Tuesday, July 6, 2010

reviews you might have missed. (Brooklyn Bodega Certified)

Whenever I step into SOB’s I feel as though I’ve just walked into one of Hip Hop’s many condos. His NYC resting place is scattered with luminescent Chinese Lanterns, vibrant colors, and guests that reflect his eclectic taste. Fitted jeans, caps titled back Spike Lee “Do the Right Thing” style, and Nike swooshes filed into Big K.R.I.K.’s Def Jam signing party yesterday presented by Def Jam Records, Cinematic Music Group, and DJBooth.net. Obliging the youth by dropping the age to 18 and up, the barely legal hip-hop heads scattered in front of the stage while the DJ played classics they’d heard one too many times.

As the latecomers started to file in, “Yonas” graced the stage with his presence and asked the audience if they were ready to listen to “real hip-hop.” Starting off with acapella freestyle—which seemed to be a common element throughout his performance—the emcee threw a sixteen with obvious metaphors and puns to get the crowd started up. While piling his crew on stage one by one he performed the tracks “Mindless”, “In a Daze”, and finished out with “Not What You Think It Is.” Yonas’ stage performance seemed to impress the onlookers who caught on to his hooks and repeated them with ease.

After moving to a seat near the stage to get a better view of the action, I spotted Show and Prove Alumni YC the Cynic and Kalae All Day. YC mumbled lyrics underneath his breath prepping for his performance while fidgeting with his fedora. After hearing he’d just come off a West Coast and Mid-West tour I watched for a more polished performance post witnessing an amazing show at Brooklyn Bodega’s Show & Prove. Starting off with a poetic standstill and a stationary microphone, YC released a few nervous bars from “State I.D.” before he ripped the mic from the stand and proceeded to perform to the best of his ability. The entire audience vibed with him and his call and response was extremely effective. Unlike the other emcees who performed entire songs, he performed a medley of tracks from his latest EP “You’re Welcome.” The set included “Return of the Slick”, “Say Superman”, and acapella bars at the end. Having just finished a tour with Kalae All Day and Ro Diaz has truly influenced his style. In the two instances I’ve witnessed YC work his magic, he’s gone from cipher-style emcee to entertainer. He states, “In NYC I felt like I was just going through the motions. But, in the West Coast and Detroit, I was somewhere where no one knew me. It made me hungry all over again.” The trio hit Oakland, San Jose, Santa Maria, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The travel experience was definitely reflective within his bars.

Smoke DZA’s appearance was made known during YC the Cynic’s performance. His crew rolled deep right up to the stage. A friend of mine not familiar with him said, “He’s up next, I can feel it.” DZA had a formal DJ introduction and theme music as he was handed the microphone. His hypeman’s delivery was no joke. Most hypemen provide short adlibs and finish off bars however, he knew every bar, every movement, and even added commentary to each verse. DZA watch out, your hypeman is coming for your spot. DZA’s set included “Marley and Me”, “Crazy Glue”, and he even brought up Mickey Factz—repping “The Black Apple” full blast—to perform “The Rush.”

The venue was packed by the time Curren$y hit the stage. Spitta knows exactly the ambience he wants for his set; a bit of smoke, a monotone speech, and few jokes to get the audience to loosen up.

“In case you’re wondering, I didn’t steal this ashtray from the club. This is a JETS ashtray.”

The Taylor Gang and Jets followers went crazy. Spitta started with “Elevator Music” to which the entire crowd seemed to know the lyrics. He followed that with “Bout It” and let off halfway through the song to spit the rest without the west coast influenced beat. After three or four songs he had everyone in a zone of sorts. The listeners bobbed their heads as Spitta seemed to be in a sector of his own on stage. This is something that can’t be explained in words; one would have to witness Spitta’s demeanor and judge for themselves.

“I wrote this song for my Al Camino.”

Nuff’ said.

The headliner of the evening and the man of the hour, BIG K.R.I.T. almost crept up on stage without the audience noticing. However, when the much deeper southern drawl—derived from Meridian, Mississippi—sounded on the mic, the crowd knew what time it was. K.R.I.T. brought the end of the evening in hard (al dente)—as Big Sean would say—rhyming over a slow and almost classical piano beat. After the first verse and a hard bass drop he performed the rest of the “Victorious” alongside “See Me On Top”, “Return of an Era” and even had Curren$y join him on stage at one point. He finished up with “Hometown Hero” with most of the crowd starting to file out. Perhaps, everyone just had to get to work early the next morning. K.R.I.T. seems to be Def Jam’s southern answer to the other acclaimed “Kings of the South.” (Despite Mr. Sir Luscious Left Foot.)

The evening had its ups and downs but fulfilled the crowd’s entertainment for the night. That’s the optimistic goal, right? Also in attendance were Amanda Diva, Consequence, and Jay Electronica.

Sites For the Emcees:






**This review was written for BROOKLYN BODEGA (The New York Times of Hip Hop & it's entities.)**

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