Category Archives: Live Reviews

Live Review – Blak Twang

blak twang pic

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 22 September 2014

There are some artists who represent more than just good music. They represent a moment in time, an era, a period in history never to be repeated. South London’s Blak Twang is one such artist.

In the early-to-mid-90s, UK Hip-Hop was approaching a creative standstill. Many of the groups and artists who had paved the way for the British rap scene in the 1980s were either breaking-up, falling away from music due to the responsibilities of adulthood, or they were caught in the red-tape of bad record deals. Some were also becoming disillusioned with Hip-Hop and had moved over to the then burgeoning jungle / drum & bass scenes. Labels such as Music Of Life and Kold Sweat were closing their doors.

Although there were still glimmers of sonic hope being released, overall, it felt as though the momentum gained by the likes of London Posse, Hijack, Gunshot and Caveman was slowly-but-surely being lost.

So, when artists such as Blak Twang, Roots Manuva, Mark B and Lewis Parker began to emerge during the mid-90s, it signified that a fresh wave of UK talent was on the horizon. A new generation of emcees, deejays and producers who were students of the homegrown pioneers that had come before them, with enough originality and determination to put their own mark on British Hip-Hop and help push the music forward.

With boisterous tracks such as 1995’s “Queens Head” and “Mr. Jam Promotah”, a young Tony Rotten, then known as Taipanic, demanded that people paid attention to his self-assured brand of beats and rhymes. This, in-turn, led to there being a high amount of anticipation for what should have been the 1996 release of Twang’s debut album “Dettwork SouthEast”.

The reasons for “Dettwork SouthEast” not properly seeing the light of day back in the 90s have been well-documented, but suffice to say, the album became a bootlegged cult classic which has only grown in notoriety as Tony Rotten’s career has gone from strength-to-strength over the years.

So, with all that being said, it quickly became apparent that the “Dettwork SouthEast” launch party this week at London’s Jazz Cafe wasn’t just an opportunity to promote the album’s long-awaited official release. The event also gave Mr. Rottenous the chance to celebrate his well-deserved longevity, as well as remember the part he played in one of the most influential periods in UK Hip-Hop history.

With the ever-impressive DJ Sarah Love having set the tone for the night with a barrage of throwback classics, Twang took to the stage accompanied by the sound of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Big Ted behind the decks.

Standing silently briefly to take in the crowd’s enthusiastic cheers, the London lyricist then launched into what was a seamless performance that included moments of both humour and poignant reflection, bound together by Twang’s sincere gratitude towards his fans and a genuine passion for his craft.

Poking fun at the 90s references in some of his old verses (such as a line name-checking Pamela Anderson), telling stories of growing-up in South London and pointing out old friends in the crowd, Blak Twang powered through tracks from “Dettwork SouthEast” such as the punchy, Horace Brown-sampling “Fearless”, the defiant “Don’t Let Dem Fool You” and the rugged, drum-heavy anthem “B.S. Survivor”.

An impromptu appearance from the always-lively Seanie T raised the energy levels even further, with the pair bouncing off each other as if they were rocking at an open mic night two decades earlier.

Pausing at one point to give props to his absent brother-in-rhyme Roots Manuva for his success, Twang then roared through the previously-mentioned “Queens Head”, which the pair recorded together way back when. Midway through the track, Big Ted flawlessly mixed in the instrumental to Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Ni**a”, with Tony Rotten’s vintage rhymes sounding completely at home over the recent club smash.

Other highlights included rousing performances of both the classic single “Real Estate” and the album’s rowdy title track, which then led into the up-to-date remix “Dettwork London Revisited”, with producer Harry Love taking the mic to voice his respect for Blak Twang’s artistic legacy before featured artist Jehst plus Reveal jumped onstage to each deliver blistering verses.

By the time Twang reached the show’s finale, inviting supporters onstage as he performed his signature sing-a-long favourite “So Rotten”, it was clear that, almost twenty years after his debut, the artist formerly known as Taipanic still has what it takes to rock the postcodes of London and beyond.

“Dettwork SouthEast” is out now on Sony Music.

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Blak Twang performing “Real Estate” at London’s Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – Big Daddy Kane

big daddy kane pic

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 24 April 2013

As one of my top five emcees of all-time, any opportunity to see Juice Crew legend Big Daddy Kane rip the stage is definitely something not to be missed. Having witnessed the Prince Of Darkness live on numerous occassions over the years, it’s safe to say the Brooklyn-bred emcee easily ranks alongside the likes of KRS-One and The Roots as one of Hip-Hop greatest live acts. With a catalogue of classics to choose from combined with a commanding stage presence, Kane never fails to come across as a seasoned, polished performer, with that old-school BK bravado shining through just enough to remind audiences that he was once one of the most feared lyricists in the rap world.

Even if, like myself, you’ve seen Kane live before, his appearance at London’s Jazz Cafe put a new spin on things, with the venue’s intimate setting providing an interesting alternative to the much larger locations BDK has previously been booked at in the UK’s capital city.

Following a quality opening set from Crown City Rockers emcee Raashan Ahmad, King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal calmly descended the Jazz Cafe stairs to the sound of thunderous cheers, his simple outfit of shirt, waistcoat and jeans a million miles away from the custom sweat-suits and gold-chains Kane would have been picking up from Brooklyn’s famous Albee Square Mall back in the 80s.

Opening the show with a back-to-back medley of upbeat classics, the Big Daddy tore through the “Juice” soundtrack favourite “Nuff Respect”, the 1988 party-starter “Set It Off” and the Prince Paul-produced single “It’s Hard Being The Kane”, delivering his fast-paced rhymes with a level of force and aggression that easily matched his verses on the original recordings.

Pausing briefly to catch his breath, the golden-era great then proceeded to run through a near non-stop barrage of timeless tracks, including “Young, Gifted And Black”, “Just Rhymin’ With Biz”, his verse from the mighty posse cut “The Symphony” and the mellow anthem “Smooth Operator”.

Injecting some humour into the performance, when a female audience member called out inbetween songs “Where’s Scoob & Scrap?!” Kane responded without missing a beat, shooting back “I’m 44-years-old! I don’t how much dancing you’re expecting to see…”

Breaking momentarily from his back catalogue, Kane showcased a track from his new album as part of live band Las Supper, making the wise choice not to force too much unfamiliar material on the audience, but ensuring he did just enough to raise awareness of the new project without detracting from the night’s lively throwback atmosphere.

Leading the crowd in an enthusiastic call-and-response routine, Biz Markie’s former running partner also took time out to pay homage to a number of Hip-Hop’s fallen soldiers, including Heavy D, Guru and Biggie, ending the segment with a shout to Big L which then led into Kane performing the track he recorded with the Harlem icon, “Platinum Plus”.

With “Ain’t No Half-Steppin'” and “Warm It Up, Kane” filling in the blanks for anyone who was counting the inclusion of staple Kane cuts, all that was left for BDK to do was drop the track some ageing heads had been calling for all night, closing the show with the Marley Marl-produced “Raw”, which still stands-up as a near perfect display of whirlwind lyricism twenty-five years after its release.

