A text message read an invitation to a house party in Friendship, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh's East End. The Snapchat geo-tag for the area near Bloomfield depicts a bed of flowers with "Bloomfield" text, a nice compliment to the section of the city described on Wikipedia as "a neighborhood of large Victorian houses."
At the gate leading to a green yard with a tree house tucked in a corner, I was charged $5 for entry. Completely unfamiliar with the artists about to perform, I looked puzzled at the young man at the door who referred to himself as Dutch Master, or Flying Dutchman something like that. He stared back at me and nodded his head as if to say, "do you want in or not?" With a couple of friends already inside, I gave him my five.
People gathered around and in the modest, Lincoln Log-like tree house. I met up with Amani Davis and Hannibal Hopson, students of knowledge and artists working in Pittsburgh. Amani's younger brother, Keanu, produced the musical project everybody would eventually hear, which is the reason all were there. "You two are the biggest Internet niggas I know," Amani said as he introduced me to his brother.
Thanks to the Internet, specifically SoundCloud, and loyal friends, Eight by Two, a rap collective, hosted a house party to unveil and share their debut project, "Bedouin."
Too many people were wandering around the yard and coming in and out to smoke. A person warned the partygoers, "the homeowners are inside and they are getting upset." The house party was one of those types you throw the summer after you graduate high school and your parents chaperone as you practice for college life to come. The parental guidance, however, did not disrupt or takeaway everyone's energy and excitement for Eight by Two's performance.
"We're about to start! Everyone go to the basement," Wathan, the Eight by Two cameraman, yelled.
Down a steep flight of cement steps, 30 people strong huddled in the muggy, dark cellar. There was red mood light, consistent flashes from people's iPhones, and a white sheet hung from the back wall with video of various landscapes passing by like out of a car window.