THE INFAMOUS…HAVOC & BIG NOYD LIVE @2FunkyMusicCafe, Leicester November 2, 2017!

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 Havoc Big Noydshout 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.

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Photo taken courtesy of Limitless Vision & New Golden Era Records

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

Mobb Deep Vijay Mistry

Photo courtesy of Vijay Mistry

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.

Infamous Grant & Infamous Havoc

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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!

 

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