GHOSTFACE KILLAH LIVE @O2 ACADEMY, BIRMINGHAM SEPT 22, 2017!

REVIEW WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U

I WAS GONE FOR 28 SEASONS.

The reason I say that, is because somewhere between July 2010 when I witnessed (in my mind) the greatest show ever in Nas & Damian Marley in the O2 Academy, I return to the same venue, and things have changed.

Ghostface Killah Bham

The first time, I saw my favourite artist of all time with MF DOOM. The Theodore Unit, Killah Priest and MF DOOM himself recited a verse each of Triumph.

The second time, I saw my favourite artist of all time with Sheek Louch of The Lox, it was great to hear a combination of Wu-Block hits, before that unthinkable moment when I took a pic with the Supreme Clientele Champion himself.

This is the third time. This time closer to home, to enjoy the show with my peoples. This time I had no idea what to expect apart from – it would be different from the past two shows I had been to, AND IT WAS. In some ways, not in the way that I would have liked.

My initial arrival to the O2 Academy had me in disbelief, two hours before doors opening and there was already a queue. Initial thoughts were – this could be history right here, until I looked up at the display…’Ghostface Killah & Machine Gun Kelly’. Prior to this the flyer read ‘Ghostface Killah & special guests’… so imagine my horror thinking we had to go through a set with him, not saying he’s not a great artist but rather not a fan of and what RePPiN4U doesn’t necessarily support.

Fast forward three hours later, it turns out there were two separate shows so I could remember Machine Gun Kelly the way I want to remember him… Observe…

GRANT BODY-P!

I was also stunned at the security for taking my HD video camcorder away from me at the doors, which explains this article’s use of video footage from other uploaders. Locked away in a safe, RePPiN4U were unable to bring you highlights on this rare occasion, and also may be a lesson learned.

The real special guests were in fact Joe Young, who opened the show. A very humble dude and great guy, he knew he was very new to the scene, he gave the crowd a heads up that tunes performed from his Invincible Armour album feature his fellow Wu-Brethen, and the crowd accepted that fact.

Next up was an artist from Liverpool named MC Nels0n (Nelson Idama), a good artist, great rhymes, great selection of beats, but there were a few problems – the main one being his mic – the crowd couldn’t get the clarity of his rhymes like the beat overpowered his voice, but the sound engineers quickly rectified that. What we heard was a guy who concentrated hard to remember every line, but he sounded stoic and needed to work on his stage presence. The Birmingham crowd were lenient, because London crowd would have booed him off stage. I have seen artists better than him booed of stage in London viciously.

After a great 90s Hip Hop set with some recent hits thrown in to keep the crowd hype, a few short performances from other artists including a hot looking female MC whose name we couldn’t catch because of the noise made by guys and catching snaps of the hot pants wearing chick on their phones…

The plate throwing clan member finally jumped on stage with Killah Priest at 9:20pm and started his rollercoaster set with hits like Mighty Healthy, We Made It, Ice Cream before jumping into ‘Eye For An Eye’ in tribute to Prodigy.

 

The rollercoaster continued into the classic 1993/1995 cuts such as Chessboxing, 4th Chamber, and an alternate and interesting version of Knowledge God.

Ghost continues the tradition of remembering ODB, and inviting two people on stage to recite Method Man’s verse and ODB’s verse of Protect Ya Neck. Yes I admit to bottling the opportunity, but if Ghost invited me to recite Raekwon’s verse of Apollo Kids then not only would it be a different story, I’m sure Ghost would be even more impressed…but I digress…

One dude stepped up as you will see in the video below, but unknown to us – Ghost had a secret weapon – Numi Sic’Nis – who went IN on Method Man’s verse! Not just that – she singlehandedly performed the whole Triumph track (minus Ghost verse) – she just kept on going and Ghost himself became her hype man! Simply another example of how humble Ghost is – he could have told the DJ to stop the track but nope!

