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.

 

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DE LA SOUL LIVE @O2 Insitute, BIRMINGHAM – MARCH 3, 2017!

WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. OF RePPiN4U

HISTORY IN THE MAKING.

At this time, I feel bad for the people who did not make this show. I shouldn’t, but I do. In the early part of this decade, De La Soul were teasing signs of a long-awaited return to give fans that well needed fresh air… first the Dilla EP, then they had their ‘tribute’ to the Wu-Tang Clan, which I had to put in quotes because it was the true tribute, but was overshadowed by a certain Canadian light-skinned, high-pitched voice artist whose unnamedso-called tribute was about checking a girl in a club (??????) and wanted to ‘controller’ from the ‘Hotline Bling’. Then they proved that they still ‘God It’ with Nas. South Park poked fun at the Kickstarter concept, but one good thing came out of it – De La Soul’s new album ‘And The Anonymous Nobody’. What do you think was going to come next? An impending tour.

The news broke about the tour in the later months of 2016… yeah you know, that year which was ridden with celebrity deaths, the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and the end of the Obama era going into the Trump era. So many people caught up in all of that, and De La Soul were more concerned about coming to the UK. I rephrase the opening statement. a part of me feels bad for those who did not make the show…

De La Soul arrived on British shores, and met a woman with bad wind whose name was ‘Doris’. They are used to hurricanes, rain hail snow and earthquakes… they were not about to be fazed by someone named DORIS????

Entering the sold out O2 institute a little before 8:15pm and Jungle Brown took the stage for a lengthy 45 minute set, which was well deserved because these guys had an impressive track record of artist openings. The likes of Big Daddy Kane and Ghostface Killah to name a few is more of a who’s who. Performing their big tunes including H.I.S.T.O.R.Y, their style complemented the main attraction and the audience without having to pull out the secret weapon of the crowd cheering along to the disapproval of mumble rap.

In between sets was very unusual, there was no DJ in between to keep the crowd hype for 30 minutes while waiting on the arrival of the trio. The weird thing about that was the 30 minutes flew by, well at least in my mind.

Not a second after 9:30pm, DJ Strike takes the turntables and announces that DJ Maseo was not in effect which was a shame, but Posdnous and Dave jumped on stage!

NOTE TO SELF: ALWAYS BUY A STANDING TICKET. EVEN IF YOU HAVE PHYSICAL DIFFICULTIES.

Performing their signature hits such as ‘Oooh’, ‘Much More’ and ‘Stakes Is High’, they took a moment to stop and acknowledge the six people sitting upstairs and ridiculed them all in good fun. Now while I found this entertaining and hilarious as did everybody else, I seem to recall a certain ‘college dropout’ who was associated with a woman who engaged in carnal activity and put it out for the world to see, getting cursed out by social media for doing the same thing.  Just goes to show what we are like behind our devices.

de-la-soul-article1

Photo courtesy of Mr Keyes

Another great highlight was Pos & Dave acknowledging J Dilla, Phife Dawg and Sean Price, but they feel the same way as Busta Rhymes when they proclaim why we as people appreciate people more after they gone rather than while they are here. Busta said that and I agree 100-1000! Unless I’m a true fan of someone I’m not quick to throw YouTube videos all over my timeline when somebody returns to the essence!

HISTORY ABOUT TO UNFOLD…

However Birmingham was not ready for the element of surprise and maybe the biggest highlight of the night. Just after performing a verse or two of ‘Buddy’, Pos & Dave big up all their fellow Native Tongues. Unknowing to most, Black Sheep Dres was lying in wait! Birmingham is not used to surprise guests coming through to blaze the stage. Usually that honor goes to London or Manchester. In a capacity crowd full of people of all ages, it was the 40 and over portion of the crowd in complete disbelief and comprehending who they are witnessing on stage performing their favourite hits. When it came to ‘The Choice is Yours’ however…the younger portion of the audience were about to be schooled…

For 20 years, I had been clubbing, and the DJs would always play the same tired songs, particularly that Faith Evans/FatMan Scoop track. Easily top 5 all-time club classic yet annoying track. On this day, I was proud to see the younger audience finally realising that the voice behind ‘Engine Engine #9’ was standing in front of them and bringing the true essence. Yes it might have took them a moment to realise the part with FatMan Scoop asks

pos

Photo courtesy of Mr Keyes

‘who’s f**k!n tonight’ was not coming! Dres & De La had the whole capacity crowd laying low anticipating to jump up after ‘pick it up, pick it up!’ during said portion of the song apart from one person with a glaring white coat on who De La single-handedly pointed out in ridicule! This is an old school jam! Not your usual show where all the stars can see on stage were your phones! (Even though that happened too…standard procedure!)