Big Daddy Kane’s stageshow has barely changed in the last ten years, but it really doesn’t need to. Like the R&B greats he once openly admired such as Barry White and Marvin Gaye, Kane has reached a point where the music heard on early albums such as “Long Live The Kane” and “It’s A Big Daddy Thing” has not only aged well, but now represents a period of time for an entire generation of Hip-Hop heads eager to be taken back to our youth, when our main concerns involved keeping our sneakers clean and copping the new Public Enemy album, rather than paying bills and day-job drama.

All Kane has to do to keep fans happy is keep coming back and running through his long-list of crowd favourites with the same level of enjoyment  he displayed throughout this particular show, demonstrating that the man behind the mic cherishes those some classics and their place in Hip-Hop history just as much as those who’ve paid for a ticket.

Kane might now be approaching his mid-forties, but when it comes to putting on a quality show, he’s sure to continue to get the job done for a few years yet.

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Big Daddy Kane performing “Nuff Respect”, “Set It Off” and “It’s Hard Being The Kane” at London’s Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – 4our Pillars

mcm k-sly

Photo By Karen “InchHigh” Dabner McIntyre

Venue: The Underdog Gallery, London  Date: 7 December 2012

UK Hip-Hop has definitely had its fair share of ups-and-downs over the years, from industry indifference and a constant battle for attention with our Stateside counterparts, to low sales and an often unsupportive British music press. But regardless of the obstacles and adversity homegrown artists have endured throughout the decades, Hip-Hop culture has thrived in the UK, from the early days of London’s 80s Covent Garden scene to the numerous present day events held throughout the country seeking to keep the torch alight.

With this in mind, the organiser’s behind London’s 4our Pillars night (namely 90s Britcore favourites Son Of Noise) are also looking to do their part to ensure the traditional elements of Hip-Hop remain intact on our shores, whilst also celebrating the foundations of the British Hip-Hop movement.

Held at London Bridge’s intimate Underdog Gallery, this event was about so much more than just a crowd of people passing the time under one roof as they waited for the headlining artists to hit the stage. This second 4our Pillars session felt more like a family reunion than simply your standard Hip-Hop night.

Surrounded by impressive graffiti pieces from ArtJaz, Gasp and Dep, a mixture of fans, friends and artists rubbed shoulders as DJ Devastate of Demon Boyz fame and Hardnoise’s DJ Mada dropped an impressive selection of golden-era gems from the likes of Schoolly D and Main Source.

Highlights of the night included the mighty Killa Instinct tearing the place up with their 1992 Music Of Life classic “The Bambi Murders”, Son Of Noise themselves delivering a dose of their own distinctive brand of hardcore Hip-Hop, plus Caveman’s MCM and Hijack’s Kamanchi Sly passing the mic for an impromptu freestyle session with Germany’s DJ Stylewarz spinning some classic breakbeats.

An electric performance from UK b-boy crew The Soul Mavericks set off camera flashes from all directions, whilst Rodney P and Skitz were also on-hand to ensure the momentum continued.

With people having travelled from Wales, France and Italy to attend, the 4our Pillars crew succeeded in their mission to deliver an event grounded in Afrika Bambaataa’s ethos of peace, love, unity and having fun. The venue was filled with positive vibes and a genuine energy, with everyone in attendance clearly there out of a shared passion for true-school Hip-Hop.

Some technical sound issues and last minute line-up changes did nothing to dampen the collective enthusiasm of the crowd, with the spontaneous, organic feel of the entire night only adding to the feeling of being at a monumental old-school jam.

An overall brilliant experience and a testament to the timeless talent that made up the 80s / 90s UK scene, 4our Pillars may have been born out of the need to pay homage to the history of British Hip-Hop, but on this particular night we witnessed some new history being made as well.

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Kamanchi Sly and MCM freestyling at 4our Pillars.

Live Review – Lord Finesse / DJ Boogie Blind

Venue: The Music Cafe, Leicester  Date: 18 November 2012

Only a handful of Hip-Hop artists are able to live up to the promise of their name like Bronx-bred legend Lord Finesse, otherwise known as the Funkyman. True Hip-Hop royalty who can rock the mic, sampler and turntables with natural ease, the founding D.I.T.C. member’s dusty-fingered, boom-bap musical aesthetic and witty, punchline-heavy flow helped define 90s East Coast Hip-Hop, with Finesse also having worked with superstar acts such as The Notorious B.I.G. and Dr. Dre as well as underground artists like Shorty Long and AK Skills.

With a career now spanning over twenty years, Finesse has been keeping fans happy in recent times with a slew of previously-unreleased golden-era gems via the Slice Of Spice label, whilst continuing to work on his heavily-anticipated new album.

Having not performed in the UK since 2005, news of a Lord Finesse / DJ Boogie Blind European tour sent waves of anticipation throughout the British underground Hip-Hop community. But no matter how high hopes may have been for gigs in locations including London, Leeds and Brighton, based on the hugely positive feedback appearing on social networking sites after each show, it’s probably safe to say there aren’t many fans who left their chosen venue having not had their expectations well and truly exceeded by a brilliant performance from Finesse and Boogie Blind.

After being thoroughly impressed by the pair’s quality London gig earlier this month, I definitely couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the Rotten Apple representatives do it all over again on the “Here I Come” tour’s final date in Leicester.

Following a lively opening from Boogie Blind, the Funkyman strode onstage full of BX swagger, launching into a brief introductory verse that perfectly captured the essence of Finesse’s lyrical persona – slick, humorous, and, ultimately, always ready to put a sucker emcee in check.

Graciously acknowledging the fact that the venue was approximately only half-full, Finesse assured those who had made the effort to attend that, whether there was “two or two thousand people” in front of him, he would always aim to put the same amount of energy into any show.

Working his way through classics from his album releases “Funky Technician” (1990), “Return Of The Funky Man” (1992) and “The Awakening” (1995), Finesse proved just how timeless his back catalogue is, with none of the material sounding dated in the least as the L-O-R-D enthusiastically performed tracks such as “Bad Mutha” and “Party Over Here” as if he’d just released them yesterday, with his attention to detail during soundcheck paying dividends as his voice sounded identical to the original recordings.

The heavy bassline of the brilliant “You Know What I’m About” drew cheers from the crowd, as to did the rumbling drums of “Brainstorm” and the infectious opening sample of “Flip Da Style”.

Pausing to allow Boogie Blind to showcase his deejay skills, the X-ecutioner sliced Run DMC’s “Beats To The Rhyme” back-to-back with cuts as clean as Sunday church clothes. As the audience’s excitement levels grew with each flick of Blind’s wrist, the pair then took things to another level, as Finesse sauntered behind the turntables to watch Boogie do his thing, only for the Harlem deejay to suddenly step away from the decks, allowing the Funkyman to take his place and carry on cutting back-and-forth without missing a beat.

Continuing to each take their turn behind the ones and twos, resulting in a fluid, uninterrupted scratch attack, the skillful demonstration culminated with both Blind and Finesse attempting to out-do one another as they each pulled out their best tricks, scratching behind backs and working the crossfader with various body parts.

