A release party at Skully’s Music-Diner for any musical group isn’t necessarily front-page news, but if it occurred a few years ago and you were a hip-hop act, it would have been. In recent years, though, the venue’s started to host more and more hip-hop shows, and MC Tony “G. Finesse” Haslett, who occasionally runs lights at Skully’s, has seen the venue’s progression firsthand.
In a similar way, G. Finesse is an embodiment of those changing times in Columbus.
Among a few late lunchers and the eerie emptiness that is the Music-Diner on a recent Tuesday afternoon, the rapper discussed his upcoming debut solo album, Eardrugz, and its accompanying release show at the venue.
“It’s more of an explanation of our culture and how the perspective of hip-hop got into this city,” G. Finesse said. “I feel like this is the most conceptual work that I’ve had, the most in-depth about my actual life.”
As the MC of the band G. Finesse and the N.S., Finesse will perform separately from his usual crew for this show, instead opting to work with different musicians and producers for this likewise different sound.
“Eardrugz is really me getting with my producers and building my sound as a solo artist from the ground up,” he said. “My whole thing coming into this [project] was to be a really good MC [and] writer, but also to have a really killer live show as a rapper.”
The concert takes place almost a year to the day Finesse and his group released its debut album at Skully’s, N.S.E.P. This release party will be similar in some ways, but Finesse wants the show to feel more urban, more straight-up hip-hop.
“This is really me being like, yeah I can run around with a band but I’ve got bars,” G. Finesse said. “I think people think band rappers can’t rap and it’s about the band. [But] I’ve got bars and I can contend with any rapper anywhere because I work on my craft every day.”
Photo by Meghan Ralston