Usually the surprise guest will leave the stage after their moment but not Dres, and De La wouldn’t want it any other way. He became their unofficial hype man for the remainder of the night, but at 10:15pm I don’t know who De La were fooling trying to say goodbye and peace to the crowd after performing ‘Saturday’ and leaving the stage…  nobody budged. De La realised the crowd were not taking the bait and came back out. Finally finishing on ‘Me Myself & I’ and ‘Name & Number’, De La & Dres closed their hour set…

MEMORY OF…(US)

As I constantly hum the track featuring Estelle while gathering my closing thoughts, even if the show went on for another 30 minutes, it would not be enough to cover three decades of great innovative music from De La Soul, so yes, I’m guessing everyone left the O2 Institute with a bittersweet feeling of what track they wanted De La to perform. In my case, being the current purist I am, I wanted to hear at least ‘Pain’ or ‘Royalty Capes’ from the new album. Or ‘I C Y’all’ from AOI. Being as it was a sold out event, I was surprised, disappointed and almost remorseless towards those who couldn’t make it. Yes I feel bad for them but as I write this, the remorse level decreases. On this night, I witnessed history. Two acts for the price of one, and I knew of this show in the closing months of 2016… so to that I say this to quote a De La Soul hook: “If money makes a man strange, we have to re-arrange that…”

 

KRS-ONE Live @Institute Birmingham JULY 14, 2016

REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. OF RePPiN4U

“Let’s redo America’s infrastructure, beginning with the mirror, let’s start this summer…” KRS-One, From The Beginning Again, 2015

I had a question for KRS-One regarding this track at the q&a session earlier that day, and never got that chance. I wanted to know how he felt about the UK infrastructure… and I guess that would have been another show altogether. Prior to this, I heard the stories, that KRS hold nothing back on his shows and keeps it 100% Hip Hop. Not only did I want to find out for myself, but to see if anyone had the grapefruits to call the Teacha a ‘sellout’ because he was seemingly defending Afrika Bambaatta.

KRS ONE BHAMAs always massive props to VJ EDoubled & Mad Flow for warming up the set. What sets them apart from other DJ/MCs is they don’t just play the dope 90s hip hop anthems, they also bring their comedic antics and wit to the turntables. Notable moments were Edoubled teasing the crowd and locking off Pharoahe Monch’s Simon Says at the precise moment, exposing the crowd’s inability to recite classic lyrics and threatening to play some Drake… even though that was met with emphatic NO’S from the crowd, (and that was women alone!) it didn’t stop Edoubled spinning a bit of George Michael with Mad Flow freestyling over it! Edoubled will play pop tunes without hesitation all for the sake of entertainment and you cannot hate on that!

Massive shout out to the Break Mission dance crew , they stepped their b-boy game up knowing the Blastmaster was in the building. Shout out to Birmingham’s own Malik of MD7 & RTKal who never disappointed with his short set and a stellar performance, particularly when he went in with ‘A Dream Within A Dream’. He probably meant that literally and figuratively sharing the same stage with one of the greatest hip hop pioneers.

How does KRS cram in a 30+ year career into a 2 hour set? The only way he knew how. Storming the set with his biggest hits – Step Into A World, MCs Act Like They Don’t Know and South Bronx respectively, taking Break Mission’s skills to the limits, then demonstrating the true art of hip hop: freestyling off the dome, here he cleverly rhymes about the crowd filming him (myself included) and not coming to just enjoy the show but puts a twist on it, encouraging the crowd to film him as he speaks about technology ruining our society.

A great moment in the show occurred when KRS went full Teacha mode with ‘American Flag’, another great chess move here, 100% of the crowd were fully in tune with the lyrics spoken in the record, but the unfortunate likelihood might be that 85% of fans may not be aware of the new album ‘Now Hear This’ of which the track is featured, unless of course they purchased the physical copy of the album on the way out.

