Over the year I have spent in the Twin Cities, only a few acts match excitement of seeing Dwynell Roland and only a couple match his energy. Coming off a West Coast tour with national recording artist and local celebrity P.O.S., Dwynell was poised to make his first appearance as a headlining act. Local Radio station Go95.3 presented a show named after his signature crowd pleasing callout “Stop. Drop. Roland!” which boasted a lineup worth every penny. With up and coming youngster Juice Lord, fellow 'Rotation' members Devon Reason and DJ Travis Gorman, and P.O.S's groupmate and labelmate Sims, the night would being memorable even if remembering the night wasn't the opening act, DJ Fundo's, most notable feature.
Juice Lord, the least recognizable name on the bill, would soon make sure that everyone remembered him, ending his set with his soon to be released single “It Ain't Hard to Tell.” This single, accompanied by a video, is part of an upcoming project released by the young St. Paul native that is bound to bring him to a new level.
DJ Travis Gorman and Devon Reason are part of The Rotation, which is completed by Dwynell Roland and Finding Novyon. Coming off receiving the Best Hip Hop Producer of 2017 award from City Pages of Minneapolis, Travis Gorman is the epitome of taking joy in your job. Accompanied by Devon Reason, who recently performed at a Red Bull Presents series with the rest of the Rotation and is set to release a new project later this year.
Local celebrity Sims of Doomtree was also in the building. His high energy performance, mix with her pure raw emotion and million dollar smile was a steady reminder of why he has made it as far as he has. Lyrics and content are important in any hip hop artist's repertoire, but performance can take an artist from local talent to national act. Sims embodied this and gave one of my favorite performances I have seen in some time.
While Sims really brought an incredible presence to the stage, like I mentioned in the first sentence, few can match Dwynell Roland. I had someone ask me before the performance why Sims was opening for a local artist and the answer was simple; that local artist is Dwynell Roland. With his tongue hanging and his classic dance moves that somewhat resemble and 'wacky inflatable arm failing tubeman', Dwynell would play hit after hit from his well-received album The Popular Nobody, but it was a classic that was my favorite song of the night. "98' Regal," one of the first songs I'd ever heard from Dwynell, was a fun and energetic performance that was followed by hits and a guest appearance from P.O.S. that ignited the crowd.