(Sigh) Another musician is leaving our small town for the bright lights of a bigger city. This time, it's Animal Farm's talented MC/producer/manager Gen. Erik. On "Dear Portland," the Focused Noise CEO writes a break-up song for his old flame (Stumptown), explaining that he'll always love her, but is taking off with a much better-dressed, well-connected lady friend that can help him succeed in the music biz (New York). Sounds like someone is a tad bit of a gold digger.


If he hasn’t received it yet, I’m sure Erik eventually will get some flack, especially after I post this article (I’m looking at you, comments section) for declaring that he, as an artist, has “hit the ceiling” in Portland and is moving on to bigger and better things.

Before you break out your good ridances though, understand that hip-hop—a culture Erik is very much a part of—has always had a love/hate relationship with our city. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why this is—could be the lack of diversity, the fact that indie rock is such a dominate force in the local music scene or just that Portland's music fans don't recognize local hip-hop talent—but rappers/DJs/producers/etc. around here sometimes just have trouble fitting in. This has been true since hip-hop’s initial rise in popularity in the early’90s—a period in time when rap concerts were banned from Portland clubs after an unrelated shooting happened outside a Cool Nutz show.

Of course, it goes without saying that we do have a strong hip-hop scene that includes plenty of great music, a world rap champion, a truly evolved and nationally known trio and a 20-year veteran that has worked with the best of them—plus some solid young talent that is bound to make a dent. And, Portland’s forward-thinking nature does make it a welcoming place for artists of any type (I did say it was a LOVE/hate relationship). But, it should still never come as a surprise when local MCs decide to try their hands elsewhere.

So, Erik, we wish you the best with your new girl. I must say, though: Your ex is way better at brewing beer, which is an important part of any relationship.

You can say goodbye to Erik tonight at Ted's at Berbati's Pan. The show doubles as the L Pro Video Release, and features Animal Farm, Destro of Oldominion, Serge Severe, DJ Wicked, Theory Hazit, Level Headed, DJ Wels, and DJ Spark of Sandpeople.