KRS channels his Caribbean upbringing in the track ‘Invaders’, he knew given the UK’S musical diversity and his audience’ most of which in the building have already celebrated their 25th birthday – he would be able to capture the vibe.

With all the hostility against the police in recent times, it’s no wonder that when the sirens hit and it was the Sound of Da Police, the roof blew off the Birmingham Institute… KRS closes his epic two-hour set by and dropped a freestyle off the dome uplifting not only his black people but also his white people as well, and it ended with him not even speaking in the mic and declaring himself a ‘just turned 50 year old.’

KRS ONE TELL EM

PRESS: Why don’t you have bodyguards, you know, like the other guys do?

GHOSTFACE KILLAH: Because I don’t need them muthaf***as. God is my Bodyguard… (The Pretty Toney Album, 2004)

Usually the performer will bow their head and say peace to the crowd, not KRS. His final words were ‘I’m coming into the crowd and taking pictures with everybody!’ Not a bodyguard or security in sight, KRS embraced the crowd in a Selfie frenzy. Yes this is the same man who earlier in the night said ‘technology is ruining our society’… he is right in one sense, because today I scroll my news feed and I see people turning their backs on KRS for his remarks on Afrika Bambaatta. But I can say this: If those same people said that on social media were in the Birmingham Institute, they were killing themselves just to get a selfie with the legend. I’ll leave you with that thought.

On This Night, KNOWLEDGE REIGNED SUPREME OVER NO-DOUBTEDLY EVERYONE.

 

 

INTIMATE Q&A WITH KRS-ONE @Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham UK JULY 14, 2016

REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT – C.E.O. OF RePPiN4U

“When you walk up to opportunities door, don’t just knock it… kick that b!tch in, smile and introduce yourself…” Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

On this day, that very quote was learned on many levels. Over here in the UK, especially in the West Midlands, we often gripe about our promoters not getting artists to perform in Birmingham. More often than not they usually appear in London and not everybody can get down there due to priorities and commitments. B.U.T. an event like this??? All that is thrown out the window. Miss an event like this, it’s on you. But fear not, RePPiN4U was in attendance, and captured a third of the show on camera.

krs one qa

I say a third because it’s a minor gripe I had with the show. It was meant to start at 3pm on the dot, and even BPT (Black People Time) was not to blame for this – Black People were at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham waiting from 2:36pm! A man such as KRS-One with so much knowledge to give to the people, two hours isn’t long enough. The Teacha turned up on stage an hour later. Not his fault but the organizers. It wasn’t like the audience grew impatient – they didn’t at all, but if it was our new Prime Minister Theresa May, if she begins her speech at 3pm, SHE BEGINS at 3pm and not a minute later.

God bless the blastmaster – before the session began he notified the journalist and the audience that he can ramble on so feel free to cut him at any given time… again, a pioneer such as KRS-One, you DON’T want to cut him out of respect, and he’s that guy that belongs in a small club of people who you could listen to all day and hang on to his every word.

Some of the things KRS speaks on, fans may already know, but to hear it live and in person is such a pleasure to behold. Highlights include his humble beginnings as a homeless person who sought help from his social worker who turned  out to be a hip hop fanatic, going on to form Boogie Down Productions. Then he went on to break down the concept of his first album ‘Criminal Minded’, the impact of the song ‘South Bronx’, and how Brooklyn was heavily habited by people of all Caribbean backgrounds which explains the influence in his music.

A particular favourite moment of mine was when he told a story of how his mother raised a young Lawrence Krishna Parker. He and his brother were playing basketball in the neighbourhood, when a taller, older kid confronted him and tried to bully him off the court, not only did a young Lawrence stand up to him, but he also defended himself and sent the bully home crying. In a twist, his moms would collar him for fighting with fists, but rather, fight with words, and it has become something he learned later in life as did I when he told the story.

