A time-lapse of the Beach Party stage at this year’s Bamboozle would reveal a crowd swelling in size with each passing song, emitting an energy as hot at the oppressive summer sun. That’s not surprising. What may surprise you is who was on stage. Before A$AP Rocky and Action Bronson grabbed the mic, Upgrade grabbed the audience, hooking them with relentless energy and lyrics that are some of the most genuine and accessible in today’s hip hop
What the growing Bamboozlians didn’t know was that Upgrade didn’t know the length or direction of his set, taking each moment song by song right along with the crowd. But that obstacle is just a microcosm of his roll-with-whatever attitude, which seeps out of his lyrics and showers his listeners. He’s not “really good for a white guy” or “great for a short dude.” He’s just damn talented (though at times you’ll find yourself wondering where the hell his lung capacity comes from).
Upgrade extracts universal statements of the human condition from his own experience. Never straying from who he is, he explores many hip hop arenas, boasting clever punch lines, word bending, challenging rhyme schemes, and even flaunting some bragging rights. It’s this versatility and raw talent that’s lead him to Bamboozle, and opening for national acts like Mac Miller. Hot off of the release of his debut, full-length project “Smile and Nod,” Upgrade headed back into the recording booth for his follow-up “Chemical Imbalance.” Upgrade races through these styles and finishes with an identity that’s all his own, but touches on pieces of everyone else.