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'Liquid swords'

Bubbles and Flow pairs hip-hop and saison


When you think of booze and hip-hop, a farmhouse ale from Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, might not come immediately to mind. It’s hard to imagine the Migos crew sipping on craft farmhouse ale between songs. And to be fair, the Atlanta trap scene wasn’t the target audience for this 19th-century European brew.

Saison was originally made for farm hands in the fields when the water wasn’t safe to drink, which is why it traditionally has a lower alcohol percentage. It’s dry, carbonated and sometimes made with the harvested fruits of the season, although the definitions vary from place to place and brewer to brewer.

These two worlds will collide on Aug. 25 during Bubbles and Flow: A Hip Hop and Saison Experience, when four local emcees will take over Prairie Brewpub for a night of Tulsa rap and saisons from a dozen Oklahoma breweries. 

Organizer Jake Miller hopes the show will bring the craft brewing crowd into the hip-hop sphere, and vice versa. “The idea was to have super specific regional beers and super specific regional music acts. And then that way two things are getting attention and they’re bringing new demographics to each other,” he says.

Miller chose these two genres because “they’re the ones that are the most philosophically minded.” Saison reflects the flavors of the region it’s made in, while hip-hop tells the story of the region it comes from. 

With that in mind, the first act booker Mitch Gilliam went after was local rapper, Verse. Gilliam got him on the show first thing because of the rapper’s ability to combine styles from different regions. “Even though he’s from Tulsa, he has this distinct East Coast flow,” Gilliam said.

Verse, aka Derek Clark, says that East Coast flow came naturally because he grew up around boom bap, a production style prominent in East Coast hip hop during the 1990s. Clark has been expanding on this classic sound in Tulsa for 16 years, so he’s seen the scene change firsthand. “I believe wholeheartedly that Tulsa rap has changed for the better over the years,” he says. “There’s definitely a spirit of being better together rather than ruthless competition.” 

Expect to see Clark—along with St. Dominick, Mr. Burns and Mike Dee—spitting bars and sipping saisons: “I’m most looking forward to playing new music for some new faces and having a saison taste test.”