In 2017, hip-hop, excuse me, rap/R&B, surpassed rock as the most popular genre in the U.S. in terms of total consumption, which is a big part of what this country’s all about.

Any casual observer could see this coming. Even the Grammys don’t televise most of the rock categories anymore. So if you’d like to get down with the new pop-music zeitgeist on a local and independent level, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Akron’s Hive Mind plays host to the Blvck Writes Tour, which boasts a good mix of local and touring hip-hop artists to help ease you into the new reality.

The local cats are emcee Floco Torres, who ripped his main-stage set at PorchRokr last summer, getting the mixed crowd hyped on his easy, energetic stage presence and positive-leaning, struggle rap. He also got some of the arms-folded, mean-mugging, old-school heads to sing along while opening for Raekwon The Chef at Musica in November.

Also on the bill from Akron is Zander One, a beatmaker and producer with several releases on a variety of labels under his belt, including his recent, ambient and chilled-out The ZOD1AC Tapes, Vol. 1, under the pseudonym ZOD1AC.

Rounding out the local troops are emcee Chev Meadows, a motor-mouthed rapper with a bit of a throwback flow, i.e. he doesn’t mumble in triplets. The folks passing through are St. Louis emcee Blvck Spade, who has a few indie records, the most recent being 2013’s head-nod-inducing Motivational Tool. Also visiting is Atlanta duo Civil Writes, who mix the popular Trap sound (skittering hi-hats, deeeeep-tuned 808 kicks) with songs about struggle, survival, family, society and their own bad selves.

This is a good collection of underground, live hip-hop for fans bored with the same old tales of illicit drug distribution, odes to industrious strippers, rhyming lists of popular branded products and whatever Drake’s got going on right now.

Hive Mind is at 375 W. Exchange St.

If you want to hear something funky without folks talking or singing over it, the Rubber City Brass Band will make its debut performance at Pub Bricco at 7 p.m. next Wednesday. Though it’s their debut, the all-horn and drums quintet is populated with talented locals Ashton Blake on alto, Tommy Lehman on trumpet, trombonist Max Brady, tuba-man Bernie Williams and drummer Blaine Klein, most of whom you can see performing in other bands. I’ve heard a few snippets, and their mix of cool covers and toe-tapping originals should easily fill up the cozy backroom of Pub Bricco at 1841 Merriman Road in Akron.

Grammy bump

Everyone (who performs) is a winner at the Grammy$ Teleca$t

The 60th Grammys happened Sunday. If you watched the actual award announcements with any emotional investment, you were probably elated at some point and/or disappointed at some point. C’est la vie.

But lest ye forget, the Grammys are first and foremost a celebration of the music industry’s successes, and not necessarily who produced an amazing artistic statement or poetic glimpse into the human condition, or perfectly captured the zeitgeist, or even just recorded a bunch of really well-written tunes.

Likewise, if you’ve ever wondered why so many artists clamor to get up on the Grammy stage (except Lorde who declined to join the Tom Petty tribute because — for some reason — she was the only Album of the Year nominee not asked to perform solo), a big part of the allure is the next day.

According to Nielsen Music, the telecast was the most watched program since last year’s Oscars, and many viewers immediately showed their support in the best way possible for artists and the industry by spending their discretionary income.

King of the 1980s R&B/pop revivalists, Bruno Mars, went six-for-six with his nominations/wins. Mars has always been a charismatic and energetic performer and that combo translated to his album 24K Magic receiving a 157 percent bump (with more than 2,100 units sold). The title track, and Record of the Year, jumped 176 percent (with nearly 2,300 units sold), and the ballad That’s What I Like, aka the Song of the Year, jumped by 186 percent.

Pop singer Kesha, whose trials and tribulations with her ex-producer Dr. Luke and the industry in general have been well publicized, gave an emotional performance of Praying with vocal and emotional support from many of pop’s big female stars. She got the biggest bump of the performers (720 percent), selling more than 8,000 units, while sales of her album Rainbow went up by 289 percent.

Even performers who were “just honored to be nominated” but didn’t win bupkus still got a bump. R&B chanteuse Sza and her acclaimed album CTRL were nominated for five awards. She left with empty arms, but still saw her performance of the ballad Broken Clocks earn a 354 percent bump. Likewise, U2, whose album Songs of Experience wasn’t even eligible for nominations, performed Get Out of Your Own Way and bumped sales by over 3,300 percent. (Coincidentally, U2 would like to remind you that it is touring the U.S. this summer.)

So, who were the Grammy’s telecast biggest next-day winners?

Well, one was rock hall inductee Sting, (yeah, Gordon Sumner) who along with Shaggy (Hey! Remember the 1990s?) teamed up for a wacky mashup of the former’s Englishman in New York, and the duo’s Starbucks-queue-ready, light-reggae single Don’t Make Me Wait from their upcoming duet album 44/876.

Yes, your musical prayers have been answered. Sting and Shaggy will release an album in April.

Apparently, the performance reminded many viewers of Sting’s 31-year-old tune, giving it a bump of 6,300 percent. Meanwhile, according to Nielsen, pop singer Pink, who skipped her trapeze setups to sing Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, received a 20,000 percent bump in sales. That’s a lotta units, which translates to a lotta extra quarters and dimes for the artists and whole dollars for the record companies.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.