Sensory Overload: Correy Parks moves body and mind at Park Street Saloon

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Correy Parks generally walks an enlightened path with his music - "I'm about passion and positivity," he announced near the onset of his short, four-song opening set at Park Street Saloon on a recent Thursday - but in warming up the audience for Cincinnati rapper Cal Scruby, the Columbus native geared his high-octane performance toward moving bodies as well as minds.

His verses occasionally reflected this shift, pairing good-natured boasts ("I run shit like cardio") with internal rhymes about liking to "party though," and even his more incisive declarations arrived atop big, booming beats whose primary side effect appeared to be rearranging internal organs. A lone exception arrived in the form of an a cappella freestyle Parks delivered at the close of the set where he described his upbringing as a "trial by fire" (true words, considering the rapper grew up in Woodland Meadows, a now-defunct public housing project sometimes referred to as Uzi Alley), sent prayers skyward for "all [his] brothers shot" and unpacked his motivations for living a righteous life, proclaiming, "I'm just trying to see Mecca."

On this night, however, Parks remained largely earthbound - save for the moment he growled "I see the light" and raised one arm skyward like a preacher shielding his eyes after being confronted by visions of the Holy Ghost - eschewing lyrical escapism in favor of the kind of tough-nosed declarations embraced by lunch-pail types like steel workers and NFL fullbacks.

"I've been working all day [and] all night," he growled on one song, while another centered on the concept of handling one's business like a professional. A similar mindset emerged on the racing "Give 'Em That Work," where the MC championed the potential in the youthful audience ("We the generation that's about to change shit") while at the same time prodding them to be about action rather than idle chatter.

Stylistically, Parks swung between rapid-fire verses and more melodic, sing-song passages where he adopted an almost-Rastafari cadence, though he appeared slightly more at ease with the latter, which allowed additional time for his words to seep into the bloodstream.