The Top Five Denton acts you gotta see at 35 Denton: AV the Great

Av the Great went from slamming hooks and banging beats on 'Live From the Struggle' to a meditative state in 'Poetry.'

Av the Great went from slamming hooks and banging beats on ‘Live From the Struggle’ to a meditative state in ‘Poetry.’ Photo by David Minton

#2

Still in the struggle, still in the fight.

In his 2012 Poetry, Denton’s AV the Great made a strategic but risky move from the chest-thumping, hip-bumping, can’t-get-a-cat-down fury of his debut, Live From the Struggle.

Poetry was the Southeast Denton hip-hop artist’s declaration that he can do socially conscious rap that’s a hybrid of spoken word and a cool soundtrack for creepin’, smoking or just kicking back with your thoughts.

Poetry also proved AV’s mettle as a bridge builder. We saw that side of him this time last year, when he walked into the 35 Denton headquarters and volunteered to help – or perform. He snagged a sweet spot on the main stage the same day Bun B killed it, but a slightly bitter timeslot in the late afternoon. (Not that he complained. We just wished more hip-hop fans had been at the show to watch a young artist give 200 percent in spite of a chilly drizzle.) Yet Poetry showed his collaborative reach, setting most of the album’s tracks to beats on Cultural Refugee, a smart and coherent instrumental rap record by Denton MC and DJ Juicy the Emissary.

Real estate is a major dimension of hip-hop, and though AV can’t claim either of the dominant coasts, he doesn’t shrink from making Denton – a small city in Texas — a key player in his music. Nurtured in Cement City and brought up in a city where tall state college buildings are visible even from the southern side of the tracks, AV cops to the uncertainties of his art and the blessings of fatherhood.

AV can rock the house with raps about toking, but he can turn it on a dime and consider social justice. What makes him a fascinating subject is that, whether he’s rocking your body or blowing your mind, he never loses the beat. That infectious, gut-grabbing beat. He’s bound to bring it, and hard, at 35 Denton.

Worth waiting for: Live treatments of “Rumors” or “The Conversation” from Poetry, and “Texas” from Live From the StruggleWhen: 10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9. Where: Andy’s Bar, 122 N. Locust. Wristband for today: $52.23 at prekindle.com.

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