Last night I saw what was probably the best Hip Hop concert I have seen. Perhaps aside from, and brace yourself, the Black Eyed Peas in 2000 pre-Fergie and pre-Wow They Suck. (Don't even get me started on how extremely far the BEP have strayed from their pure bred hip hop beginnings.) At the end of the night I had to conclude that however good a Hip Hop show is, it will never be as good as a great rock or folk show. And that is coming from a huge hip hop fan, it was my first musical love and the number of hip hop albums owned by me outnumbers any other genre (total albums owned somewhere up from 1700). (Picture by StJohns/VaBeach
Last night was a night with The Roots that featured Nas, Talib Kweli, Big Daddy Kane and Common. There wasn't any real opening act and the night started with just ?uestlove on the drums and Black Thought ripping it up with at least 100 bars straight. No hook, no chorus, just bars and bars. It was a great start in a perhaps half filled, yet sold out, Radio City Music Hall. Oh those snobby New Yorkers and their BS fashionably late routine. 5 minutes in, and with Black Thought still going, the rest of the Roots walked out and joined in. I was surprised at how the sound was kinda shitty. I had imagined it to be excellent, and when it was just drums and vocals it was fine but then as soon as the rest of the band joined in it became muddy and many of the guest appearances featured faulty mics and half the stuff Big Daddy Kane rapped wasn't audible.(Picture by StJohns/VaBeach
About 20 minutes in Nas came out to bless us with a handful of classic with the Roots acting as his backing band and the audience reaction was very strong. He did a great job performance wise and his songs were wonderfully enhanced by the Roots playing all the music live. DJ Jazzy Jeff was a wonderful addition to the band also with the scratching and cutting. (Picture by Bakinakwa
After Nas left the stage again and the room had filled up nicely the Roots went into another song or two of their own and were then joined by Common who was the most energetic element of the night on stage. He was a very decent performer and gave it his all with hits like I Used To Love H.E.R. and Go. John Mayer didn't show up for the latter.
Talib Kweli joined next and dissappointed with poor breath control. Everything the music started on a Talib song the crowd got rowdy in anticipation, for he has many so-called bangers, but was inevitably let down by Talib not being able to say all the words in his rhymes due to a lack of mic control. That made me sad. I just know he is a very genuine performer and wants to give the people their money's worth, but he kinda just didn't do that last night.
In their final Roots section their guest guitarist ruined a perfectly fine version of You Got Me by going off into solo land for a good 15 minutes straight in an attempt to be Prince and Jimi Hendrix. It was pretty awful. Rahzel, the Godfather of Noize, then got his own little bit and though he never ceases to amaze me with his antics (beatboxing and singing at the same time? whoa!), it got old after 10 minutes and seriously he should've left the Touch It beat alone.
The show went from 8pm sharp til 11pm exactly and like I said was probably the best Hip Hop show I've seen, aside from Jay-Z's retirement show (which I saw only on DVD, go figure), but I still ended up coming out a little dissappointed, but in a state of acquiescence. Also, no Jay-Z appearance! And Dave Chappelle showed up too late so all he did was walk onto the stage at the end and say: wow the Roots! how about the Roots? (He was scheduled to do an opening monologue.)Download of the Day
New Roots songs
The Roots - Please Don't Go (Demo) (MP3)
The Roots - Don't Feel Right (MP3)
PS all pictures of different shows, not last night. But they look like they could've been.
|The Roots - What They Do|