Establishing and maintaining a strong rapport with the crowd, Finesse interspersed his performance with opinions on the current state of the rap game (“I’m not with none of that electronic s**t”), stories of working with the likes of KRS-One, and, of course, recollections of the late, great Big L, with the animated artist telling the tale of how the pair first met before Boogie Blind dropped a handful of the NY emcee’s signature tracks such as “Put It On”.

The iconic producer-on-the-mic also took the opportunity to pay tribute to his Diggin’ In The Crates comrades, stating that only Wu-Tang could compare to the multi-faceted clique when it came to pure talent, before running through a selection of crew cuts including perhaps the definitive D.I.T.C. posse track, the Diamond D-produced “Day One”.

Bringing the night to a close accompanied by the sound of relentless applause, Finesse and Boogie Blind left the stage having given a near-perfect lesson in live Hip-Hop, completing a tour that will no doubt be remembered for years to come by those who were fortunate enough to witness the true-school duo in action.

Praise the Lord!

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Lord Finesse performing “Funky Technician” at Leicester’s Music Cafe.

Live Review – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 29 October 2012

As one of Hip-Hop’s greatest musical partnerships, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth hold a place not only in the rap history books, but also in the hearts of loyal fans worldwide. The Money Earnin’ Mount Vernon duo’s output in the early-to-mid-90s consisted of nothing but back-to-back classic material, from their debut 1991 EP “All Souled Out” through to the remix singles that came off their brilliant 1994 sophomore album “The Main Ingredient”. Whilst Pete Rock also blessed the likes of Public Enemy, Das EFX and Nas with his trademark horn-driven production, it can’t be denied that few sounded as comfortable on a Chocolate Boy Wonder track as the Mecca Don, C.L. Smooth, who wrapped up street knowledge, social commentary and self-reflection in his instantly recognisable, warm, buttery flow.

Since that initial golden-era run, Pete and C.L.’s relationship has been rocky to say the least, both musically and personally. With promises of reunion projects amounting to little more than the odd single here and there, the pair’s on-off status has kept supporters guessing for years, surrounded by a dark cloud of supposed unresolved differences.

So taking all of that into consideration, it was with mixed feelings of excitement and reluctance that news of Pete and C.L.’s 20th anniversary “Mecca And The Soul Brother” tour arrived in this particular writer’s inbox. Obviously, the opportunity to see two legends celebrate a truly flawless example of 90s East Coast Hip-Hop couldn’t be passed up. Yet, at the same time, the thought of seeing one of your favourite acts potentially going through the motions and subsequently damaging their legacy wasn’t necessarily something that I wanted to witness either.

Thankfully, if the childhood friends do still have any unsettled issues, they didn’t allow them to spill over and negatively impact what, essentially, was a great performance of a classic album.

Although there were moments during the show that gave away the fact the pair haven’t spent as much time performing together in recent years as they once did, the chemistry that made the twosome’s sonic collaborations so incredible was still clearly there to be seen and heard.

With Pete Rock already positioned behind his turntables and laptop, C.L. descended the Jazz Cafe stairs to thunderous cheers, accompanied by the spoken word intro from the opening cut on “Mecca And The Soul Brother”, the aptly-titled “Return Of The Mecca”. Standing centre-stage, arms outstretched, face screwed tightly in a “That’s that s**t!” expression, Corey Love stepped straight back into 1992, hitting his rhymes crisply and clearly the moment Pete Rock’s huge drums came crashing through the speakers.

Working their way through their Elektra-released album’s epic tracklist in chronological order at first, “For Pete’s Sake”, “Ghettos Of The Mind” and “Lots Of Lovin” were all given an enthusiastic response from the crowd.

At one point, Pete Rock made his way from behind the turntables to perform his “All Souled Out” solo cut “The Creator” and “Soul Brother #1”, with C.L. admitting ‘This is making me feel like a kid again…’ as they continued to take the audience on a collective trip down memory lane via tracks like “Act Like You Know” and the relentless head-nodder “Can’t Front On Me”.

Pausing briefly to allow Pete to flex his deejay skills, which included the super-producer dropping both classic breakbeats and a selection of his own work with other artists, the pair soon dove straight back into their timeless debut.

Not only was it impressive that C.L. didn’t stumble once whilst running through what are now twenty-year-old rhymes, it also brought home just how mature and ahead-of-his-time the young Mecca Don was back when he originally penned those verses over two decades ago, with the focused political aggression of “Anger In The Nation” and the cautionary lyrics of “Straighten It Out” sounding completely appropriate coming out of the mouth of a forty-something emcee in the present day.

Of course, no track on “Mecca And The Soul Brother” quite makes that point like the stunning Trouble T-Roy dedication “They Reminisce Over You”. By the time Pete Rock blended the original Tom Scott track into the triumphant opening horns of their own version as the show finale, it felt like literally everyone was on their feet, hands in the air, caught up in the emotional, dusty-fingered magic of an anthem that is to Hip-Hop what John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” is to jazz and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is to soul music.

With the pair meeting and greeting fans afterwards, Pete signing records and C.L. posing for photographs, a lot of people no doubt left the Jazz Cafe very, very happy on this particular night.

Being super-critical, it would have been a nice touch if the pair had spoken a little more during the performance about the inspiration behind some of the tracks contained on “Mecca And The Soul Brother”, or maybe shared some studio stories to put the music into context for both the younger fans in attendance as well as the older heads. But, ultimately, the beats and rhymes that make up the album spoke for themselves adequately enough in 1992 and have easily stood the test of time well enough to still be able to do the same in 2012.

So, after this successful live reunion, the question that now needs to be asked, to paraphrase Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth themselves, is what’s next on the menu for the iconic duo?

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth performing “They Reminisce Over You” on the first of their three nights at London’s Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – DJ Doo Wop / Sadat X / Jeru The Damaja

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 17 October 2012

London has seen its fair share of performances from golden-era artists in recent months, with this particular event being one of the most anticipated, promising appearances from not one, but two iconic emcees backed-up by one of the greatest mixtape deejays of all-time.

Between them, Brand Nubian’s Sadat X and former Gang Starr Foundation member Jeru The Damaja share a hefty catalogue of classics, all of which have aged well and still stand as musical monuments to the lyrical brilliance and sonic creativity that the best of 90s Hip-Hop had to offer.

After the Bounce Master himself DJ Doo Wop had warmed the crowd up with a selection of real rap staples, a lively Sadat X bounded onstage to the sound of the Brand Nubian favourite “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down”, leading the crowd as they chanted the hook in unison before launching into the timeless “All For One”.

Pausing to remind everyone that he reps “New York City, Brand Nubian, D.I.T.C. and Lo-Lifes”, the emcee with one of the most recognisable voices in Hip-Hop proceeded to drop his verse from the late-90s Rawkus banger “1-9-9-9” and also delivered a rousing rendition of his “Ready To Die”-era collaboration with Biggie Smalls, “Come On Motherf**kers”, with Sadat reminiscing on the time he spent in the studio writing the track with the BK giant as they both got drunk on champagne.

