By Kathleen Quillian | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Burro Bar in Jacksonville, the sounds of top 40 pop songs fill the room along with the eclectic group of drunken businessmen and hard-core bikers. The ContraVerse rap duo played a game of pool waiting for the opening act of the 50-year-old DJ to be done so they could take the stage and preform their lyrical and controversial rhymes.
The Burro Bar’s small diverse crowd of 12 people were the only ones who accidentally attended The ContraVerse’s show. Adam Venable started out on the turntables and Lucas Conor started to spit his rhymes on the microphone. Oddly enough, the small group in the bar stopped their pool games and tuned into a couple of white boys from Atlanta who could actually rap. The ContraVerse have catchy beats along with lyrics that one can clearly understand. Venable and Conor are not the tallest of guys, but once they hit they stage they completely take over and put on an arena-like performance no matter how large the crowd. At one point in the set, there was a technical difficulty where the microphones went out along with the music. The duo went on to preform A cappella, not once letting the mishap hinder their performance.
Venable and Conor, both in their late twenties, knew that hip-hop would play a large roll in their lives. They were passionate about music from a very young age. Both men received turntables for a Christmas present when they were teenagers.
“In ninth grade I begged my mom for a set of turntables with the idea of becoming a DJ. It was once I held a microphone and heard my own voice through a PA system, my whole outlook shifted,” says Conor.
The ContraVerse has been six years in the making. This was their first tour hitting major cities in Florida such as Jacksonville and Tallahassee. The duo has been working on their distinct sound and the hard work is starting to pay off.
“Our sound is heavily influenced by 90s era hip-hop. We have a huge focus on lyricism, word play, and fluidity,” says Venable.
The unconventional duo try to write songs about social issues and important topics that people don’t pay enough attention to, as well as debate that the subject matter of most popular rap music is pretty bland. The ContraVerse understand writing about strippers and drive-by shootings is entertaining, yet that is not the message they are trying to send with their music.
The inspiration for their dynamic sound comes from everyday experiences living in the city of Atlanta where the hip-hop inspiration is endless.
“My favorite MC’s are Andre 3000 from Outkast and Black Thought from The Roots. I judge rappers by how creative they are lyrically and what they write about,” says Venable.
Both work day jobs. Venable is a bar tender at Richard Blais’s famously known Top Chef all-star restaurant, The Spence. Conor works for an insurance catastrophe team, but it is rare he is called into work so it gives him the freedom to focus on music.
They both hope that in a year their popularity will rise they will be recognized for their sound, trying to bring back conscious rap.
“I would love to garner enough attention to tour nationally and internationally within the next year. Hopefully equating to making a comfortable living traveling and playing music.” saysVenable.
The two white boys from Atlanta finished their set at the Burro Bar by pouring their hearts out into free verse rhymes as if it was the most important night of their lives.