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.
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…
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 knowing 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.