Another great subject he spoke on added on from the #BlackLivesMatter movement. KRS brought up a good point that today’s 20-year old hip hop artist will come with an anthem which addresses that and will be remembered for years or decades to come and he guaranteed it. There has been a lot of great tracks that have come out recently in light of the events of Philando Castle and Alton Sterling, but mostly from established artists in which have been featured in recent RePPiN4U Hip Hop Radio shows on Wild1 Radio / BDSIR Network – (cheap plug but it’s not because I pay those bills) so with that said ‘here’s looking at you AFRO’…

He goes on to add-on from what Chris Rock was saying about black actors in Hollywood at the Grammys this year. Awards are given for great films like 12 Years a Slave and Training Day, but not even nominations for powerful films like Malcolm X. Why is that?

But the moment which everybody had paid their £5 for had come with the Afrika Bambaatta controversy. The audience’s ears were wide open for this, and KRS knew this subject would come up without coming up, it started from a question from a young lady in the audience regarding sexual violence in hip hop, and it led to this. KRS stands by his statement about not caring less because it was accusations and nothing to do with Bambaatta as a hip hop icon but as a human being, but went on to say if proven guilty Bambaatta would be dealt with. Here the journalist tried to challenge him but KRS was fully prepared. The journalist admitted defeat as she turned to the audience for another question to which the audience had to applaud KRS-One’s resiliency.

krs one police jewel

Which brings us to the epilogue of this review. The other minor gripe I had was that the event was unintentionally misleading. It was titled a ‘Q&A’ session. On a fans perspective, we felt we did not get the opportunities to ask the MC who is 1,2,3,4,and 5 questions (myself included), only two did, and they got an exclusive DVD of KRS’ teachings, this was because the host journalist may have gotten carried away with her questions which seemed 5 minutes long for the Teacha to digest. On a journalist standpoint, you have one of the greatest minds in hip hop history sitting opposite you, you will seize that opportunity to show your intelligence and ask him questions after all the research done and to her credit she did a tremendous job, but to fans it felt more of an intimate interview with KRS-One than a Q&A session and the journalist may have been out to establish herself, to that I cannot blame her – I would do the same. Also to her credit she may have covered subjects which we the audience would have asked him anyway.

Going back to Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s quote, an event like this may not happen for a long time, especially with an MC who made his 7th visit to the UK. Not much when you consider a veteran with a 30+ year musical career whereas other MCs have come to the UK more times who have been in the game not even half as much.

Props to Punch Records and Birmingham Music Scene for putting this together. Here is hoping for more events like this in the future.

METHOD MAN & REDMAN LIVE @O2 INSTITUTE BHAM APRIL 26, 2016!

GIG REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. OF RePPiN4U

“One Won’t Do, Two Is Not Enough For Me No…” (J Dilla, 2006)

That track still stands as one of my all time favourite tunes… and yes, I was that guy who had a habit of partying with so many women so that track embodied what I was about. But today I can apply this to the shows I go to. The first time I saw them, was in 2013 in London with Busta Rhymes. Absolutely amazing. The second time, was 2014 in Nottingham with M.O.P. The party was so ruff rugged and raw (pun intended) my illness took effect mid-way… you would think I would have learned my lesson…

“That’ll do but, I need another one
Yeah, and another one…” (J Dilla, 2006)

RED METHThat’s how I felt upon hearing the news of Method Man & Redman coming to Birmingham O2 Institute… this makes the third time I would see them. Great chess move by the promoters after the earache they received from disgruntled Hip Hop fans in the West Midlands over the past few years. Finally their prayers had been answered. On this night, Birmingham were ready to get high…the O2 Institute was filled to capacity in record time.

What better person to host the event than none other than the man call VJ EdoubleD! The Voice of Birmingham! Who else could bring such charisma to the stage and give that perfect party vibe! He announced that Meth & Red will be on at 9:00pm… just as he said that it hit me where I was, and remembering how shockingly early Talib Kweli & Joey Bad@$$ ended. As it hit the top of that hour I expected the pair not to show up on time, but I didn’t expect them to appear on stage at 9:07pm… then the fear began to creep in yet at the same time, excited to see them blaze the set as they always do.

SOME MINUTES EARLIER…

Big shout out to the DJ for providing the crowd with those hip hop classic anthems to hype the crowd up, and in light of the recent passing of Prince Rogers Nelson, went into a short set of the late singer’s classics.

