[PO-HOP] Certain things begin to flourish as June rolls around in Portland: the roses; the bars with outside seating; the traffic on the bridge to Sauvie Island; and the music of local rapper Tope, who specializes in breezy tunes that taste sweeter in the warm months. With his new quick-strike EP, Chicken Wings and Ice Cream Cones—a placeholder until his new full-length drops later this year—he dives even further into the cool glass of lemonade, crafting a mini-soundtrack for a Stumptown summer, full of references to sticky weed, old-school cars and "bougie girls that kick it in the Pearl." Homegrown beatmakers Trox, Stewart Villain and Steeze cut and chop crackly stabs of soul to help create a warm and fuzzy ambience. And Tope's nasally voice and witty punch lines take to the smooth beats like a bug to light. It's a carefree affair until the closer, "All For You," when Tope takes a moment to reflect, spitting heart-wrenching lyrics like, "My momma passed before I could buy her something nice." What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?
SEE IT: Tope plays Hawthorne Theater Lounge, 1507 SE Cesar Chavez Ave., with Brothers From Another, Spac3man, Dre C and Wes Guy, on Friday, June 20. 8 pm. $5. 21+.