Promising to return later, X left the stage, leaving the audience in the capable hands of Doo Wop once again. Dropping some rhymes of his own, the Bounce Squad leader took the opportunity to dedicate the segment to his fallen friend Guru (complete with a “F**k Solar!” moment), going back-to-back on the turntables with some Gang Starr classics, including “Take It Personal”, which was Jeru’s signal to make his first appearance.

Reciting Guru’s rhymes in his own inimitable Brooklyn baritone, the NY emcee, decked in jeans, hoodie and Timberlands, smiled widely as he was greeted with roars of approval. Working his way through a number of DJ Premier-produced cuts, including “D. Original” and “Tha Bulls**t”, the gritty wordsmith mixed some humour into his performance, engaging in light-hearted exchanges with various audience members and playfully chastising the crowd for apparently not making enough noise.

Something that was apparent from looking around the venue was the number of younger heads in attendance, some of whom looked like they would barely have been born when both Sadat and Jeru were first making their respective marks on the Hip-Hop landscape. Encouragingly, the majority of the more youthful faces around the Jazz Cafe definitely didn’t appear to be fairweather fans, rhyming along word-for-word to twenty-year-old joints as if they were the soundtrack of the present day. A situation which can only be viewed as a positive thing as, judging from the lack of old-school heads at this and other recent gigs, it will be those younger fans who keep artists such as Sadat and Jeru touring for years to come, as long as their interest in classic Hip-Hop isn’t just a passing phase based on the music’s potential retro-cool appeal.

With Sadat and Jeru each performing a second individual set, which included anthems such as “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone” and “Come Clean”, the show closed with an impromptu freestyle session. As Jeru stepped behind the turntables to spin some familiar breaks, Sadat and Doo Wop invited any emcees in the house to approach the stage, with UK talent such as Oliver Sudden and Chima Anya taking the opportunity to rock with the three Rotten Apple representatives.

Ending a seamless night of classic material by mingling with fans to graciously sign autographs and take photos, Sadat, Jeru and Doo Wop left having ensured those older fans in the crowd were able to relive some of their Hip-Hop memories, whilst helping the younger heads in the audience create some new ones of their own.

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Sadat X performing “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down” at the Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – Inspectah Deck

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 8 October 2012

Times have definitely changed. Almost twenty years ago, in 1993, the mighty Wu-Tang Clan launched an assault from the slums of Shaolin with a debut album that would have a lasting impact on the music, business and culture of Hip-Hop, placing the RZA-led band of rap brothers alongside the likes of Public Enemy and N.W.A. as a group that changed the game. Two decades later and the Clan’s huge record sales, cultural influence and global fame were definitely not reflected by the surprisingly small number of die-hard Wu fans scattered around London’s Jazz Cafe awaiting the arrival of the Rebel INS, better known as Inspectah Deck.

Deck might not have been as colourful a Clan character as Method Man or Ol’ Dirty Bastard, nor might he have as many certified solo classics under his belt as Raekown or Ghostface, but the Staten Island native has always been one of the crew’s strongest and most robust lyricists. So why then the small turn-out? Maybe it was the fact that Deck hasn’t made as big an impact as a solo artist as some of his homeboys, maybe it was a lack of promotion for the show, or perhaps it was down to the typically poor British October weather, but regardless, to see that only approximately a hundred people had passed through the Jazz Cafe doors was definitely something of a shock.

As the minutes to showtime ticked by, the same concerns were probably running throuth the minds of many of the fans who had made the effort to attend. Would Deck leave it as late as possible to hit the stage in the hope more people would arrive? Would the Wu warrior then end-up delivering a short set due to his disappointment at the size of the crowd? Would those fans who had travelled to the gig also leave disappointed because of Deck’s potential reaction to the situation? The same short answer applies to all of those questions – no, no and no.

Joined by hypeman Colt Seavers and DJ Timmi Handtrix, Deck descended the venue’s stairs at a prompt 9:45pm, encouraging everyone to gather close to the stage so that he could “turn this muthafu**er into a party.” Still looking every bit the straight-from-the-street-corner emcee seen in those early Clan videos, Deck, sporting an oversized Champion sweatshirt and baseball cap, set the night off in no uncertain terms with his verses from the Wu anthems “Protect Ya Neck” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’Wit” followed by “For Heavens Sake” from 1997’s “Wu-Tang Forever” album.

Quick to reassure any fans who might have been expecting the worst, Deck humbly acknowledged the low crowd numbers but stated that it didn’t matter whether he was performing for thousands or hundreds, he was appreciative of any support he was given and would always deliver a show, commenting on how the “intimate” surroundings would allow him to get “up close and personal”, proving his point by jumping offstage to perform the classic “C.R.E.A.M.” amidst a sea of mobile phones held aloft to capture the moment.

The Inspectah’s performance was strong and fast-paced. Rather than dropping endless songs from his own solo catalogue, the Shaolin soldier instead worked his way through a set list that would read like a “Best Of Deck” mixtape, including specific verses from various Wu bangers as well as some of the Rebel’s most memorable collaborations.

The rumbling bass of the timeless “Triumph” drew loud cheers as Deck delivered his brilliant “I bomb atomically…” verse with crystal-clear precision, whilst his rhymes from GZA’s “Cold World” and Raekwon’s “Guillotine (Swordz)”  were also received well.

Shouting out fallen legends Big Pun and Guru, Deck also dropped his intricate verbals from the BX giant’s “Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)” and Gang Starr’s “Above The Clouds”, before walking back into the crowd for an Ol’ DB tribute, performing both “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Brooklyn Zoo” in their entirety with virtually the whole crowd excitedly rhyming along with Deck word-for-word.

Taking a moment out to speak to the audience, Deck thanked everyone for supporting the Wu throughout the years, sounding both honest and sincere as he stated what a blessing he felt it was to still be on worldwide stages doing what he loved so long after he first picked up the mic as a youngster on Staten Island.

After a freestyle over the Gap Band’s 80s soul favourite “Outstanding”, a lengthy acappella rhyme that perfectly captured Deck’s talent for vivid, descriptive wordplay and his verse from Pete Rock’s 1998 gem “Tru Master”, the Clansman brought the hour-plus show to a close before retiring to the bar to graciously take photos and conversate with the people.

Feeling like a mix between a VIP gig and a rowdy house party, what could have been a show that was remembered for all the wrong reasons was saved thanks to Inspectah Deck’s professionalism, enthusiasm and genuine respect for his fans.

Wu-Tang, it would seem, is indeed forever.

Ryan Proctor

Inspectah Deck’s Ol’ Dirty tribute at London’s Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – Large Professor / Cormega

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 26 September 2012

Few individuals embody the essence of Hip-Hop like Flushing, Queens legend Large Professor. From his early beginnings as a student of the late, great studio wiz Paul C., to Main Source’s 1991 classic “Breaking Atoms” and his production / remix work for the likes of Nas, Common and Gang Starr, on to his own solo material, Extra P has always remained loyal to the true-school blueprint that influenced the music and culture he grew-up on in 80s / 90s NYC.

