Laid Back with Mirage

Part two of Summer in the City


Dana Thompson has big plans. This is obvious when I step inside his Northeast Austin apartment, where he's quietly studying for his teacher certification course. He wants to work in special education programs. His walls are decked with posters from local shows, most of them put on through MelodicScience, the label he started seven years ago.

But right now Thompson's focused on Thursday night, the second date of the Summer in the City series. See, when the sun goes down Thompson jumps into the phone booth and emerges as Mirage, a rapper out to redefine the way the city sees its hip-hop.

To him, it all starts with an event like Summer in the City. "We need a presence Downtown," he admits, "and this is something that [Downtown] needs." It's a chance for the Red River district to gain a new audience, and through Summer in the City, Mirage is bringing hip-hop to an area that doesn't usually get that kind of talent.

Mirage considers the first round a great success. "When Brokebread was performing, when [Young] Nick was performing, people around the audience, I could see them almost going, 'Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding," he says, forming a light bulb with his hands over his head. "People weren't aware. But I want this to be a place where artists can cross paths, and people that actually seek performances can find that. These guys are good!"

Here's what to expect Thursday at Headhunters, straight from the mouth of Mirage:

Shanka D-Russ

These are cats that really need to be heard. We come from a lot of the same places. Their viewpoint is really valid. What they have to say truly needs to be heard by an audience. They have family stuff going on, and you can hear it in their music. And we got music together. It only helps me to get them established to where they should be. And on a personal level, they're just good dudes. It's only right. They sound really Southern, but Shanka's from Illinois. He's just been down here so long that he's started to pick up the Southern sound. They're straight-laced cats.

Dred Skott

I don't really know them on a personal level, but I was blown away with a show of theirs I saw in 2006. I'm just purely a fan of their music. The Sixth Street Bully, he’s one of the few cats I've heard that can really spit. I've been really impressed with his lyrics. And that's coming from an arrogant MC. The other cat, Reggie [The Genius], he can sing, produce, and rap.

The F.L.Y

I've been fucking with F.L.Y since '99,'97. I've slept on his couch. We've always been cool. We got together around South by Southwest and made a pact that we were gonna do some shows together. We gotta make good on our promises.

Superstar DJs

Mr. Cree is a real good dude. He did one of the tracks on the Mirage album and he did that just because he wanted to get his beats out. And he has a family. I'm really sensitive to that shit. If you're trying to feed a family, I really respect that. He's doing a lot of things for me out of the goodness of his heart. We're actually performing together. He's gonna back me up when I go, because we're doing an EP.

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More Summer hip-hop
Hot Fun in the Summertime
Hot Fun in the Summertime
Hip-hop albums to beat the heat

Chase Hoffberger, May 16, 2008

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Summer hip-hop, Mirage, Shanka D-Russ, Dred Skott, the F.L.Y.

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