4 Deep in a Honda
Four full-sized hip-hop artists, their luggage and sound equipment squeeze into a 1997 Honda Accord for a two-week, 4,000-mile cross-country road trip.
That’s the concept of the 4 Deep in a Honda Tour.
Rappers Ollie Ox, Ciphurface, C-zar Van Gogh and Jake Palumbo will pile out of their cramped Honda on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Frankie’s Pizza in Boone to deliver several hours of hip hop entertainment.
The High Country might seem like an odd stop for a national hip-hop expedition; the reason behind this particular stop is that the High County is the place where two of the artists on the 4 Deep in a Honda Tour honed their art.
In the mid 2000s, Ollie Ox, an Appalachian State University alumnus, and Tennessee native Palumbo used to battle each other at a weekly hip-hop competition at the former Tijuana Fats in Blowing Rock.
Ollie Ox recalled a time when an MTV camera crew, which was following around an ASU athlete, came out to the competition.
“The place was packed shoulder-to-shoulder, where we could barely do our sets,” he said. “It never aired, but it was quite the experience for the small town hip-hop scene.”
Ollie Ox said he and Palumbo were diehards, attending the battles religiously.
“Sometimes there was an ice storm, and it would just be me and Jake and the DJ there,” he said.
After a couple of years of sparring with one another, Ollie Ox and Palumbo’s relationship became more collaborative. They became close friends and started performing on the same bill. While still in the High Country area, they did shows together at Café Portofino, The Parthenon and the former Caribbean Café in Boone.
Graduating from ASU with a degree in biology in 2003, Ollie Ox worked in the Watauga Medical Center morgue for two years before relocating to Tucson, Ariz., for a job. It was there that he became more serious about his music career.
“I started doing music really heavily out there,” Ollie Ox said. “I was having too much fun doing music on the weekends and was sick of going back to grind on Monday, so that’s when I made my switch.”
While in Tucson, Ollie Ox hooked up with another rapper, Ciphurface. When the two moved to New York City to pursue their music careers, they reunited with Ollie Ox’s old friend, Palumbo, who was working for a record label in the city. The three eventually connected with another rapper, C-zar Van Gogh.
With all four friends releasing new music in 2011, the group decided to go on a tour that would collectively promote their albums. The 4 Deep in a Honda Tour started in mid-September in New York City and ends in California in early October.
Ollie Ox said all of the artists on the tour are independent, do-it-yourself artists. It’s a representation he’s proud of.
“I have no goals or aspirations to be a Lil Wayne or Eminem,” Ollie Ox said. “I want to play smaller intimate venues and have people respecting my artistic vision of things instead of being an icon.”
Being independent artists may require the hip-hoppers to tour the country in a Honda, but they’re not ashamed of it.
“There’s not too much swag involved with a ‘97 Honda, but we’re overwhelming with swag,” C-zar Van Gogh said.
For Palumbo and Ollie Ox, the opportunity to bring their music back to the place where their music careers started is extremely exciting.
“It’s one of our most anticipated shows,” Ollie Ox said. “I’m excited to see a lot of old faces on Saturday.”
Music from all four artists will be available for purchase at the show. Attendees will also have an opportunity to win free merchandise.
Doors open for the 4 Deep in a Honda Tour at 9 p.m. The cover charge is $3. Only ages 21 and up will be admitted.
Frankie’s Pizza is located at 957 Rivers St. in Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-6666.
For more information on the 4 Deep in a Honda Tour, visit http://www.ollieox.com.