FAST FORWARD BACK TO 9:07pm

This time I took the unconventional way of not being at the front of the crowd, well it was not possible anyway due to capacity crowd. I’m not that guy to push my way in, asking for a beatdown in the process. It looks suspect if a man was to do such a thing particularly at a Method Man show… put it that way.

It’s also not wise to have your iPhone out in the first few minutes of Red & Meth appearing on stage… because as they start the show with ‘Err’Body Scream’, those bottles of water on stage are NOT for the guys to drink…

For the Birmingham crowd, they don’t know what is about to happen when the blunt brothers take them back to 1992 or 1994, but I do… but it doesn’t stop me and my people beside me jumping up frantically to ‘Time 4 Sum Aksion’ & ‘M.E.T.H.O.D. Man’…timeless classics. Redman’s running bounce during the hook of ‘City Lights’ is hysterical every single time.

Other highlights were the ‘unofficial DJ clash’ between Allah Mathematics and DJ Dice, who wasn’t at the last two Meth & Red shows I attended. The creator of the clan logo took it to another level by ‘throwing off his shoes’ during his scratching set! The Das EFX DJ responded by using his lips on the decks to showcase his talent!

Mosh Pit moments go to the traditional Ol’ Dirty Bastard tribute of Shimmy Shimmy Ya and it was great to hear Redman performing ‘Let’s Get Dirty’. Here’s hoping the groupies in the building were ‘disappointed’ because Christina Aguilera didn’t come out as a surprise…what happened to her anyway? Answers on a postcard please or tweet me @MZATheInfamous!

Other nice touches were Red & Meth stepping back for a bit and letting Street Life take the stage. If there is one thing these guys love to do, is push their proteges and their upcoming artists not only in their projects but on stage too, and great chess move by Meth by testing to see who the real heads were by performing ‘Straight Gutta’ from The Meth Lab album. Personally I was hoping for ‘The Purple Tape’ to be performed… but unless Streetlife & Redman knew Raekwon and Inspectah Deck’s verses respectively, I couldn’t be too mad. Even better, my fear of the show finishing early was happily taken away – finishing around 10:30pm was good enough for me.

The first time, you have the time of your life. You relive the greatness the second time. But by the third time, as much as you enjoyed the show, you do want to see something a bit different, yet I understand why Method Man & Redman stick to the tried and tested formula in their party. Two head scratching things about the night was Redman’s promotion of his CD which was exclusive and couldn’t be found anywhere else and he had them on sale for £20. I heard people screaming ‘Give it us for free’ and that’s a perfect example why we as a people do not support our artists properly. In Redman’s defence, maybe he didn’t know the power of the British pound, however saying that, even if he did successfully sell off the CDs, it was only a matter of time before someone uploads the whole CD to YouTube.

The other head scratching thing was Red & Meth asking the crowd for a How High 2… sorry guys, have to break it to you, but you asked me that the first two times I saw you going back to 2013. I fear that How High 2 the movie might end up like RZA’s ‘The Cure’ or Dr Dre’s ‘Detox’ or Ice Cube’s ‘Last Friday’…

Last thing worth mentioning was Method Man planting one on the lips of a lucky female of the night… I know who she is and she knows who she is… if I was her, I’d keep my identity secret, and ladies – do not bribe me with money or even your ‘womanly ways’ to get me to reveal the identity… I’m a changed man in a happy loving relationship! Rest assured Birmingham… if you missed the show for whatever reason, shame on you…but they will be back!

Red Meth cover O2

Just for the record… J Dilla’s ‘Won’t Do’ is still my joint – ain’t nothing changed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHAROAHE MONCH @The Oobleck, Birmingham UK March 12, 2015

THE PROBLEM

Pharoahe Monch flyerA funny thing happened to me when I woke up March 12, 2015. I hit the barber shop to get a trim, my barber is into all sorts of music, when it comes to hip hop, he knows artists like Public Enemy, Nas, Naughty by Nature, Wu-Tang, Gangstarr etc. I told him I was going to see Pharoahe Monch live. He asked me: “Who’s he?” I was gob smacked while he was putting the part in my hair.

