KOOL G RAP LIVE @ 2Funky Music Cafe, Leicester UK June 28, 2017

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

1992: I was but a 12-year-old. Missed an entire year of secondary education. The stories about my cousin’s cassette tapes, are legendary. To my knowledge he still has them. A lot of tunes I used to rock to but never knew who the artists were and it wasn’t all the time I was exposed to Yo! MTV Raps. Ill Street Blues was one of those tunes. The man responsible was in the UK in 1992, rocked every crowd possible, left, and was not seen in the UK again….

UNTIL NOW.

Kool G Rap Live2017: ‘Mumble Rap’ reigned supreme. Grime is misunderstood in America as UK Hip Hop, some fans just couldn’t give a DAMN despite Kendrick’s continuous effects to push boundaries, while others were stuck in 2001 playing Ether while sleeping at 4:44am. This has called for the Don himself to return, your rapper’s favourite rapper, the man who Nas said wrote the Hip Hop bible. The people of Leicester and surrounding areas came together to witness history. Kool G Rap, new album in tow, rocking the UK for the first time in 25 years.

The 2Funky Music Cafe’s strategy of exposing as much local talent as possible are a bit hit & miss. The show started with a Polish Hip Hop group whose name I didn’t quite catch unfortunately, A lot of what they performed was in their respective language and whatever they were saying in their lyrics – they meant it. Massive props go out to them as the UK continues to become more multi cultural and those who support Brexit for the wrong reasons cannot stop the power of Hip Hop.

Trademark Blud followed alongside DJ Tricksta and dropped an impressive 20 minute set. His ferocious delivery over tongue in cheek like beats and political subject matter left the crowd wishing he could have been on a little longer. If an opening act gives you that feeling, you are going places.

Leicester’s own Shakezpeare & DJ Roll Blunt were determined to top Trademark Blud’s performance, and They did. Even with sound check problems which Shakezpeare easily overcame by dropping hot freestyles like a professional, and that is what Hip Hop is about, to be able to adapt in any situation. His mission was a simple one – make sure his performance was so on point that no one apart from G Rap could follow him. Were Galaxy High from Sweden up for the challenge?

This is the part where I shed sympathy for Galaxy High, what I saw were two talented emcees who struggled to keep the crowd rocking which brings me to my point earlier: Too many opening acts may have been hit or miss, or maybe Galaxy High were positioned wrong in the line up sequence, or maybe the crowd were just ready for G Rap, it was the middle of the week, some may have had to commute the following morning, maybe 4 opening acts might be overkill. It is understandable in one aspect, keeping the crowd waiting for the main event for too long can also be a disadvantage.

15 minutes before G Rap took the stage, it was up to DJ Anthony Mace to set it, and it doesn’t start any better with a series of Mobb Deep tracks to remember Prodigy. The time when G Rap finally jumped on stage was the time the show was scheduled to finish according to Facebook which proves when it comes to gigs you cannot believe what Facebook says by gospel.

Performing the biggest tracks like ‘Take Em to War’, ‘Ill Street Blues’, ‘Streets Of New York’ & ‘Fast Life,’ the Don showed he never lost it. He takes time out to remember Prodigy in his own way by performing ‘The Realest’, in which Prodigy featured, and G Rap reveals a true story on stage of how Prodigy impacted him.

 

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Photo courtesy of @Kip1979_kipp on twitter

An interesting moment was when G Rap performed ‘First N!&&@’. Many of us know the DJ Premier produced version but on this night the Dr.Dre version was blasting through 2Funky Music Cafe’s airwaves before a capacity crowd.

 

The Don closes out his 45 minute set with one of his newest singles from the Return Of the Don album – Wise Guys which features Freeway and Lil Fame of M.O.P. The crowd response was greater than I imagined, as usually a predominately 90s Hip Hop orientated crowd look a bit confused and unfamiliar, but that was not the case here.

Admittedly Kool G Rap was not on my essential ‘see live’ list but looking at it in

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Photo courtesy of @Kip1979_kipp on twitter

retrospect, I’m glad I did see him live. Leicester saw history before their very eyes on this night, and G Rap’s time was yours – he embraced his fans and engaged in full conversation after the show, taking pictures and signing memorabilia, even with Prodigy’s memorial service which took place the following day.

 

Massive respect and salutations to The NGE (New Golden Era) massive and crew for looking out for a brother. They are some good dudes right there, just don’t front on them! Last person who did that got BLAOW! In their mouth corner! Others talk about it while they live it and that’s the Hip Hop we support over here.

Take a bow Kool G Rap! He’s Out For That Life!

