RANDOM AXE @ THE SCALA, LONDON OCTOBER 20, 2011

Supergroup Random Axe are Black Milk, Guilty Simpson and Sean Price. After many collaborations with each other on different occasions they decided to form this group for an album project to continually break boundaries in what Black Milk calls this ‘hip hop cancer’.

I first heard of Guilty Simpson from Black Milk’s Popular Demand album, then I heard him on J.Dilla’s ‘The Shining’ album. From there I was sold.

Sean Price has really came into his own as of late, with his ‘sadistic’ ‘Bernie Mac’ style and delivery. His ‘Heartburn’ track had so much memorable lines that made me instantly a fan.

However for me, the story began with Black Milk. I am not so familiar with his debut album ‘Sound Of The City’, but after hearing the tracks ‘So Gone’, ‘U’, and ‘Keep It Live’, I wanted to know more about this producer/artist that has been compared to the legendary J. Dilla. After three consistently dope albums (Popular Demand, Tronic and Album Of The Year), I was setting for Black Milk to come to the UK, but I missed the opportunity to see him live earlier this year. I somehow knew that with the Random Axe album soon to follow at the time, I knew he would be back, and so it led me to this point.

DJs on the ones and twos, were Mr Thing and SpinDoctor. They succeeded where DJ Semtex (in my view) failed at the Wu-Tang show: rocked the crowd with continuous hip hop anthems and bangers. They did such a great job that for a minute I thought they connected my MP3 player up with their system.

Supporting act Jehst did a great half hour set. Keeping the crowd going with their hits, before stunning the crowd with an a capella rendition of ‘England’ that had the capacity crowd’s ears in their hands.

Random Axe were introduced one by one….Black Milk on the ones and twos. Sean Price follows and opens the 90 minute set with ‘Figure Four’, as soon as he came out, he had the crowd chanting ‘PPPPPPPPPP’! throughout. Guilty Simpson followed just after, Guilty follows to perform his solo track before all three began their performances from the album. Two things became clear, one, Sean P was clearly the superstar out of the three, interacting with the fans in the most unique ways…one fan was eager to have his Jesus Price Superstar album signed, when Sean P stopped performing in the middle of a track to put his hands on his hips in disgust while exclaiming, “How dare you disrupt my show!!!! Wait til the end I’ll sign it then!!!” Another moment was Guilty’s track ‘Get Riches’ where Sean P was shaking every male’s hands and telling them to get riches….then looking on the girl towards the other side, kissing his teeth and walking off! Maybe my favourite moment was when Sean P did an a capella freestyle, putting his hand on the shoulders of a fan, look him in the eyes and proceeded to diss him about his dress sense! Unbelievable!!!

The other thing that became clear was that Black Milk was the DJ on the night, which meant he couldn’t perform as much as he wanted to, which was disappointing to me. I was really looking forward to hearing his catalogue of hits along with his fellow Random Mcs, but the tracks he did perform, ‘Deadly Medley and The Matrix’ hyped the crowd further. Good choices.

Guilty brought the presence of the late great J.Dilla performing Clap Your Hands, Jungle Love, and most notably ‘Baby’, where they had the crowd singing…..the wrong words!!! Only one girl in the crowd got it right, and lets just say she got ‘rewarded’.

Sean P treated the fans to a taster of his new album coming soon entitled ‘Mic Tyson’, with a track produced by the Alchemist. That tune alone is a good sign that the fans will be looking forward to more sadistic wordplay from P. The highlight has to go to ‘Onion Head’ and ‘Boom Bye Yeah’, where naturally, there was no way I could capture footage of that performance as a mosh pit quickly came into effect. one dude must have tripped over some spilt beer on the floor and lets just say he became the dance floor, or battlefield, if you will! It was great that even though Black Milk was more in the background, they moved as a unit, becoming hype men for each others solo tracks.

All in all it was a great show, only gripe is I wished there was a DJ that could accommodate the three MCs so that Black Milk could truly bring ‘Fire’ to the show, pun intended!!! With their future projects in effect (Black Milk & Danny Brown, Mic Tyson), the UK has not seen the last of this trio I can assure you.

(Mike Dogg)

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