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All in the Game 

Rapper TOPE comes to Bend

Portland-born rapper/producer Anthony "Tope" Anderson is on the way up. Since his debut in 2010, he has collaborated with some of the best names in hip-hop music including Abstract Rude, Scarub, Myka 9 and Slum Village. He's shared the stage with names like Aesop Rock, Talib Kweli, Run the Jewels, Black Milk and Digable Planets. This year, he is poised to blow up with the release of his upcoming record, "3AM in Oakland." TOPE just relocated from Portland to Oakland last year and will come through Bend next month on his tour.

The Source Weekly: How has the Portland rap scene influenced you?

TOPE: There's so many people in the Portland scene who have helped me along the way. I wouldn't be the artist I am without Portland and everything I experienced there. I think that's one of the great things about the scene there is that it's not hard to tap in, meet everyone, start doing shows and network. I used to hate on how small Portland was when I lived there, but after I moved I started to understand that's one of the things that makes it great. People are actually pretty open to hearing new artists and it seems to be doing better than ever right now. Portland's rap scene challenged me because I didn't always feel accepted and I still don't. I feel like I had to make a lot of things happen myself while a lot of people doubted me, but it was good for me.

SW: Who are some of your influences?

TOPE: My influences musically are all over the board, really. I guess most recently I really like Chance the Rapper's new album, Kanye's album, Bryson Tiller, Dom Kennedy, Drake. J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Slum Village, A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Quik as some of my main influences, as well as Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, The Flaming Lips, Fela Kuti. I think Terrace Martin is definitely underrated, he's a genius musically as well as Elzhi, Jerreau of Fly Union, SZA.

SW: What do you think the average person doesn't understand about the rap game?

TOPE: I don't think the average person understands how expensive it is for artists to even put out music and do it well, especially. Studio time, production, mixing, mastering, videos, artwork, merchandise, it goes on and on. It's really expensive to be an artist and do it well. It's a lot of work to do it right, that's why it takes me so long to put out new music.

SW: What can someone expect from one of your shows who hasn't heard your music before?

TOPE: If you've never heard my music and you come to a show you can expect I'm going to engage with you. I might call you out. I'm gonna make you put your hands up and yell and have a good time. At first you might be unsure, but by the end of the set you'll get it. I've had to open for so many shows I know how to get the party started, that's my specialty now.

TOPE's rhymes and flows don't abstractly scramble words like Aesop Rock or take a bite out of the gangsta lean like Riff-Raff; instead he is the rapper across the way. His rhymes focus on what led him into the rap game (being broke and hungry), not what he thinks the game will do for him. The 3AM Tour will cover 23 cities in 28 days from June 1 to 28, and Bend falls right in the middle of the tour, with TOPE playing at the Astro Lounge on June 15.


Wednesday, June 15, 8 p.m.

The Astro Lounge, 939 NW Bond St., Bend


About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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