Although Large Pro might not have worked with as many known household names as some of his production peers such as DJ Premier and Q-Tip, his legacy, catalogue and reputation remain unrivalled in Hip-Hop circles, resulting in the “live guy with glasses” being cherished as something of a hero amongst rap purists.

So it was no surprise then that the announcement of Large Professor’s first London show in roughly a decade sent a wave of excitement amongst UK Hip-Hop junkies within travelling distance of the capital city.

Queensbridge’s very own Cormega opened the show with DJ Skizz manning the turntables, entertaining both the rowdy front row and remainder of the crowd with a selection of hood favourites from cult albums such as “The Realness” and “The True Meaning”. Draped in a white lounge suit topped off with a tilted baseball cap, Mega Montana stalked the stage with purpose, barely able to contain his glee as loyal fans rapped decade-old tracks word-for-word whilst reaching out for a handshake or to wave record covers in the air hoping for a signature from their QB champion. Eager to keep his supporters happy, Nas’s former rival threw the set list aside, telling Skizz to skip past certain tracks in order to keep the momentum going. A tactic which led to a somewhat disjointed performance, but one that ultimately kept those dedicated Mega die-hards pushed tightly against the stage happy enough.

Large Pro made his way down the Jazz Cafe stairs immediately after Cormega’s final track to the sound of loud cheers and applause, appearing a little overwhelmed as he settled into his place in the spotlight, announcing “We’re here!” before launching straight into the timeless Main Source classic “Peace Is Not The Word To Play” which was followed by the brilliant “Snake Eyes”.

Barely pausing between tracks, Extra P literally powered his way through a non-stop selection of quality bangers from the past, present and everywhere inbetween. The rolling drums of the Marco Polo-produced “The Radar” boomed from the speakers to an enthusiastic crowd response, whilst further Main Source sureshots such as “Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball” and “Just Hangin’ Out” took those in attendance further down memory lane, with Large Pro’s voice sounding as clear and commanding today as it did on those original tracks some twenty years ago.

Taking a moment to thank everyone for their support (which the Professor stated helped to “keep (him) alive”), the king from Queens continued on his musical mission, dropping the smooth Nas-assisted “Stay Chisel” (asking the crowd “You know whose voice that is, right?” as Mr. Jones could be heard reciting the hook), along with the crisp “Radioactive” from 2002’s “1st Class” album and the sublime 90s classic “I JusWannaChill”.

Of course no Large Professor performance would be fully complete without a few signature tracks and the multi-talented producer-on-the-mic didn’t disappoint, leading the crowd in a call-and-response session over the pounding bass of “Fakin’ The Funk”, reliving past relationship dramas with “Looking At The Front Door” and spitting his rapid-fire rhymes from the classic posse cut “Live At The Barbeque” with the hunger and determination of an upcoming artist rather than the been-there-done-that approach of a proven veteran.

Reuniting with Cormega for “Focused Up” from his recent “Professor @ Large” album (strangely there was no performance of the popular “Key To The City”), Extra P then exited the stage, leaving his NY ally to sign an endless stream of autographs as he headed for the dressing-room.

A brilliant display of pure, uncut beats and rhymes, Large Pro’s London performance could only have further cemented his well-deserved reputation as a genuine Hip-Hop icon amongst those who were there. Salute!

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Large Professor at the Jazz Cafe filmed by Shortee Blitz.

Live Review – People Under The Stairs

Venue: XOYO, London  Date: 25 September 2012

Products of the same mid-to-late 90s West Coast underground scene that gave us the likes of Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples, Cali duo People Under The Stairs have spent the best part of the last fifteen years building and maintaining a reputation on wax as one of the most consistent acts of the post-golden-era years.

Having amassed an impressive discography which includes eight full-length albums, longtime friends Thes One and Double K have perfected their own brand of true-school rap, mixing a healthy dose of humour and fun with impeccable production and back-in-the-day lyrical sensibilities.

With seven years having passed since the last PUTS performance in the UK, this one-off London gig in Shoreditch’s intimate XOYO venue presented fans with an excellent opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with one of the game’s most unique acts.

Proving themselves to be as entertainingly unpredictable as always, Thes One began the show by playing a game of original Mario projected onto the stage’s back wall as Double K cut-up James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” in time with the iconic Nintendo theme music. After this leftfield intro the twosome launched straight into the rousing “Selfish Destruction” from last year’s brilliant “Highlighter” album.

The following hour was a masterclass in crowd-rocking, with the pair running through an obviously well-planned set whilst still maintaining an energetic atmosphere of improvisation and lively audience interaction.

Upbeat tracks such as the funk-fuelled “Tuxedo Rap” and “Trippin’ At The Disco” kept heads bobbing relentlessly, whilst Thes One really threw himself into his performance of the self-explantory “Beer”, sharing memories of the duo’s early alcohol-soaked visits to the UK before pouring the contents of his bottle over his head halfway through his verses.

Other unexpected highlights included Thes One banging out some live old-school drum sounds via an adapted piece of vintage studio equipment and the pair dropping a karaoke version of Cypress Hill’s “Hand On The Pump”, with Thes explaining that himself and Double K often recreated their favourite tracks whilst driving around LA together so they decided to try it onstage as well.

Something that was very apparent from looking around the venue was the youthfulness of the crowd, with older heads (such as this particular thirty-something blogger) standing-out amongst an audience who largely appeared to be in their early-to-mid-twenties. This observation also wasn’t lost on People Under The Stairs themselves, with Thes One joking that some members of the crowd looked like they would barely have been born when the two brothers-from-other-mothers began their musical careers.

But that being said, older PUTS tracks such as the hypnotic “San Francisco Knights” were met with the same enthusiastic response and word-for-word rhyming from those in attendance as newer material from more recent projects. All of which is a testament to both the timeless, universal appeal of Thes One and Double K’s music and also the dedication of their younger fans who’ve obviously taken the time to discover the crew’s earlier work, proving that the generational gap in Hip-Hop can be bridged by artists making quality material.

Closing with the melodic 1998 favourite “Time To Rock Our S**t”, the pair retired from the stage after once again thanking the UK for all the support PUTS had received from these shores since their early days struggling to make a name for themselves.

So taking the Los Angeles duo’s passion for their British fans into consideration, let’s hope they don’t leave it another seven years before they return to bless us with more of that good ol’-fashioned feel-good PUTS flavour.

Ryan Proctor

Live Review – The Beatnuts

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 31 August 2012

The Beatnuts may have started off as a three-man crew (with the inimitable Fashion making up the third of the trio), but following their reduction to a two- man unit after the release of their brilliant 1994 debut album, Queens, NY producers-on-the-mic Psycho Les and Junkyard JuJu have gone on to join the ranks of Run DMC and EPMD as one of Hip-Hop’s most cherished rhyming partnerships. The Nuts’ potent blend of dusty grooves, boom-bap drums and raucous, politically-incorrect lyrical content has resulted in a lengthy list of Hip-Hop classics and a die-hard fanbase, plenty of whom were in attendance at this lively London gig.