Just before the show closed out with Triumph, Ghost asked the fans what track they wanna hear him perform, after mad confusion from different requests – my friend requested any track from ‘BadBadNotGood’ (which would have been a unique pick) and there I was screaming ‘Apollo Kids’ – but ultimately Gravel Pit, Run and Daytona 500 got the win.

40 minutes later – just like that – it was all over. So unexpected, disappointing knowingGhostface Bhams (2) the last two shows I was at – he went a lot longer… only defense was that Ghost does like to embrace his fans and that he did – signed autographs on T-Shirts for a good hour. Maybe it was a decision made to comply with the possible curfew of 11pm…

THE SAGA CONTINUES

Now this is what I mean – I was gone for 28 Seasons. In 2010, Nas & Damian Marley – they were on at least 90 minutes and they finished at midnight. 2017, Ghost finished at 10pm – something happened in between that time for O2 Academy to change their policies…

Make no mistake – Ghostface Killah & Killah Priest (with help from Numi) rocked the joint for 40 minutes straight – no slow down, it was one after the other. It was a crash course in big tune.

Onwards and Upwards to October 13 – to normal jabronies, that’s a day the need to watch where they walk if they believe in superstition. For Hip Hop fans and especially Wu-Tang fans, its sword swinging season once again and it will be curtains for their mumble rhyming enemies.

 

BUSTA RHYMES – When Disaster Strikes… 20th Anniversary

Released: September 16, 1997 on Elektra Records

Don’t you miss the countdown to the millennium? Can’t lie, it was an exciting time. Either two things were gonna happen as it hit January 1, 2000… either everything instantly turned futuristic on some Back To The Future style, cars would be flying, that sort of thing, or the world was going to blow up after ‘spinning around in space 2000 times’. But Busta Rhymes When Disaster StrikesBusta Rhymes took a double meaning to this approach. To him it also meant at the time 2 and half years left until he and the Flipmode Squad took over the rap game… well at least that was the plan.

I cannot pinpoint the actual time I purchased this album but I know it wasn’t on day of release. I do remember it was sometime between September and November of 1997. The days of Ruby Red Records were near its end, me and my people had discovered Birmingham. Those journeys from Wolverhampton to Birmingham and back again on the 126 bus…oh boy, there were untold stories. When the Gravediggaz album dropped (Pick, Sickle & Shovel) We gave that 126 bus a new name, but maybe that’s another article waiting to happen…

A lot of us hail E.L.E. Extinction Level Event as Busta Rhymes most well-rounded and overall best album, but for me personally it was a toss-up between Anarchy and When Disaster Strikes… 20 years later, THIS IS MY STORY.

INTRO

I wanna give a big shout out to my long time friend @imfootballmad on twitter, doing major things now on United Peoples TV. You gonna hear about @imfootballmad throughout this story. Back then we used this intro for every journey we made, every female orientated mission we had… “ALRIGHT BUSTA, LET’S GO!!”

THE WHOLE WORLD LOOKING AT ME

I FEEL SO SUPREME!!! This was my anthem when I got my NVQ in Accounting from the Chamber of Commerce. At 17, I was hoping to become the next great accountant… er… that didn’t turn out too well…

But now? As a proud member of the Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition and the GGO (Ghetto Government Officials) and host of the Best Damn Show In Wild1 Radio… Take a look at me, take a look… HA!

SURVIVAL HUNGRY

“I refuse to lose, look at the news and read the interviews… FLIPMODE IZ DA SQUAD!” I live by that line!

Here I’m not addressing the bandwagon jabronies who purchased the album after Turn It Up Remix (Fire It Up) came out… because they may not know about this tune which was cruelly taken off the album in favor for that Knight Rider sampled hit. I know which tune I would have taken off the album but more on that later. But hey, I gotta big up the bandwagon jabronies who supported Busta after Knight Rider. It may have been his most defining moment breaking into mainstream.

Just know this – Survival Hungry got a REEEEWWWWIINNNNNND!!!! On my way back from Birmingham on the 126 bus the day I brought this album.

