Saturday, March 22, 2008

Top 10 Hip-Hop Shows I've Been To

DJ prolly saw him on Common's "The Food" vid from Chappelle's Show

What is hip-hop without live shows? Nothing at all. Providing experiences that simply cannot be matched by bumping a record in your car or room, hip-hop shows are things I can't get enough of. It cripples me financially, but fuck it...only live once. Here's my top 10 hip-hop shows I've attended:

1. Common
This was the greatest show I've been was, in fact, at Big Day Out (Jan 2006). It was the last session of the day, and the vibe there was just great, even before Common stepped out. DJ Dummy, Common's road DJ, was spinning some classic hip-hop tunes, and I remember he put on Shook Ones Part II and these two cats were reciting every line of Prodigy's verse. I joined in. I fucking love that verse. Every track Dummy put on was just a straight out classic, and it was setting the mood perfectly. Then Common came out, and by then the sun was pretty much set. But it had been a hot day, and the evening was still quite warm. The show was in a tent type thing you see often at these music festivals, so it was a real nice warmish yet outside-fresh feeling in there. Common took the vibe that had established itself and just multiplied it by a million. He connected with the crowd like few do. He mixed it up with some Resurrection, Like Water for Chocolate and Be joints. The DJing was perfect, every word was clear, and what's more, you could tell he was living each song individually, which means the crowd felt it even more. Then Dummy had a 5-10 minute solo scratch session which was fucking incredible. The shit he was doing was crazy. Then Common continued on with his most popular songs, and he picked some fine lady out of the crowd to dance with him for one love-ballad track. Then came everyone's favourite, "I used to love H.E.R.", where he rapped the second half accapella which was sick. I think he finished off with a "Be" joint, although I can't remember what it was cos I was already blown away by the show. But yeh, that was an incredible show...
2. Kanye West
Lol yeah this was later on, some time in Winter 2006, at Festival Hall here in Melbourne. And Common was there again for a brief cameo. But this show was a great achievment by Kanye. A great spectacle...great energy from Ye. There was a 5-piece mini orchestra feat Miri Ben Ari...I assume it was her anyway. Halfway through the show she just started playing random violin riffs that weren't related to Kanye in any way. She played "Bitter Sweet Symphony" and the crowd went off at that. But yeah as I say, Kanye had great energy and the crowd was really feelin it.
3. M.I.A.
Yes I classify this as hip-hop. And she was incredibly charismatic up there on stage. Her lame little dancing was awesome, and she was just so cool! This show was early 2007 I think at Prince of Wales, St Kilda. The lights I remember were awesome. Everything was always pink and purple and shit, which matched the music. M.I.A. bounced her way through the show and this was before Kala, so no "Paper Planes" yet. Even so, it was mad!
4. De La Soul
Word. This was at Prince of Wales again, probably in 2005 sometime. Maseo was getting the crowd going something crazy. And you just gotta love these cats, the way they do it. You talk about personality on stage. These guys had it. Pos just straight out murders his lines live, as they are kinda of conversational he's like talking to the crowd when rapping. Plug 2 comes direct too. It's just dope to watch. So I'm sure every show they do, even though there's no fancy shit, is awesome. Just because of the way they do it...
5. Jay-Z
This was definetely the largest hip-hop show I been to. I believe it was sometime in 2007, and it was at Rod Laver Arena. Plenty of too-young-to-be-wearing-that girls around, which was um...bad. Lol. NeYo opened...and I actually didn't mind his set. Then Rihanna came on and I didn't really enjoy it. Her forehead was huge with the way she had her hair. But anyways, then came Jay. He rocked the house for sure, and Just Blaze was there behind him churning the tunes out. My only gripe was that there wasn't enough old shit. ZERO Reasonable Doubt jawns? Come on dude. I guess all us Australian cats don't really know that shit, and he was doing all the mainstream shit for the young girls and shit. But it was cool when he pointed out random people in the crowd and commented on their fashion sense. My homeboy got a shout out which was cool. Jay liked his hoody or some shit. Then to wrap it up everyone involved with the show came on stage, including Beyonce, and danced. It was a happy moment, and rounded out a real good show.