 

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DOM PACHINO LIVE @2Funky Music Cafe, January 29, 2017!

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

August 5, 1997. The day Wu-Tang fans around the world was about to experience the flood RZA was talking about on a Tim Westwood show. We had come to an end of the Abbott’s five-year plan. What was coming next from Hip Hop’s most influential collective? A six-man SWAT team called Killarmy. Their debut album Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars, dom-pachino-leicestercontinued the signature Wu-Tang Sound but instead of Shaolin Kung Fu film samples, it was war movie quotes headed by producer 4th Disciple. Along with Sunz Of Man & Shyheim, Killarmy remain one of the most well-known of Wu-Tang affiliates.

Fast Forward 20 years later, and we see Killarmy’ Voltron break down into the lions and have become their own generals in their own right. Dom Pachino a.k.a. P.R. Terrorist in particular has learned from his Wu-Tang brethren, spawned a clothing line, launched Napalm recordings and has his own array of ammunition in artists including Bugzy Da God who performed with him live in the 2Funky Music Cafe in Leicester.

Massive shout out to PC The Producer of FATP (From Across The Pond UK Hip Hop Show) and part of the RePPiN4U administration for opening the night with a unique twist – instead of the usual 90s Hip Hop classics played by most DJs (which is appreciated, by the way) he played a selection of UK Hip Hop and Wu-affiliate cuts which was a true testament to the heads in attendance who travelled from the likes of Nottingham, Wales, all the way from Sweden, and all showed their love to the man who has put UK Hip Hop on his back.

PC would then be joined by DJ Roll Blunt who rallied the fans in attendance as the opening act – Shakezpeare stormed the stage with his high-octane energy and ferocious delivery on the mic performing his set including the Bronze Nazareth produced ‘Train Of Thought’

Half an hour later Bugzy Da God comes through and keeps the momentum going. It wasn’t necessary to use this technique, but Bugzy hit the crowd with his disdain for mumble dps-2rap/trap music by performing ‘Nail In the Coffin’ which is his switch up of Common’s ‘Sweet’. That secret weapon always works. Bugzy was firing on all cylinders with requested 4th Disciple produced tracks, and just in case a few people started to rub their eyes or hide their yawns with their hands, Dom Pachino came out all blazing saddles, telling people to Wake the f- up. Terrorizing his way through his hits, most notably ‘Problem Child’, which he explains is a very personal record, and ‘Napalm’, which is a single with a sure-fire video waiting to dps-1happen from his P.R. Terrorist Vs Dom Pachino project. With the crowd reluctant to go home and even management caught up in the vibe, the 11pm curfew was thrown out the window but Dom ended the set with the track which put Killarmy on the map in the first place – Wu-Renegades.

There were a few hiccups along the way with the decks not playing certain tracks but the professionalism of the performers knew when it was time to drop killer a capella freestyles, which is the backbone to a real emcee. The crowd turnout was also less than anticipated, but maybe it was for the better. After all – like Raekwon says – this show was ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ and with that in mind Dom, Bugzy and Shakespeare performed like it was a capacity crowd in Glastonbury. That has to be respected.

Look for the coming RePPiN4U Exclusive interview with myself, Dom & Bugzy elsewhere in this blog!

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All photographs taken courtesy of KULVADER PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

RePPiN4U: THE EVOLUTION OF UK HIP HOP

RELEASE: JUNE 13, 2016

EDITED & PRODUCED BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. OF RePPiN4U

CO-PRODUCED BY PC THE PRODUCER & UK BIG PUN OF FATP PRODUCTIONS

MUSIC SCORE BY MR KEYES

CREATED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON

In this special documentary, RePPiN4U teams with distant cousins FATP (From Across The Pond) to take a special look at the evolution of UK HIP HOP. Starting in Wolverhampton, we take a look at the Beats A Bar music project open day, speak with the mayor, then travel up to Leicester where we talk to the guys behind Wild1 Radio’s #1 UK HIP HOP SHOW, then we return to Wolverhampton where we talk to Alex-Is on his album ‘UNEQUIVICAL’, and Reload, fresh from his trip from London where he opened up the show for Wu-Tang’s Raekwon The Chef. All this and more in an hour-long feature!

SPECIAL THANKS TO EVERYBODY INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT.

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RePPiN4U Hip Hop Show updated

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ONYX LIVE @2FUNKY MUSIC CAFE, LEICESTER March 4, 2016

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.

ONYX LIVE

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.

Tasker & Grant

RePPiN4FATP! Left: Tasker (FATP) Right: Grant Body-P (RePPin4U)

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.