Sol Uprising / MF Doom Live in LA (by Kuahmel Allah)
It was packed in a lot earlier than usual. Of course, the “BPGFs for life” (backpacker’s girlfriends) were just about the only ladies up in there. Helps that a certain artist they came to see said what this party needed was more [female dogs], because it did….
There was nothing but the “Sol Power” album playing in the backgroud at first, because it was the release party for it, but that album is sick to death on the beat. I highly recommend it. They tie with Strange Fruit Project for being the most surprising, out of nowhere, soulful Hip-Hop act this year, if not this decade. I was the only cat nodding my head to it which floored me. Which basically told me that the crowd wanted action.
I think about an hour passed, before Sacred from Soul Children hit the stage and cranked it up a notch… as always he chops them butter tunes in there… he’s no backpack, strictly-Hip-Hop guy. I can’t really describe what he plays properly without possibly insulting this man’s craft, but a Juju crowd (for those familiar with that function out here) would be ON it. I didn’t pay the now-packed crowd that much attention since I was on a dip, but I’m sure they were there to stand around and stare at the stage. I think if that crowd was mostly sisters, it would have helped.
As far as who else showed up, the flier promised Madlib, Planet Asia, Peanut Butter Wolf, and a couple of other cats… my man Dr. Oop came thru, as well as Deux Process’ DJ and Danger Mouse, but I didn’t see Lib or Asia (or maybe I didn’t pay proper attention), and I wouldn’t know PBW from a can of paint in that crowd (even though I’ve seen him before, he would have had to hit the stage. That’s the thing these days, a lot of cats aren’t very distinctive looking to me.) I met Stacy Epps, the female half of Sol Uprising, and she’s quite charming… Sci gets props for marrying her.
Emanon comes thru, and Aloe Blacc (yes, that’s the spelling) surprises me. Exile, his DJ is sick on the track his damn self, and they both won my respect. Since before, I actually had them figured to be a white nerd group (likely due to previous team-ups on other cats’ records, which didn’t pique my interest). Needless to say, that’s another album I’m on when I get the cream to shop again. Near the end of the end of the set, they surprised me again when Dr. Oop came up to do a track that was already one of my favorites and that I had no idea was with Emanon. So yeah, they took us there, beats were hot, and the crowd had fun.
Sci was up next with his two groups kinda strung together, so you knew I had to get to near the front of the pack for them, since that’s who I came to support. They began Scienz Of Life style with the CLASSIC ‘Powers Of Nine Ether’, and as usual, I commence to making myself hoarse tryna say the words for folks to hear it. As that set continued (with songs I no longer knew, but liked), I discovered what a treat Four Winds is on them tracks. That man is now officially in the top ten, and I feel gives Ninth and Rawls and other such names a run for their money, let alone a Kanye. Not only were the beats system-ready, they just had that flair. I would call them “kackin’.” Sci commands respect on that mic, clearly heard, making you pay attention. Epps comes up mid-set to add that woman’s touch to it, knowing exactly what to do, making the chicks stand out that much better and e’ything. Apart from one statement she made that could come off rather corny and boho in the wrong setting, I was not mad at her at all… actually, I probably might have been a little mad, because I did want to hear her sing more, but she does have skills on that mic rapwise. But you know that whole thing about how some sisters don’t look like they rap even though they can? Stacy would be on that list. She does her thing though. These two acts alone were worth the 10 spot, but Doom was still to come… BTW, props to Sci for having my man Ras G on the wheels on their set (though Rhettmatic was back there too, and Winds was on the beat machine, an SP808 for those who care)
This would be where the backpacker’s guide to the galaxy starts as Rhett hits the tables and quice nicely takes everyone there. All ya faves, and he basically kept it 90s. My man Decoy and two other cats got a circle going to bust freestyles on the floor, but of course wasn’t nann other person in there tryna dance. They knew words to joints, but they stood firm in their spots, not trying to really wig out. I’m really beginning to think the backpacker’s thing is saving energy for the one act they came to see. They are an interesting species to study. Another quick aside about how they dress: What is up with backpackers and LRG? If it wasn’t standard ho-hum gear that wasn’t very statement making, it was all this goddamn LRG. Now, LRG has a few nice pieces, but because I now tightly associate it with backpackers, I refuse to wear it. I almost WANTED someone to come thru with some Sean John or a throwback or two (the “throwback or two” came in the form of Winds and MF Doom’s bodyguard or whatever he was each pulling a Fabolous, rocking matching-color/different-team cap/uni combos.) I must have been the only sporty cat that did it right and tastefully so, in the Dodger jacket, royal blue beanie-brim for the locks, Dodger polo, white jeans and blue Hyperflights. Kcuf a Stunt 101, I professed Stunt 235 for them kids in there. Everyone else dressed either boring or tacky, though Sci had the sick 555 Soul sweater jacket.
MF Doom writes the final chapter of the book, to which all the kids got jazzed as if Star Wars Episode 3 just came out. Now, there’s just something about Zev that I really don’t get. This guy came out kinda disgusting looking: Let alone the fact he got fat in his older age, what was up with son and that dirty mask? That thing made me physically sick, as some of you guys would say. I never noticed this before… I was hoping he kept it like that on purpose. Whoever follows this guy, tell me that was the case, because IMO, he really needed to polish that beast. And the man packed a FLASK, which he hit twice. That floored me. Makes for an interesting act, I guess, but it really makes me wonder what goes on in this man’s brain. Kids knew EVERY word to this man’s jams though. And the crowd jumps like mad for him, though I don’t know if he necessarily MAKES them… they just do. Some white chick musta been on acid up front, as she was all over three dudes, and kept reaching out to touch Doom, prompting the hired muscle (son with a Phillies cap and a Namath J from, I assume, Alabama – sue me for not knowing who played where in college football) to have to talk to her a couple of times, and a nice creamy Latina to be turned off enough to leave the front. Only one cut (which I assume is a newer gem) had that “kackin'” feel I described earlier, so that cut got ME live while everyone else calmed back down. The ones that had everybody going nuts, however, sounded terrible over the system (‘Rhymes Like Dimes’ got a pass though). But the kids didn’t care, they were just all about their cuts… seemed like he played it safe really, sticking to stuff mostly from the first album… I wanted to hear some stuff from VV to win me over. His set was by far the shortest and his vocals didn’t come thru very clear, but on the strength of how cats bug out for him and come in droves to see him, he might have platinum potential if pushed right….
Overall, Emanon had the longest (as far as I could tell) but most surprising and best set, Sci had the best songs, MF Doom had the best fans. I’m mad Sci didn’t do “Represent Continuous” and Doom didn’t do “The Finest” or anything from VV I would have recognized, but all the acts did them. Like my man Two B said however, I probably should call it a year on functions (unless something hella compelling is coming up.)