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Najee Janey & Mind Flex Headline First Ever Turntable Teachers Event

by Orleany Herasme

Exit Galleries in Allston, MA was the host of Turntable Teachers’ first show of the season, The Summer School Tour. The unbearable heat that day did not stop people from showing up to the sold-out show. It was a tight space that felt somewhat spacious, due to the art covering every inch of the wall, all created by Sam Fish. Turntable Teachers had the opportunity to collaborate with rap group, Mind Flex, to present the show, alongside sponsors Topo Chico and cannabis brand 1906, and sounds by the great DJ Whysham throughout the evening.

The music was loud with so much bass to it. My neck was stiff at the end of the night from bopping my head so much. The opportunity to hear new music from people a few miles away from you is a blessing. It is a feeling that I really can’t describe. As the night progressed, artists from all over the north shore and Greater Boston areas introduced themselves. Everett, Malden, Gloucester, Lynn; so many local spots that people have probably driven through or call their hometown. The Summer School Tour introduced artists that were most likely people’s first-time listening. In addition, Summer School at Exit Galleries was the first local music event I’ve had the opportunity to attend, making my coverage of it even more special.

Cameron Iandolo was the first to take over the stage. He welcomed the audience with open arms as he commanded the room with his aggressive flow. His versatility to rap about different subject matters, whether it came to him talking his shit, expressing himself on mental health, or letting you know he’s on the come up, showcases his ability to captivate an audience. Although his set was short, Cameron was able to bring a fun energy to the crowd, making it an exciting start for The Summer School Tour.

Lib was the next performer on stage. His family were there to support him and sang along to every lyric. He opened up his time with an unreleased single called "Intent", a melodic trap song that showed off his flow. As one of the youngest artists there, he confidently navigated through the crowd, and personalized his performance. Lib gave his gratitude to his artistic journey with his song, "Blessed", and even had the crowd chant, “I feel blessed!”. His charisma flowed through the room, and even if you were a first time listener, you could jam to anything he played.

Julian Mendoza surprised the audience with his multi-talented self, and welcomed the crowd to his dance party. He left people wanting more as Julian played all of his unreleased music from his brand new project, Beneath My Wings. His performance was an invitation to dance and vibe out to his fun, pop music, while enchanting the audience with his lyricism. Mendoza is definitely someone to keep on the radar for any new music.

After the party with Julian ended, Connecticut rapper, Suave-Ski, took over the stage and transported the audience to an 80s rap show. Suave showed that he can appeal to a wide audience, transitioning between subgenres like boom-bap and trap. You’d see head bops among the crowd, to people feeling the rhythm of his songs. He focused on bringing the upbeat energy with songs like, "Enerje", and "Gomode". There was a sense of connection with Suave. He communicated with the audience and simply wanted everyone to have fun. He’d say “Can you vibe with me?” and the audience would respond, “Yes, we can!”. Suave-Ski was able to reach everyone with his music that night.

Rap collective, Mind Flex (comprised of chace., Ramon, Ju$mack, Francois Octave, Chin1993, & mdle.chld), went on stage, and owned it. Their presence throughout the room could be felt everywhere. It was contagious. Even before they got on stage, they were supporting their fellow artist friends, joining in on what music is all about: community. Mind Flex’s hard work and dedication could be seen once they got on stage. Their music was refreshing to listen to. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to any first time listener, so I, personally, consider myself lucky. They dove into some classic hip-hop roots with their recently released single, "The Crew". The highlight of this performance was the hook: “If I keep it in between, like you and I. Mind Flex the Crew, we super fly”. It did not matter if you knew the song, but you would definitely know the hook by the end of the song. It was so catchy during their performance that the whole crowd was chanting it.

I just need to talk about single "Harder Than This". The bass line that came through the speakers during that song was some hard shit. No other way to describe it. The bars, the flow, their stage presence; everything they did during that song was something I have never seen before. Something New un-ironically brought something new that night. It’s like he absorbed all of the energy radiating in the room, and became the embodiment of it all during his verse. Mind Flex was not playing when there’s nothing harder than them right now. They are unique in everything they create, and everyone should bask in it all.

The night suddenly wasn’t so hot anymore, and I’m sure everyone was thankful for the Topo Chico bottles that were provided. There was still one last performance, and who better to end the night other than chace. and band, The Lost Collective. Their smooth voices and somber tunes brought down the vibe to an intimate show. Topics from childhood memories, mental health, to even a song dedicated to a lover showcased a vulnerable side to the Mind Flex member. The beautiful harmonies and soft piano filled the room. Couples held each other close and others stopped to listen to what chace. had to say. They did a wonderful job from transitioning to the party that was there beforehand, to a calm and relaxing space.

Najee Janey was the headliner, and he surely lived up to that stature. Coming off of a performance at Boston Calling Music Festival in May, Najee brought a charismatic energy that the entire crowd fed off of, performing a variety of songs from his latest EP FOUR AGREEMENTS. His interaction with the crowd was second to none, and he made everyone feel like they were a part of his performance; that the experience was inevitably collective amongst all who were present. Najee perfectly embodied the mission behind this show to begin with, and put the cherry on top to an unforgettable night.

The opportunity to exist with such talented individuals is rare. The Summer School Tour brought so many people from all over together to witness what could have been a defining moment in these young artists’ careers. Exit Galleries was able to create a space where more art could be created in real time. It was truly a pleasure to witness it all, and it could not have happened without Turntable Teachers’ willingness to collaborate with others.

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