Hear Malcolm London perform a set from his new album in the WCPO Lounge and chat with host Austin Fast about what he's got planned for Cincinnati's Ubahn Fest in the player above.
CINCINNATI -- Whether you call him an educator, activist or poet, Malcolm London has left his mark on projects all over his native Chicago since first winning the Louder Than A Bomb poetry slam contest as a high school senior in 2011.
Add an official album debut to that list of accomplishments.
Hot off Monday’s release of OPIA for free on Soundcloud, London takes the stage Friday at Ubahn Fest, the underground hip-hop and EDM event that starts at 7 p.m. in a transit tunnel beneath downtown Cincinnati's Second Street.
London explains in OPIA’s trailer that the album title means “the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eyes, which can feel both invasive and vulnerable.” London adds on his Soundcloud page, “I just want people to feel like they’re staring me in my eyes when they listen.”
A video posted by Malcolm London (@malcolmlondon) on
When the threat of arrest stared London in the face last fall, he didn’t blink. London was charged with aggravated battery of a police officer Nov. 24, 2015, immediately after a protest speech against police brutality. Earlier that day, Chicago officials had released footage showing an officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times as he walked away from police.
“We have to have revolutionary mindsets when we’re thinking about the people in this city,” London told the protest crowd. “We gotta have enough love for the people in this city that doesn’t just go, ‘Hire more police in neighborhoods that don’t got schools and clinics.’ And don’t say, ‘Hire more police’ to solve crimes that exist because of the system itself."
Prosecutors dropped London’s charge a day later amid social media furor as the hashtag #FreeMalcolmLondon trended nationally.
Watch Malcolm London perform the title track "OPIA" from his debut LP live in the WCPO Lounge:
London’s 12-track album features guest spots by Vic Mensa, Jamila Woods, Donnie Trumpet, How to Dress Well, Cam O’bi and more. See him and others at Ubahn Fest Friday and Saturday nights. Find the full schedule of events here.
7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Cincinnati Metro Transit Center, 220 Central Ave., Downtown
Tickets: $89 for two-day passes, $49 single-day, $150 for VIP. Available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.