical journey, and the future is beyond encouraging, as the artist in her current state is wise, prolific and wildly gifted.
The opportunity to open for Kota the Friend at Flight Night is coming at the right time, for an artist who has been honing her performance skills and building a potent and distinctive sound. Neptune shared her appreciation for the moment beautifully; “Man, opening up for Kota is a pretty BIG DEAL. I’m a huge supporter of his work and I think he’s extremely dope. I mean, he’s a pioneer in our generation and that’s something that I genuinely admire. To be an independent artist at his magnitude, is a beautiful accomplishment that’s constantly evolving. For me, it’s important to always do what I love, and remain true to me. And I like to say Kota reflects that same energy. So, I’m excited! I can’t wait to share the stage with him and all the other artists. Truly, I’m honored to be a part of history because that’s exactly what this is.” With the opportunity to be in front of a fanbase that appreciates skillful and redolent writing, Flight Night is likely to prompt a spark that could allow Neptune XXI to create some history for her own. Get Flight Night Tix
by Jack Carenza