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES…

…YOU WILL SEE!!!! Already by this time my concerns about Busta Rhymes evolving rhyming style had already been eradicated. Initially I didn’t think Busta could top ‘The Coming’ judging by ‘Put Your Hands….’ but I’ll talk about that later… the feisty, full-blown in your face dungeon dragon Busta Rhymes was here in full effect in the first three tracks… that’s the Busta I like! But if you followed Busta from Leaders Of The New School, and each year you took a recording of him, over a period of time you would hear his voice change, and change, and adapt and evolve…

SO HARDCORE

“I walk through brick walls, f**k around hijack your whole shopping mall!” Busta’s animated persona made me really think he was really capable of walking through brick walls! You could imagine it in a music video, especially when he had his dreads! This was an early favourite of mine! If your headpiece is not banging at this point, your local GP is open from 8am til around 7pm Monday to Friday. Make that appointment.

GET HIGH TONIGHT

Everybody who knows me well knows I’m not that guy, I don’t do drugs… but tune like this – that’s how I get my high… If there was anyone else outside of De La Soul & Redman who were kings of the skits, it’s Busta & Flipmode. So if you don’t smoke weed or anything like that, don’t think this is not for you – IT IS!

TURN IT UP/FIRE IT UP

I seriously think the original Turn It Up was so underrated. Imagine this at house parties on some Kid N Play style and the bass pumping and there you are grabbing a female’s thigh and wrapping it round your ribs while you’re killing the full set of teet like your name is Eddie Murphy! That’s the vibe this tune gave to me…

Now my favourite story of Fire It Up… it was 1998, May Bank Holiday. Atlantis nightclub was the place to be… if you loved dance and house music that is! But this time, everything changed! There was me, my cousin Clint, @imfootballmad, and a few others, we all got in the club after strategies of going in separately, or pairing up with women we were hoping to score with later in the night, walking round with our birth certificate, passport, whatever…because you know bouncers don’t like a bunch of brothers trying to get in the club!

Anyway, the DJ did something at the time was unimaginable. He suddenly switched from dance music and played Busta Rhymes – Fire It Up. Unknown to us at the time, this track blew up the pop charts and suddenly, black people rushed the dancefloor. Sampling Knight Rider was never done before, and the way Busta took us back to our youth while keeping it Hip Hop was incredible. Atlantis Nightclub and every nightclub in the UK was never the same again.

PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE MY EYES COULD SEE

Now this is the track that had me nervous… it was his first single and Busta dropped this new calmer style to kick off the second album… but as mentioned earlier my doubts went out the window and as that happened, I warmed into this, best memory of this was the Lick Party with Trevor Nelson at the Mezzanine Nightclub 2000 I think it was…holy smokes this blew up the party! Once again there was me at @imfootballmad dropping two foot and being dutty with the women around us – I have only been to two MTV Lick Parties… good lord the females!!! Ok enough of all that – Keep it moving…

IT’S ALL GOOD

This is one of my all time favourite skits… and I have always wanted to do this – it WAS on my bucket list… let’s just say I never did it, but if you’re talking about two guys dancing with one girl in the club, and hollering the word ‘FLIPMODE!!!!’ in great joy, then YES! It’s all good!!!

The only thing I couldn’t understand was – how this track was initially banned… after you had 2 Live Crew and all their shocking lyrical content….

THERE’S NOT A PROBLEM MY SQUAD CAN’T FIX F/ JAMAL

Big tribute to the classic disco track ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’ – see we have to teach the youth about foundation and Busta knows about foundation! So this is why I can never knock Busta for working with today’s mainstream artists – bottom line – dude knows his foundation. Some hip hop fans think if artists work with people they don’t like – it makes them a sellout or something. NONSENSE. Look at Raekwon for instance. dude worked with the likes of Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber – then turns around and makes a great album in The Wild.

Flipmode2

WE CAN TAKE IT OUTSIDE

This is one of my all time favourite Flipmode Squad tracks! First time I heard this – it was on Tim Westwood Radio 1… remember him?

