Dave Herrera | Aug. 19, 2016 | 5:39 a.m.
This may be the biggest news from the Denver scene since the Fray signed to Epic Records.
Now keep in mind, this is pure speculation, as I have zero details at this point. I'm basing this assertion solely on a picture that Trev Rich shared on Instagram Thursday of himself standing in front of the Cash Money Records logo, with the words, "To fresh starts...." If his post means what I think it means, though, then, yeah, this is historic moment.
Obviously, it's huge for Trev Rich, who has been working diligently for years. Since he first attracted attention making music as Rockie to the time he became known simply as Trev Rich, his growth and development has been remarkable over the years. This is a guy who's been putting in work.
If he's indeed joining the Cash Money Roster, this is also huge for Denver and for the city's hip-hop scene, the majority of which gets overlooked so often that it's truly disheartening. It's huge for so many reasons. Not only does it feel like long overdue validation, but the prospects of what it could potentially mean for the rest of the scene—well, it's a bit overwhelming to think about. It could be seismic.
That's why this reminds me of when the Fray first got signed. While a lot of acts have obviously landed on labels and made their marks since, that was the most pivotal signing, as it opened a lot of doors that were once closed.
There's a lot of talk these days about how incredible the music scene in Denver is these days, and I'm not going to disagree. If you rewind the clock back about a dozen years, however, the Mile High City looked different. A lot different. It was a really big deal back then when a local band got to play at places like the Ogden Theatre. Forget about headlining Red Rocks. That wasn't even a thing.
Back then, a lot of us used to dream that we'd see Denver artists enjoying the kind of mainstream success they do today—things like playing on late night television, appearing in commercials, playing prime slots on major festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. Now it happens with such frequency, it's hardly surprising.
I vividly remember this era. I used to write for the local alt-weekly, and I was so excited when the Fray started attracting national attention, that I used to hyperventilate in the paper about every little milestone the band passed—so much so that plenty of people got sick of it, and probably for very good reason. I sounded like a record stuck on repeat.
I couldn't help myself, though. While I was genuinely moved by the music (and still am, frankly, even though I haven't listened to those songs in quite some time), there was also some hometown pride involved. In a way, it, too, felt like validation, somehow making up for all the times when all the brilliant music being made here by my friends and the bands that I loved went unheard.
And maybe this is just my perspective, but it seemed like once the Fray took off, the spotlight was directed on Denver—well, on just about every genre except hip-hop, I should say.
While Denver is exceedingly more friendly to the style these days, with local acts headlining places like the Bluebird and Gothic with regularity, dedicated nights like the Solution, and spots like Cold Crush (which I haven't visited yet since I've been back, but hear nothing but great things about), I can remember a time not all that long ago when the music was all but dismissed.
It might sound like revisionist history, but it's not. Hip-hop nights like YouNight! at the Soiled Dove is the one mainstay I can recall from that era, and it was on Monday nights, if I remember correctly. That may sound fine now, but trust me, only the devoted went out back then, and the performers essentially performed for each other.
Now, granted, a lot has changed since then, what with the advent of social media, the emergence of blogs. Not too mention, the talent and production level has increased. But still, the overarching point remains. The Denver hip-hop scene was—and still is, to a great extent—woefully unheralded, despite the efforts of so many great people, who have worked tirelessly over the years to elevate the scene, the writers, the DJs, the promoters, the fans. It's been an ongoing struggle.
So if what I've inferred from Trev Rich's Instagram post is actually happening, I literally couldn't be any happier. I hope it is true. This is such a long time coming. Trev deserves it. The city deserves it. And I hope it opens doors for so many other deserving artist to walk through.
Either way, it's gratifying to see an artist from the Denver scene finally getting his due.