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Two artist at the concert perform together. Photo provided by Nick Thompson.

Midnight Music and more perform at The Union

The bass could be felt pounding in everyone’s chest like a musical heartbeat as music enthusiasts climbed the stairs to The Union’s second story venue. 

Smoke, strobe lights and jumping fans greeted the audience as they shoved the door aside and found themselves at Midnight Music’s first appearance at The Union last Thursday night.

A member of the Midnight Music Entertainment team, Nick Thompson, discussed how the group got to this point.

“So we started last July,” said Nick Thompson, a junior studying media arts production. “My co-founder and artists that just performed tonight, Auburn Hill, came to me with the idea at a show that we did in Kent. He said there's nothing like this in Athens, there's no hip hop scene here, or at least not a live one, right? So we're like, okay, how can we take this idea and make it something more tangible.” 

At first, the duo started at house parties around Athens, with Auburn Hill as the frontman and Thompson working the camera, but as their music popularity grew, so did their crew.

“We have a team of eight, and we delegate different tasks,” said Thompson. “My job now is to film content and a little bit of marketing, but my passion is to be a video creator.”

While Midnight Music coordinated the event, Auburn Hill wasn’t the only artist performing Thursday night. Other artists such as Kyotee could be seen chilling in the crowd in between their sets. 

“I was born in Athens, Ohio, I started freestyle rapping at 12 years old, my best friend got me into it,” said the 25-year-old rapper, Kyotee, who was the first artist of the night to perform. 

He explained how his favorite musical artists affected his taste and interest in the industry.

“I was put on to old school too late in my life, so that's been a little bit of an inspiration,” said the artist when explaining some of his influences. “Lil Wayne, Drake, Joey Bada$$, Gang Starr, Tribe Called Quest, Nas and, obviously, Biggie is the greatest of all time.”

Kyotee ended his set with his new song “In My Head” which was dropped at midnight, the same night as his performance. 

Behind the performers, Midnight Music’s logo could be seen rotating overtop flashy psychedelic visuals. However, some artists had their own backgrounds that lit up the dark stage during their performances, such as abstract hip hop artist, Huey Slims. 

“I go by Huey Slim's and I'm a junior here in the music production record industry program,” he said. 

Some of Slim’s influences include Kendrick Lamar, Capital Steez and Earl Sweatshirt, all of which can be heard in his lyrical rapping style as he meandered across stage, filling up the room with his presence. 

“I make everything from scratch, I make the beats, I mix, I rap on the beats, I do all that,” he said. 

As a music production major, Slims explained how the work he does at OU often complements his career. 

“It supplements my music– I learn how to mix better, how to better mic up equipment, the ins and outs of the business and you know, shit really helped me as an artist,” he said. 

This was Huey Slims first time performing he claims, a claim that could have been easily disputed given how comfortable he appeared on The Union’s stage. 

Slims has a mixtape coming out later this year titled “Black Superman,” which includes some of the songs he performed Thursday night.

Most of the artists performed individually, but that wasn’t the case for rappers Young Tola, Young King Noah and CA$PER. 

“We’re a group but we also function as individuals,” said CA$PER, a junior at studying music production and recording industry, “We've been rapping together since freshman, sophomore year of high school.” 

While they do perform as a group, their inspirations tend to vary; however, there were some artists they had in common such as Drake.   

“When people ask the inspiration question, it’s hard to put a name to it,” said Young King Noah, a rapper from Cleveland, “ I don't want to mimic (artists) but, you know, be able to do something similar.” 

CA$PER said he attempts to have a well-rounded taste in music, believing it leads to him having a better understanding of the craft.

“I just try to listen to a little bit of everything and take from everything and then develop my own style," said CA$PER. "But at the end of the day, the group consensus was that they are influenced by themselves more than anyone."

While they all have their own projects coming up, Young Tola explains that his new song “Talk to me,” which he performed, would be coming out soon. 

“You know, I just performed ‘Talk to me,’ first song, and it got a pretty good reaction, so I might as well drop it,” he said.

Tola is a 21-year-old rapper who previously attended OU where he studied business. 

The trio literally shook The Union stage with their song "Jump,” which encouraged the crowd to do just that, bringing some of the highest energy of the night.  

As far as what's next for Midnight Music, Thompson says that they have a time slot booked during Palmer Place Fest on April 21. 

Thompson concluded with a message to any aspiring artists.

“If anyone's interested, pop out, we'd love to have you all– our artists are f—ing incredible and it's just really, really fun,” he said.


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