After some brief technical problems, JuJu kicked things off after midnight from behind his lap-top set-up with a short instrumental intro, before being joined onstage by Psycho Les, sporting dark shades and carrying a hefty bottle of alchohol which kept the pair’s cups filled throughout the performance.

With no frills and no over-the-top theatrics , the duo launched head-first into the thumping “Originate”, as Les roamed the stage with bristling b-boy attitude, pausing only to readjust his sagging jeans and take a slug of his drink as JuJu moved from behind his computer to take centre-stage.

Although the lack of a deejay may have hampered the performance of a less-experienced act, JuJu needing to constantly duck back behind his laptop to cue the next track didn’t necessarily have an adverse or disruptive impact on the show. With years of rocking stages under their belts, Les and JuJu obviously know their catalogue of material inside out and their larger-than-life personalities ensured any potential glitches were pushed aside with charismatic humour (“Y’know, I’m not really into this technology s**t,” JuJu had joked whilst initially struggling to set his equipment up at the beginning of the show).

The adrenaline-pumping “Beatnuts Forever” provoked a rowdy reaction from the crowd, as to did the  crashing drums of the ultimate beer-drinking, weed-smoking anthem “Psycho Dwarf” from the group’s unforgettable 1993 EP “Intoxicated Demons”.

JuJu’s voice was clearly becoming more hoarse as the Nuts’ progressed further into their set, the result of numerous shows and late nights in Europe prior to the pair spending hours waiting for a delayed flight to the UK. Persisting with his gruff vocal tones, the gravel-voiced beat-digger drew laughs from the audience as he commented on how much he sounded like Onyx member Sticky Fingaz, before managing an almost pitch-perfect rendition of the intro to the Mad Face favourite “Throw Ya Gunz”.

Further timeless Nut nuggets such as the playful “No Escapin’ This” and brilliant 90s gem “No Equal” satisfied those looking to see the duo delivering their trademark bangers, whilst Les and JuJu also took the opportunity to test-drive some new material which apparently was only “on Serato exclusive for the Jazz Cafe.”

Exuding the same cocky bravado and love for raw Hip-Hop that enamoured them to rap fans twenty years ago, the Beatnuts first UK appearance in the best part of a decade proved to be a more than successful return for the kings of diggin’.

The New York City duo definitely still get props over here.

Ryan Proctor

The Beatnuts debut new material at the Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – World Famous Beat Junkies

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 23 August 2012

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the deejay was considered to be the backbone of Hip-Hop culture. From the original 70s Bronx block-parties as rocked by Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, to the technical innovations of Grandmaster Flash and Grand Wizard Theodore, onto the 80s showmanship of Jazzy Jeff and DJ Aladdin, those behind the wheels of steel largely got the credit they deserved.

By the 90s, however, the game had changed dramatically. As corporate interest infiltrated Hip-Hop the microphone took precedence over the turntable as record labels concentrated their efforts on finding the next rap superstar as opposed to the next legendary deejay. Born out of this apparent ignorance of the importance of the ones-and-twos came the decade’s turntablist movement, and with it multi-talented deejay crews such as NY’s X-ecutioners, the UK’s Scratch Perverts, and, of course, the West Coast’s formidable bunch of deck-wreckers, the World Famous Beat Junkies.

Currently celebrating twenty years of competitive dominance, producing, club-rocking and relentless needle-thrashing, crew members Melo-D, J. Rocc, DJ Babu and DJ Rhettmatic touched down at London’s Jazz Cafe for over two hours of quality music, jaw-dropping skills and all-round good times.

With Melo-D and Rhettmatic the first to take their places at each end of the impressive eight-turntable set-up, the night began with a selection of old-school classics from the likes of Slick Rick and the Crash Crew cut and blended effortlessly, as Rhettmatic informed the crowd they were “just warming it up Beat Junkies style” as he fired off various sound effects over Melo’s selection.

The crew’s self-proclaimed Funky President J. Rocc was the next to take to the stage, plugging in his laptop and adjusting headphone levels before jumping seamlessly into the mix, dropping subtle cuts and turntable tricks before being joined by Babu who completed the night’s line-up.

With all four deejays now onstage the party really got started, with the quartet generating a constant wall of sound that crossed numerous musical genres at breakneck speed without ever missing a beat. Displaying a chemistry honed over years of performing together, small nods and simple hand gestures was the only communication required between the crew as they each took turns adding further layers to the sonic tidal wave, alternating between vinyl and Serato technology.

The musical menu was definitely eclectic, with 80s electro from the likes of Newcleus blended into old-school p-funk from Funkadelic and bass-heavy Dilla, before the crowd were given some reggae vibes with a Beat Junkie Sound special of Damian Marley’s “Welcome To Jamrock” and Sister Nancy’s timeless classic “Bam Bam”.

Following the party segment of their performance, the Beat Junkies then took their collective gloves off to deliver one of the trademark group routines which has seen them win various competitions over the years. With crab scratches, flares and all manner of other complex techniques cutting through the air like sharp blades, the four turntable titans effectively demonstrated why they’re considered to be amongst the world’s elite deejays, both individually and as a group.

After the crew had showcased their unified abilities, each member was given the spotlight to shine on their own, with Babu dropping his classic “Blind Alley” routine and J. Rocc deconstructing the Incredible Bongo Band’s b-boy anthem “Apache” with seemingly effortless skill, his masterful beat-juggle even more impressive considering the deejay had struggled with technical difficulties for most of the night.

Ending the musical spectacle with a freestyle jam session, DJ Babu unexpectedly called the UK’s Mr. Thing onstage to deliver some impromptu cuts, with the talented yet always-humble former Scratch Pervert making his way from the audience to unleash a furiously fast batch of scratches, reminding all in attendance why he’s also considered to be one of the nicest to ever put his hands on two pieces of vinyl.

Two decades deep, the Beat Junkies remain at the top of their game, and this entertaining anniversary performance proved Melo-D, J. Rocc, Babu and Rhettmatic to still be more than worthy of their crowns as undisputed kings of the cuts on two turntables.

Ryan Proctor

World Famous Beat Junkies group routine at the Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – KRS-One

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 23 July 2012

When it comes to the old-school tradition of an emcee rocking a crowd with nothing more than a microphone and two turntables, Bronx-born Hip-Hop legend KRS-One could very easily lay claim to being the best to ever do it. No matter how many times you might see the Blastmaster live, his vast classic catalogue, stage presence and sheer magnetic energy ensure that you never feel as though you’re seeing the same show twice.

With London’s Jazz Cafe now becoming almost a second home to the BDP frontman whenever he visits the UK, the intimate venue provides the perfect space to witness an artist such as KRS who thrives on crowd response and participation throughout his live performances.

Teasing the crowd from upstairs with his instantly recognizable booming voice counting down his own arrival to the stage, KRS bounded down the venue’s stairs amidst loud cheers and waving hands, reciting his verses from the early-90s banger “Black Cop” over a dusty old-school reggae dub track. Next came the classic 80s anthem “South Bronx” that effectively launched the NY emcee’s career, whilst the DJ Premier-produced “Outta Here” found KRS tweaking his lyrics slightly to provide a seamless bridge into a karoake version of Biggie’s “Warning”, followed by 2Pac’s “Hail Mary” and shoutouts to Hip-Hop’s various fallen soldiers, including a brief mention of BDP’s own Ms. Melodie who recently passed away.

