Flyover Fest Staff Pick: Joey Aich at Ace of Cups

Andy Downing

Rapper Joey Aich is imbued with a boundless enthusiasm, which reveals itself everywhere from his in-person demeanor (during a January listening session for the Carried By Six album, on which Aich appears, the young MC was the first to dance despite making every effort to restrain himself) to his music, which frequently celebrates the endless possibilities that can be conjured by a few skillfully discharged syllables.

“How badly do I want it?” Aich asks on “WMV,” the opening salvo off his 2018 album, If Money Grew on Trees. The 10 tracks that follow serve as a response: pretty damned bad. Throughout, Aich spins vivid daydreams, envisioning handing a copy of his tape over to Jay-Z and having a statue of himself erected in his hometown of Woodmere, Ohio. But while the allure of money and fame are occasionally present in Aich's verses, his motivations run much deeper, shaped by a glass-half-full worldview that allows the rapper to find the upside even in planetary catastrophe. “Global warming got the birds chirping,” he raps on “Lemonheads.”

“If there's a job description for an ‘inspirer,' that's what I want to be,” Aich said in 2018, as an example pointing to the music of Kid Kudi, and how it so perfectly encapsulated Aich's angst at age 14, serving as a potent ally in those difficult teenage years. “I was like, ‘I hate everything! I'm depressed.' But when I was home alone by myself, I could throw on my headphones and listen to Kid Kudi, and everything was cool. And I want to be that for other people. … If I inspire one person, then that's part of my story. And that's what I want my story to be.”

7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9

2619 N. High St., Old North

ALSO PLAYING: Michael Christmas, Sammus

Ace of Cups