Vegas Seven — 08-09-2011
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Michelle Franco

On March 30, 22-year-old rapper Mikey P (real name Michael Alano Portaro) was robbed and fatally shot in the parking lot of the Tenaya Creek Brewery while trying to sell tickets to one of his performances. The tragedy turned a local hip-hop duo into a solo act.

Ekoh, the surviving member, gave an energetic performance on July 28 at Bootlegger Bistro’s Copa Room in a fundraiser for Crime Stoppers. The evening’s festivities, which also included a set by stand-up comedian Lou Magelowitz, were a thank-you to Crime Stoppers for their efforts in capturing a suspect in Portaro’s murder (Brandon Javon Hill was arrested in June for the murder).

Ekoh opened his set with “heart hop,” a new subgenre in hip-hop that he created. Defined as “deep, serious music that’s lighthearted on top,” heart hop sounds like a throwback to mid-1990s underground hip-hop artists such as Atmosphere and Aesop Rock. It employs thought-provoking subject matter and a catchy chorus to get the message across. The rest of the set was comprised of songs with recognizable beats and strong lyrics. Ekoh gave an impressive performance, honoring the memory of his best friend in the best way possible.