Interspersing his set with some quality freestyle interludes, KRS continued to create the atmosphere of an improvised performance by inviting any b-boys / b-girls in attendance to showcase their moves onstage during a high-powered rendition of the speaker-pounding “Step Into A World”. A non-stop barrage of classics then followed, from the stick-up kid story-telling of “My 9mm Goes Bang” to the claim of lyrical supremacy “I’m Still #1” and the brilliant anti-crime theme song “Jack Of Spades”.

With copies of his weighty philosophical book “The Gospel Of Hip-Hop” being sold throughout the night, KRS took various opportunities during his performance to speak on the power of metaphysics, give his opinion on the state of global economics and also offered thoughts on the corruption to be found in the corridors of political power.

Whether you agree or disagree with the world according to KRS, nobody could ever say the man doesn’t give you some food for thought during a gig rather than merely running through a set-list of golden-era favourites, taking his money and then moving on to the next venue.

Although many might feel Hip-Hop has lost the power it once had during the late-80s / early-90s to educate as well as entertain, KRS-One is clearly still as passionate about the music being a tool for upliftment in the present day as he was back when he stood alongside the likes of Public Enemy and Ice-T as a voice of protest in a troubled society.

Ending the night with a lengthy freestyle and a flurry of autograph signing, the Blastmaster headed back to his dressing room hopefully confident that his belief in Hip-Hop as a culture capable of bringing about positive change is also still shared by many here in the UK.

Ryan Proctor

KRS-One performing “Black Cop”, “South Bronx” and “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know” at the Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap London Premiere

Venue: Hammersmith Apollo, London  Date: 19 July 2012

Having already received a plethora of positive reviews in the US, Ice-T’s directorial debut “Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap” finally made its way across the pond on a sun-splashed July evening for a heavily-anticipated and ultimately successful European premiere event that brought out fans, UK Hip-Hop legends and media types alike, all keen to experience the veteran emcee-turned-actor’s new documentary for themselves.

For anyone with even a passing interest in Hip-Hop, Ice-T needs little introduction. An early-80s West Coast pioneer and an architect of the gangsta rap style that would influence everyone from N.W.A. to 50 Cent, Ice’s music career has been a thirty-year journey filled with success, controversy and a handful of classic albums. Now considered to be an elder statesman of the culture, the former LA street-hustler could very easily have decided to distance himself from the music in recent years and immersed himself in the showbiz world of acting. Yet instead, Ice’s behind-the-camera debut is what the O.G. himself describes as being “a love letter to Hip-Hop”, and his genuine passion and respect for the music and culture that grew from NYC’s South Bronx in the 1970s is evident throughout every moment of “The Art Of Rap”.

Although “The Art Of Rap” isn’t a film about Ice-T, it’s ultimately the Los Angeles lyricist’s love of Hip-Hop that makes the documentary such a triumph. With the fifty-or-so individuals in the film all being interviewed by Ice himself, his familiarity with the subject matter coupled with his legendary status means that many of his fellow artists open up on camera in a way they may not have done if being questioned by a ‘regular’ film-maker.

Comfortable in the knowledge that they’re talking to someone who already understands their artistry, the likes of Immortal Technique, Q-Tip and Big Daddy Kane are able to speak about their craft without feeling the need to overly explain things for the uninitiated, which results in those included revealing some interesting facts and anecdotes along the way as Ice seeks to discover the creative processes used by some of Hip-Hop’s greatest emcees, as well as their influences and thoughts on their peers.

Some of the film’s most memorable moments include a lengthy straight-to-camera shot of old-school pioneer Grandmaster Caz ripping through some relentless lyrics of fury, a typically animated KRS-One recalling being dissed in an early battle due to the state of his worn-out clothes, and Ice himself revealing how he deals with forgetting his rhymes onstage during a humorous exchange with fellow Left Coast vet WC of Low Profile fame.

Elsewhere, the five minutes or so that Detroit motormouth Eminem spends talking with Ice is arguably the best onscreen interview you’re likely to ever see with Mr. Mathers. In the presence of a rap icon and self-confessed influence, Slim Shady’s superstar status falls aways on-camera to reveal a brief view of the kid from Motown who fell in love with Hip-Hop long before the multi-platinum albums, MTV awards and tabloid attention. During the pair’s engaging conversation, Em discusses his initial confidence issues as an emcee, being blown away when he heard Naughty By Nature’s Treach on the 1991 album cut “Yoke The Joker” and also recites Ice-T’s own 1984 classic “Reckless” word-for-word, much to the Iceberg’s amusement.

It’s Ice-T’s same pure, straight-forward approach to his other interview subjects in the film that allows him to succeed in his mission to really get behind the science of rap from the differing perspectives of artists from all levels of the game, from Grandmaster Melle Mel and MC Lyte to Lord Finesse and Kanye West.

“The Art Of Rap” isn’t a film that delves deeply into the socio-political impact of Hip-Hop and neither does it study the constant struggle between the music’s underground scene and the mainstream world that makes millions from the culture. Nor is “The Art Of Rap” a film that attempts to explain the origins of the culture to the masses or seeks to apologise for any aspects of the music some may find offensive. As the film’s title suggests, Ice already views rap as a legitimate artform and expects it to be treated as such, and that same sense of pride is echoed by all of those featured in the documentary as they’re given the welcome opportunity to openly discuss what drives their creativity when they’re putting pen to paper to construct their rhymes, nothing more, nothing less.

Following the screening, host Big Ted introduced Melle Mel, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and Ice-T himself to the stage for a brief Q&A session. Although most of the questions came from individuals happy to be given the opportunity to communicate with some undisputed Hip-Hop legends, there were some moments of criticism which ensured Ice-T had to think on his feet.

In response to being asked why Jay-Z wasn’t in the film, Ice admitted that most of the people featured were artists he’d had personal dealings with over the years, before making the poignant observation that even if you didn’t see your favourite rapper onscreen, you “still saw your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper.”

Ice also fielded a question from a female audience member who felt the film’s inclusion of Salt (of Salt-N-Pepa) and MC Lyte didn’t give an accurate view of the number of women making Hip-Hop music today. Ice admitted there weren’t a vast number of women in the film, saying that he had also reached out to Queen Latifah to appear but she was otherwise engaged. Yet regardless, Ice concluded by saying that given the ratio of male emcees to female emcees in the rap world, he still felt the ladies were given fair representation.

Continuing the event with each of the legends in attendance running through a selection of their own classics, Melle Mel took to the stage to drop a stirring performance of “The Message”, followed by Chuck D who reminisced on performing at Hammersmith as part of 1987’s Def Jam Tour before he launched into “Fight The Power” and “I Shall Not Be Moved” from the new PE album.

