REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT (RePPiN4U CEO)
The saying goes… you never forget your ‘first time’… the first time you had a date, the first time you had a fight, the first time you had sex, whether good or bad. In the case of me, if you know my story, you heard the first time I clocked Street Fighter 2. The first time I purchased an album (Only Built 4 Cuban Linx). The first time I was a part of a stag (bachelor) party (I was the best man). I can add another ‘first’ to that illustrious list: The first time I OFFICIALLY filmed an event. I’m not talking about being in the crowd as a fan filming, I’m talking about ON STAGE with the main attraction of the night. In the year nineteen hundred and ninety-two/three, I hit my puberty, I fully transitioned from pop music (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston etc), and became a fan of my FIRST favourite Hip Hop group. I used to draw ‘madfaces’ on my school exercise books, but the one thing I couldn’t do (and my moms forbade it) was shave my hair bald. Never did I think at that time I would be sharing the stage with that exact same group.
Fast forward to 2016, admittedly I never really had Onyx as a ‘must see live’ on my list… maybe because I never thought I would get such an opportunity… but I went and said ‘Never’ didn’t I!
The great thing about the 2Funky Music Cafe was that the fans in attendance knew they were in for something special, as this was Onyx’ only UK appearance. Not even the main cities like London, Manchester, Bristol etc got to see the Atak of the Bal-Headz. Not only was Leicester treated to a unique show, but their opening act was none other than Dark A Brown from the Ghetto Government Official (GGO), Hell Razah’s Music Label. Dark A Brown may rep the ‘H’, but he knew that fans saluted him with the ‘W’ as he performed his EP – Poetic Hustle.
Big shout out to Dead Eye Knights, who knew they had a hard act to follow after Dark A Brown, but they pulled it off with their vicious flows and switched up the classic House of Pain ‘Jump Around’ track. When you are fed up of hearing the original track for 20+ years in your local Yates’ or Revolution bars it feels good for Dead Eye Knights to give it a fresh lick of paint.
The promoters made a bit of a slip up here, because after the Dead Eye Knights, the crowd were pumped and ready for the Mad Face Invasion. But they were not ready for the third warm up act, who hailed from Canada, and the crowd just was not feeling him. His name was not acknowledged, and what made matters worse, this is a crowd of predominately old school heads… so coming with that ‘trap’ music was stage career suicide. Luckily for him, I have seen worse acts get more hostile responses.
Big Shout out to DJ Illegal & Jon1st alternating on the Ones & Twos keeping the crowd hype before, during and AFTER the show! It was the first time I had ever been to a show where the main act left the stage but the party kept on going hitting the masses with tune after tune, but lets rewind back about 45 minutes in the night when ONYX stormed the stage!
Knowing the energy and ruckus Onyx bring, I was a bit concerned as I was the one filming the event that the stage wasn’t big enough for Onyx, much less Onyx and myself! But somehow, it worked wonders.
But it was at this point I realised I was in the best place possible in the 2Funky Music Cafe establishment: The stage itself! I bear witnessed probably the most violent mosh pit but in good harmony. Sticky Fingaz & Fredro Starr testing the stamina of the fans by delivering a barrage of Bacdafucup cuts, Throw Your Gunz, Slam, and Shiftee – where they instructed the crowd to get low and then raise it up fo the hook.
The pair steadily performed all their hits in chronological order, but dropping notable highlights in between.
“Ain’t no livin person can test him
Only two restin’ in heaven can be mentioned in the same breath as him…” (Jay-Z, Hovi Baby, 2002)
Jay-Z was right… until November 13, 2004… Like all other artists who perform live, Onyx showed their respects to 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G… but also added Ol’ Dirty Bastard in that same breath, to which the Leicester crowd erupted with the biggest response. It was at this moment where PC the Producer from FATP (From Across The Pond UK Hip Hop Show) tried to hand over his Wu-Wear scarf to Onyx to wear on stage, but their hype man refused, which seemed rude at first glance, but what followed was totally unexpected. He bows down to the scarf! symbolically speaking, he’s not worthy of the W! Another guy tried to find himself on stage while celebrating his stag/bachelor party, but the hype man put an abrupt stop to that.
The short tribute set led to Onyx ordering the lights to go out as the 2Funky Music Cafe prepared for its ‘Last Dayz’, and perhaps the only ‘chill and zone out’ track that was performed on the night, giving fans time to breathe before they re-entered the mosh pit.
As the duo performed hits from their later albums such as ‘Slam Harder’ and ‘Wakedafucup’, they also paid homage to Pharoahe Monch. Renaming it ‘Onyx Says Throw Your Guns Up’, their rendition had fans in fever pitch, by this time the steel guard rails had actually bent from the ruckus crowd, and Sticky Fingaz soared over the rail crowd surfing. I’ve seen Redman & Method Man do this a lot, but not while actually rhyming and taking selfies at the same time. Multi-skillz at it’s best.
Onyx ended their set with ‘Turndafucup’ produced by Snowgoons, and left the set leaving fans buzzing but unknowingly exhausted at the same time as the party just kept on going til 4am. Admittedly I would have wanted Fredro and Sticky to perform one or two of their solo hits but I wasn’t entitled to complain about such minor things when one, this was their only UK appearance which was an honor and privilege in itself but to have the best ‘seat’ in the house too.
This is a show that Leicester will be proud of, as if such as show was held in say Birmingham, chances are the law enforcement would have stepped in and ended the night due to irrational behaviour, and this shows how much good spirits the people of Leicester were that night. Not a single cop car in sight. Other UK cities take note. Onyx, Dark A brown and Dead Eye Knights just showed you how to do it. SALUTE.