REVIEW WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U, International Rep for Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition
HISTORY WAS MADE ON THIS NIGHT.
Sometimes I wonder, had the tragedy that came to pass on June 20, 2017 not happen, would this night have happened?
Sure, had Prodigy ‘not choke on an egg’ as media reported, there is no doubt they would have sold out the 2Funky Music Cafe in Leicester, but this was a special night. Firstly big shout out to friend of RePPiN4U – Big Twins, who was on the original line up, but for reasons unknown to RePPiN4U, he was taken off the flyer. In his place, The Infamous…Big Noyd. upon hearing this news on the lead up to the show, not only was the anticipation increased with fans, but it also landed on Prodigy’s birthday. This would be the first Mobb Deep show in the UK without Prodigy in the physical, and on his birthday no less. They would perform in Bristol & London following this, but that extra birthday spirit may not have been there like Leicester had. Not just that, but also learning of Havoc’s reaction upon hearing about Prodigy’s passing, this night may not have happened at all, we could have lost both, and Hip Hop may have never recovered from that. Hip Hop still has the war wounds of Dilla, Sean Price, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Phife Dawg, Baatin and so much more.
Personally this is the first time I have seen this at a Hip Hop gig, but it’s definitely something that should be encouraged at every show: Big shout out to the catering company which Shakezpeare and the NGE (New Golden Era) crew laid on for the crowd. Supplying currygoat, rice, fried chicken coleslaw, dumplings while the night progressed was GENIUS. Because I got the ‘John Witherspoon’ guts, I was very careful with my selection of food… kept well away from the hot sauce I tell ya (Too Much Information)
Shout out to DJ Predator Prime for supplying the music while the crowd was in chill mode. Always a pleasure to hear good hip hop selection and not just the 90s anthems being played.
Again, it could be an observation going by my last outing at 2Funky Music Cafe, but they seemed to have learned from not putting on so many opening acts before the main event. The Sky Walker Crew kicked off the show making their Darth Vader entrance, and had a short but entertaining set, including their big black history anthem ‘Bloodline’ which received a great response from the crowd.
Next up was resident MC – Shakezpeare, who always ups his game each time he performs. Starting his set with his counteraction to the Deep Cover track, this is the third time I have seen him live, and this time he took his performance into the crowd and made the entire 2Funky Music Cafe his stage performing hits like ‘They’re Full of Sh!t’, ‘Top Boy’ and ‘That I Know’. If DJ L.E.S. tells Shakezpeare he is going on with big things – best believe that’s the truth.
L.E.S. warms the crowd up with some big anthems, and then cleverly switches to the biggest tunes from Queensbridge, before Big Noyd runs onto the stage like he’s doing the long jump. The energy this man had was amazing, especially when he drops one of his biggest hits – Recognize & Realize, which had the capacity crowd going wild and begging for a rewind! (Side note – the day I left school in 1996, Recognize & Realize Part 1 & 2 was my #1 favourite tune at the time) so this had a special place in my heart.
Fifteen minutes later Havoc bursts on the stage starting the party with ‘Survival of the Fittest’. Make no mistake – this was NOT a concert, this was NOT a performance. This was a straight party dedicated to the birthday boy – Prodigy with both guys (and in some cases – the crowd) reciting the necessary Prodigy verses. The party was a straight
rollercoaster of big tunes, I personally loved the fact that the last time I was at 2Funky, Kool G Rap performed ‘The Realest’, it felt like this time, Havoc & Noyd presented their side of the story on the same track.
I also liked the fact that Havoc went out to perform some big tunes from their 2014 album, and the crowd went along and kept up with the pace. You name the Mobb Deep hit, Havoc & Noyd performed it, with the exception of anything from the Juvenile Hell album which may have been the night’s only criticism. That would have really shown Havoc & Noyd who was REALLY down with Mobb Deep.
Despite that minor point, the celebration ended as powerful as it started with Mobb Deep’s biggest hits – Quiet Storm & Shook Ones Pt II. No tune can go after Shook Ones Pt II especially after letting that beat ride out.
HISTORY WAS MADE ON THIS NIGHT.
What a night this was, and will never be duplicated. My deepest sympathies go out to those who couldn’t make it to the show under their own power. I cannot speak for Bristol & London but Havoc & Noyd announced that because it was Prodigy’s birthday, they were staying to embrace their fans, and boy did they ever. They were taking pictures with everyone in sight, and special shout out to Big Noyd himself, who pretty much became Rapper Noyd AND Prodigy on stage. He was unbelievable. Prodigy looked upon Leicester from the heavens and gave that extra energy. Big Noyd gathered many of us together and spoke to us on a level about communicating with each other more in the age of social media when having phones in our hands reigns supreme, and also he shared his regrets with us when he spoke about Prodigy trying to school him about the Illuminati and what was in store when he admitted to laughing it off. I dare say many of us (myself included) had a feeling of regret as well, as some of us had never seen Mobb Deep live up until this point, and the reality that we will never see Prodigy, which is why shows like this, I encourage you to see your favourite artists live, because you just never know.