6. Slum Village
This was at the Espy, late 2007. After a few joints outside, I proceded into the rear ESPY band room for the first time. I is actually an awesome hip-hop venue. Just the right size for international large-type underground acts. There was a great atmosphere in here yet again, which made it a very enjoyable show. There were a lot of shout outs to Jay Dilla and it was cool to head-nod to his joints with the Slum cats. Those guys came nice live too, I especially took a liking to T3's style. And Elzhi did an acapella freestyle which I recall was incredibly dope with incredible mutli-syllable rhymes. But yeh that was a nice show.
7. Dizzee Rascal
This was at Prince of Wales a month or two ago (2008). Dude came out and just did my 2 of my favourite tracks first, I was fucking amped. I loved how he came out and did that. "I Luv U" got the crowd rocking, following it up with "Where Da G's". Halfway through the show he just says "this is for all the indie heads" and puts on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and just rocks out with the crowd through that, then White Stripe's "7 Nation Army." I never experienced anything like that at a hip-hop show before. It was insane. The crowd ate it up. And then? "Fix Up Look Sharp!" Awesome. But then the last coupla tracks weren't my favs of his...a few of them "Showtime" jawns. And then there was no encore. That also was a first...
8. Talib Kweli + Jean Grae
This was at Good Vibrations...2006. It was barely a day after Jay Dee had died, and Kweli was noticeably not as happy as he good be, but gave a great tribute to him. His voice was kinda not like on his studio he had a tough schedule he couldn't deliver the rhymes in that pristine high-pitched voice, but rather in a shouting lower voice that kinda gets the crowd going more anyway. But I prefer the studio voice. Anyways, he spat it real, and the crowd was really feelin it, especially for "Get By". Jean Grae was there too and contributed some mad verses...she really left a positive influence on me and crowd.
9.Masta Ace, Stricklin and Wordsworth
This was just like a few months ago, again at the ESPY, like a couple of weeks after the Slum Village show. And I gotta say, it was definetely the latest show I been to. Those kants started at like 12:40AM, finished up at like 3AM. Cos at like 2:20AM Ace was like "let's just keep going, ya'll are awesome." The crowd was feeling it, that's for was straight hip-hop. Personally the late thing got to me cos my back was hurting after all that standing. Lol. But yeah the way Ace rocked it, it was like late 80s New York again. And Stricklin really comes nice...his voice translates well to the live stage, and he is very charismatic up there on stage. Wordsworth also rocked out an awesome freestyle which culminated with him walking up to this security guy who was standing there on stage and proclaiming "[something something something rhymes with "friends"] / theres no need for security, these people are all my friends" or something like that and the crowd went crazy. You could also tell he was a veteran of live shows. When Ace did the "Nostalgia", "Brooklyn Masala", "Beautiful" joints, I was loving it, the whole crowd was just vibing out to them. A fair few tracks Ace did I wasn't familiar with, as I only have listened to "Disposable Arts" and "A Long Hot Summer". He said each show he did he chose different tracks at random. But yeh it was a pretty ill show in conclusion.
10. Ugly Duckling + Pigeon John
This was one of the first shows I went to. Would've been 2004 or so probably not long after I turned 18. I remember Pigeon John (who I had no idea who he was) opening for them and then joining them during their set. And we was a fucking funny kant up there on stage. Got the whole crowd laughing and shit. I went home and downloaded his shit immediately, and love Pigeon to this very day. And Ugly Duckling just played a straight out hip-hop-upped show, as UD say themselves, DJ Einstein just rocks loops and Dizzy and Andy just spit some sick lines over it. I remember they got some guy from the crowd to drink a "Meatshake" and obviosuly it looked gross. And Piegon came back on dressed as Pete the cow - remember Pete the Cow from the "Taste the Secret" album? Lol.

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