On Friday, Jan. 11, the WOW Hall will host the first ever ViralFest, with a stacked lineup featuring notable names from the Bay Area and Portland hip-hop scenes.
California-based rapper Nef Da Pharaoh is set to headline the two-set mini festival alongside Portland’s own S.Loyal. The event will unite a number of friends and collaborators, representing sounds from across the West Coast underground.
Back in 2015, Nef Da Pharaoh — originally born in Vallejo, California — made waves in the Bay Area hip-hop scene with his breakout single, “Big Tymin’.” He later went on to work with the fellow Vallejo native and hip-hop legend E-40 and the two have since maintained something of a mentor-student relationship. In 2016, Nef Da Pharaoh provided a guest verse alongside DRAM on the E-40 single “Slappin.”
But more recently, the artist has built upon his regional hype with a well-received debut album, “The Big Chang Theory,” released in August of last year. On this project, Nef Da Pharaoh stays true to the sound of his hometown roots, rapping over a collection of snappy instrumentals with lyrics that are both party driven and socially conscious.
On the album’s reverent closer, “That Was God,” Nef Da Pharaoh gives thanks for the life of his friends and the birth of his child. “Big Boss Chang” shifts away from that focus. The artist turns up the volume and makes reference to his own nickname, “Chang Chang” — derived from the sound of his heavy jewelry clanging together.
Portland-based S.Loyal — short for Sir Loyalty — shares in this Bay Area sound. Back in 2017, he released his debut full-length project, entitled “New Prophet,” with a mix of gangsta rap sounds and airy trap beats. He has supported E-40 on tour and has collaborated with the pioneering West Coast rapper Too $hort on the song “Viral” — the single from which ViralFest takes its name.
Oregon rapper FLIBOIMOE will also make an appearance. The artist’s most recent project, “The Moe EP,” draws upon bling-era beats of the 2000s. His hazy party single “Pop Off” features a verse from contemporary Sacramento-based rapper OMB Peezy.
A fellow Portland artist, DJ Fatboy, is set to host the event. In the past, DJ Fatboy has worked with artists such as E-40 and Berner. A number of fresh faces and up-and-coming artists will open up the night, with music varying between pop-oriented sounds and trap-focused bangers. Artists to look out for include SAS NBL, JR Patton, 98prynce, Dris & Love, D Boi, Fetti Mac and King Nas.
Beyond the music, ViralFest will also offer a variety of pop up shops from relevant businesses and vendors. Trap Kitchen, a catering service from Compton with a permanent location in Portland, will be present alongside Black Mannequin, a Portland-based startup clothing brand.
The event is open to all ages. Doors open at 7 p.m. First set begins and 8 p.m. and the second set begins at 9:35 p.m.