Later that same day, I arrived at The Oobleck half an hour before doors opened. I can’t remember how the conversation sparked between me and the security, he sounded oblivious to what was even happening, I was like ‘Yeah come to see Pharoahe Monch tonight’. He’s like – “Who’s he?” my jaw dropped again. I asked him… what music he likes, he said ‘rap music’. I said okay, what artists you into? He said ‘Yukmouth’. I’m like WHAT? You heard of Yukmouth but NOT Pharoahe Monch??

On both occasions I had to explain to guys that if they were in an R&B club, surely they must have heard the song – Simon Says Get the F**k Up, throw your hands in the sky – BO! BO! BO! BO! BO! I had to near sing the song out – I’m not a singer, and Simon Cowell would say – ‘it’s a NO from me!’ But they would hear the first verse because that song is deemed  ‘violent’ for an R&B club, they’d play it like they would play ‘Hip Hop’ by Dead Prez. They was like – oh yeah I heard that tune… Oh THAT’S Pharoahe Monch???

Seems like I identified a problem. Causal fans, party goers, who go to places like Soul Society, Southport Weekender, places of that nature, have heard certain hip hop songs but don’t know the artist. On this day I learned that particular tune has been out from 1999, and 16 years later people still haven’t heard of Pharoahe Monch? 4 consistently stellar albums plus his Organized Konfusion material in the early 90s and he’s ‘unheard of’??? Something is wrong. DJ Zombies and radio are held accountable here.

THE ANSWER

As I walked into the venue I noticed how compact and intimate it was, Immediately I thought: Something special is gonna happen in here.

Warming up the set was the man putting in the Main Ingredient himself, Dee Jay Kingstun. I’ve known this man a long time, and this man defines ‘Old School’. Not just in the tunes he played, but the way he played them. Kingstun was UNREASONABLE on this night…he put a near capacity crowd in tears when he literally Dug In The Crates for that VINYL…not a laptop in sight, and he held the party down for two hours straight, no rest period, spinning records from the 80s & 90s. Not ONE SCRATCH was heard on those records unless Kingstun was mixing.

Photo courtesy of Dee Jay Kingstun (pictured right) with Pharoahe Monch

Photo courtesy of Dee Jay Kingstun (pictured right) with Pharoahe Monch

The crowd had no alternative, they had to salute him, Kingstun brought people back to the point where even the supporting act (Redbeard & Kosyne – EatGood) were thinking twice about coming on to perform.

Credits due to EatGood, they held their own in the Oobleck… but then they brought their secret weapon: A new artist that tore the mic up with his vicious flow over Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Rigamortis’ instrumental.

Coming out later than scheduled, but breaking the Oobleck’s curfew without mercy, Pharoahe Monch was introduced on the stage with the Pete Rock ‘Tru Master’ intro. I’m just being picky here, as good as that was, I would have prefered if Monch came out to the intro from Internal Affairs, still up to this date, one of the most banging intros ever heard in Hip Hop.

But like I said, that’s a minor, when you come out with an assault of ‘Rapid Eye Movement’, ‘Assassins’ and ‘Got You’, to  an assisted live band behind you, it was nothing short of EPIC. The drummer, rocking a Wu-Tang skullie and all, smashing the hell out of those drums! DJ Boogie-Blind on the wheels of steel showing off his scratching and mixing skills! To Pharoahe’s right, one man rocking the electric keyboard wrapped round his shoulder, Pharoahe is putting rock bands to shame here!

Highlights of the night include his storytelling on stage when he performed his PTSD cuts ‘Time2’ and ‘Broken Again’ as he talks his battles against drug addiction. In the former,  a ‘paranoid Pharoahe’ is walking around frantically with a water pistol but no prizes for guessing what the pistol was supposed to represent. In the latter, a chair is laid out in the middle while Monch sits down and contemplates. Superb.

Pharoahe also addresses the current police brutality situations in the states, before going off on KRS-One’s Sound of the Police, and NWA & Dilla’s renditions of F**k The Police, which leads in to his performance of ‘CLAP’ taken from the W.A.R. We Are Renegades album. The Oobleck crowd clapping in unison and rhythm was amazing.

All this, plus memorable blessings from ‘My Life’ from the Styles P album ‘An Officer & A Gentleman’, his tribute to Nate Dogg in the form of ‘Oh No’, no disrespect to Mos Def at all but everyone knows Pharoahe ran away with that one, and he had the capacity crowd singing along to ‘Agent Orange’. At this point… NO track from Internal Affairs album was dropped and Pharoahe looks like some one threw an ice bucket over him!

