Passalacqua Brings Rap Round Robin Tour to Mahall’s
At first glance, Michigan hip-hoppers Brent Smith and Bryan Lackner may seem like an odd couple of sorts — until you come to realize that their association with each other dates back to their early teen years inside of the walls of Hart Middle School. Their formative years were spent apart, but they would reconvene years later in the early 2000s when both would become fixtures in the burgeoning Detroit underground scene. Now known as Blaksmith, Smith was a spoken word artist and member of Cold Men Young, a collective named after one of Detroit’s most prolific mayors, Coleman Young. Lackner was rapping as a solo artist under the name Mister. The two now comprise the group Passalacqua.
“I was doing solo stuff and Brent was with Cold Men Young,” Smith says via a three-way phone call during an off day in Portland, Oregon. “And then via Internet shit we connected again. We were doing shows at this place in Rochester called the Factory. It’s not a venue anymore, but Brent saw one of my solo performances. Then I did a show with Cold Men Young and Brent started being the hype man for my solo shows. The chemistry started to work from that and we decided to make songs. That sort of started the Passalacqua journey.”
Hillbom was another name that the guys tossed around before eventually settling on the one they chose. Mr. Hillbom was their science teacher and it was the only class Brent and Bryan had together. Their other option was to use the unique last name of another one of their middle school classmates — Dan Passalacqua.