I was told that recently Tim Westwood was trying to flirt with Cardi B – do you know this guy is about to hit 60 this year? Cardi B as I understand, has not hit her 25th Birthday, or has just turned 25. Let that sink in…

Anyway I digress… THIS TUNE!!! Damn it was intense! But my favourite story revolves around my good friend Steven Downie, because the skit before this reminded him of himself back in school days… I mean, when Lord Have Mercy is beating down the jabroni down the stairs in a house party and with each punch he exclaims ‘HAAH!’ ‘HAAH!’ move move move move – HAAAH!!! That is straight comedy to a serious situation!

Talking of  a ‘serious situation’… whatever happened to ‘SERIOUS’? Remember him?

RHYMES GALORE

I still haven’t done it! It shall be done! I mean I know my dude @imfootballmad knows what I’m talking about! Acting a fool in the car when this tune drop just like Busta & Spliff! I’ve always wanted to learn the words to this… and never got round to it…

THINGS WE BE DOING FOR MONEY PART 1

I could be wrong – I feel like this turned out to be more filler than a great 2-part story highlight…  the other tracks on the album were just too strong!!!!

THINGS WE BE DOING FOR MONEY PART 2 F/ RAMPAGE/ANTHONY HAMILTON/THE CHOSEN GENERATION

…then after all that it turned out to be a bad dream, and Rampage has to cuss Busta for phoning him up at ungodly hours! I’ll keep it 100 – I don’t like guys running up my FB inbox talking nonsense at those breed of hours, that’s the perfect recipe to being blocked!

ONE F/ ERYKAH BADU

I swore blind there was a video to this… I mean this is the portion of the album where Busta tries to let us know that there is a serious side to him, which was hard to digest at the time given his past music videos. But see this tune here? It’s still relevant and perhaps even more needed now, given all this terrorist business going on, North Korea acting a fool, Mr Trump pulling funny faces…

DANGEROUS

Aaaaah sheeeeeeeeeeet!!!! This was a mad favourite – back in the day me and my people used to hang in a little area called Lanesfield… once again – untold stories… there was this one dude who (for legal reasons shall not be named) we all used to hang round his house… we treated it like a playground, his moms was never around… we used to blast tunes, get drunk, act a fool the lot. When this tune dropped, it was party time – until we broke his moms coffee table! Up til now the breakages have not been paid in full…

THE BODY ROCK F/ RAMPAGE/PUFF DADDY/MA$E

I didn’t like this track… I thought it was dull. 20 years later, I STILL don’t like it. You know what happened? When RZA & GZA called out guys turning hip hop into rap & bullsh!t and all this playa dressing up acting like it was some fashion show… it was Puff Daddy & Ma$e they were referring to! They were mumble rap BEFORE mumble rap. Busta should have taken this track off in favor for Fire It Up (Knight Rider) but obviously I know why he didn’t…

GET OFF MY BLOCK F/ LORD HAVE MERCY

I call this the heartbreaking part of the album you know why? Busta was showcasing Spliff Star and Lord Have Mercy… both were next to blow according to this album… and they never came out. Instead The Flipmode Imperial album came out. As much as I love the Flipmode album, I thought it was a good chess move before Spliff and Lord Have Mercy dropped their projects but then suddenly Extinction Level Event dropped like a month later… I’m glad it didn’t deter Rah Digga from dropping her solo…it was meant to be my mission there after to purchase every Flipmode album as I became a big fan but the movement never really took off…

OUTRO – PREPARATION FOR THE FINAL WORLD FRONT

That’s actually the original title of the third album: Extinction Level Event – The Final World Front… but people are acting like that’s about to happen now! Maybe it is about that time for Busta to finally drop that new album… he got that new tune featuring Vybz Kartel, a next one featuring Swizz Beatz… Eight years Busta… don’t do a Dr. Dre, keep the fans waiting after like 15 years, then finally drop an album that’s not really up to par!

Take a bow Busta… they call you the Woo-Hah! man, the dungeon dragon and all that, but this album defined you, and E.L.E. just added on. SALUTE

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