Another minor gripe was even after sound check, there were times where either the mic was turned down so you couldn’t hear Pharoahe, or the music was too loud, I’d like to believe it was the former, you had Boogie Blind and the hype man telling Oobleck management to turn Pharoahe’s mic up.

If you were expecting me to record ‘Simon Says’, I’m afraid I’ve got some baaad news! Put it this way, The Oobleck was packed with real hip hop heads who knew the art of mosh pit martial arts, which was endorsed by Pharoahe holding the mic stand high in the air as if to say ‘THIS MEANS WAR!!!’ My friend next to me nearly lost his glasses, it was too late to retreat to the corner, and even when I did take pictures/video, there was one occasion where RePPiN4U’s DJ Miss C Brown deliberately knocked my elbow and the camera nearly met the concrete! There was even a moment where Pharoahe looked like he was gonna jump in the crowd only to fall into the arms of RePPiN4U’s very own J-Law so that made her night considering she was celebrating her birthday.

That track should have ended the show. It didn’t. Pharoahe returned to the stage after a minute and the ironic thing was, as he performed ‘The Light’, he specifically told management to keep the lights off to set the tone. The last track he performed on the night had heads shedding tears into their beers. Monch answered a twitter user’s request to perform an Organized Konfusion track, namely ‘Bring It On’. This is the part where I began to realise how humble this man is.

#GIVEBIRMINGHAMACHANCE

This should be trending on twitter worldwide. I say this because promoters show a lack of interest when it comes to artists like Pharoahe coming to Birmingham UK. They will go to London, Manchester, Bristol, Newcastle, Glasgow, but hardly Birmingham. It built frustration for fans in the Midlands who want to see their favourite artist and a lot of the time it’s simply not cost efficient. But Sip The Juice and Heducation got this one right. Think about this: Pharoahe has performed around the world for 20+ years, headlined some of hip hop’s biggest shows, he comes to Birmingham for the first time in 2015 and this is his response on twitter:

Pharoahe praisesJust seeing that, made me realise not just how humble Pharoahe Monch is but also if promoters send such like-minded artists to Birmingham they would see the overwhelming love they get. After a drought in 2014, and with artists like Jeru The Damaja, Mobb Deep and Nas still to come all in the first half of 2015, Finally promoters will see the light.

He told you on his album: “You WILL feel me, You WILL admire, (my) hustle, (my) struggle, (my) soul, DESIRE!” and boy was he right.

Salute the man call Troy Jamerson… he knows he is welcomed back anytime.

ONES & TWOS HIP HOP THROWBACK EDITION BY MISS CEE BROWN


artworks-000037558040-v60mc3-t500x500How many DJs you know in the Midlands UK is an established female hip hop DJ? Smart money says not many. RePPiN 4U proudly presents Miss Cee Brown, she has made a name for herself putting out hip hop in its purest form on many underground radio stations. While a lot of DJs have followed the system and playing what the radio and clubs expect of them, Cee Brown never went against the grain and has maintained credibility throughout. RePPiN 4U saw her perform her set at the Inspectah Deck show in Birmingham in late 2012 (see review by clicking here) and she kept the crowd hype in anticipation.

This is the latest of mixtapes that she puts out regularly. As Nas would call it, this is for those ‘trapped in the 90’s n!**@$’, and for those new to hip hop that want a history lesson in arguably hip hop’s greatest era. This throwback mixtape will want heads to search in their attic for their long-lost cassette tapes, with the pen with no ink in it to keep the thin tape inside in good form, while checking to see if there is sticky tape on the side, or their VHS cassette tapes with all the classic hip hop recorded from cable TV.

As you download and listen to this, be sure to invest in some Kleenex tissues, as you will need them for eye watering moments when Cee Brown mixes the classic hip hop anthems  with some obscure tracks thrown in you may have forgotten.

If you had these tracks before scattered on cassette tapes or cds, now you have them all compiled on one mixtape. They don’t make em like this anymore…

CLICK HERE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD LINK

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CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL DJ MISS C BROWN WEBSITE