Raekwon was next up to the microphone, joined by surprise guest Ghostface Killah to blaze through Wu bangers such as “Ice Cream” and “Criminology”, before Ice himself returned with DJ Evil E to deliver cult classics such as the ultimate crime rhyme “6 ‘N The Mornin'” and 90s favourite “New Jack Hustler”.

Then just when most in attendance would have agreed the evening couldn’t get any better, Ice-T proved that he’d really pulled out all the stops for his UK audience by calling British Hip-Hop legends and former Rhyme Syndicate recruits Hijack to the stage for a reunion performance of sorts. Minus DJ Supreme, the remaining members of the infamous London crew were led through a handful of tracks by the mighty Kamanchi Sly, including the timeless “The Badman Is Robbin'” accompanied by DJ Harry Love on the turntables.

A memorable night for many reasons, the performances witnessed by the enthusiastic crowd merely supported rather than overshadowed the film itself. Two years in the making and a real labour of love, “Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap” is a welcome addition to the growing catalogue of documentaries that have successfully captured the talent, vibrancy and creative brilliance that Hip-Hop has had to offer throughout its history.

During the post-screening Q&A session, Ice-T hinted light-heartedly at the possibility of a sequel due to the sheer amount of interview footage that had been recorded during the making of the film.

I, for one, would not be mad if there was some truth to that statement.

Ryan Proctor

Ice-T performing “O.G. Original Gangster”, “New Jack Hustler” and “Colors” at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Live Review – Evidence

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 2 July 2012

Attempting to carve out a sucessful solo career after years of being part of a well-respected and highly-revered group can be a huge challenge for any artist, but after watching West Coast producer-on-the-mic Evidence effortlessly rock the stage of Camden Town’s Jazz Cafe, it’s safe to say the Dilated Peoples member has successfully completed the transition.

With no support, no hype-man and no nonsense, Evidence promptly appeared at 9pm, accompanied only by his tour deejay Mishaps, a microphone and some bottles of water. Immediately attacking the stage with the fervour of an artist with something to prove, it was clear that Evidence doesn’t take it for granted that die-hard Dilated fans are automatically die-hard Ev fans, with the Los Angeles lyricist clearly prepared to treat his live performances as an opportunity to potentially win-over anyone unsure of whether he can stand on his own outside of the relative crew comfort of being joined onstage by Rakaa and DJ Babu.

Choosing to let the quality of his music speak for itself, Evidence avoided any lengthy introductions, instead jumping straight into crowd favourites from last year’s “Cats & Dogs” album, encouraging the audience to “bounce, bounce” during the bass-heavy “It Wasn’t Me” and taking a moment to appreciate the enthusiastic reponse to the smoothed-out boom-bap of “The Red Carpet”.

Dipping in and out of both his 2007 solo debut “The Weatherman” and his 2011 sophomore album, Evidence also made a quick musical detour to his 2008 EP “The Layover”, performing the reflective rhymes of the melodic “Rain Or Shine” with both a clarity and passion that ran throughout the entire show.

The hard-hitting “Mr. Slow Flow” was pre-empted by DJ Mishaps briefly cutting up the Jay-Z line sampled for the track, whilst the one-two punch of “Falling Down” and the Alchemist-produced “Chase The Clouds Away” proved to be a further highlight, with Evidence dropping a short freestyle inbetween.

Prior to performing the DJ Premier-produced “You”, Evidence briefly explained how, as an upcoming artist, he’d often daydreamed of being in the position of one day being able to rock over a beat from either Preemo or Dr. Dre. As a nod of respect to the legendary sonic architect and to the surprise of the crowd, Evidence switched-up his performance of the track, with Mishaps dropping the instrumental to Gang Starr’s “Full Clip” as the soundtrack to the Cali wordsmith’s second verse followed by Royce Da 5’9’s instantly recognisable “Boom”.

It’s a testament to both Evidence’s talent and consistency that he can fill a ninety-minute show with only solo material and still keep a crowd entertained with banger after banger. Only after encouraging the audience to sing along with the hook to the brilliant anthem “Late For The Sky” did a sweating Evidence go anywhere near the Dilated Peoples catalogue, closing the show with the neck-snapping “Back Again” before stepping off the front of the stage into the throngs of fans hoping to grab a brief moment with their cult hero.

It might have been raining cats and dogs outside on this particularly dull July evening, but inside the Jazz Cafe, rap’s own self-proclaimed Weatherman ensured the temperature remained hot and the outlook for quality Hip-Hop bright.

Ryan Proctor

Evidence performing “You” at The Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – EPMD

Photo By Karen “InchHigh” Dabner McIntyre

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 7 June 2012

After the Hit Squad reunion show in NYC earlier this year, I for one was hoping that particular line-up of EPMD, K-Solo, Redman and Das EFX might have seen fit to bless their European fans with their combined golden-era glory. Unfortunately, however, that was not to be, with only the Green-Eyed Bandit and the Mic Doc reaching UK shores recently for their second visit in just over a year, this time choosing to perform two shows at the brilliant Jazz Cafe venue.

After DJ Scratch had tested the turntables and amused the crowd with his reserved “jazz voice”, Erick and Parrish rushed the stage to the 90s jeep beats of the pounding “I’m Mad”, both decked out in all black with E sporting his standard head sweatband and PMD rocking the trademark fisherman hat.

Barely giving the crowd time to breathe, the duo dropped their timeless true-school anthems “Strictly Business”, the Zapp-sampling “You Gots To Chill” and their debut 1987 single, performing both “It’s My Thing” and the flipside “You’re A Customer”, with that particular track’s crisp production sounding particularly fat over the Jazz Cafe’s crystal clear sound-system.

Pausing only to give each other a pound and revel in the crowd’s enthusiastic reponse, the pair’s wide smiles and playful behaviour indicated that, even after a quarter of a century on wax and a dramatic early-90s break-up, the childhood friends still possess an undeniable bond that obviously goes deeper than simply hitting the road every once in awhile to dust off the EPMD back catalogue and pay some bills.

The constant good-natured banter between the duo also extended to their interaction with the crowd, with E-Double persistently reminding the audience “I’m Erick Sermon and that’s Parrish Smith” for the benefit of any “youngsters who might have snuck in.”

Leaving the stage for a short time to allow DJ Scratch to impressively showcase some of his well-known turntable tricks, the Long Island lyricists soon returned and continued working through banger after banger. The twosome play-acted their way through the 1988 skeezer tale “Jane”, gave a forceful performance of “So What Cha Sayin'” and preceded the bass-heavy “Gold Digger” with a sermon from Sermon about the 1990 single being the inspiration for Kanye West’s hit of the same name.

Taking a moment to address their solo careers, Erick stated that the pair don’t usually perform their own individual material at EPMD shows, but as fans had apparently made requests as they entered the venue he encouraged PMD to drop his head-knocking 1996 single “Rugged-N-Raw”, following which Smith joked, “Yo, E, can you perform “Hostile” now?”, referring to the track that introduced Keith Murray to the masses on Erick Sermon’s 1993 solo debut “No Pressure” (the Funk Lord did in fact perform a track of his own, the Marvin Gaye-sampling crowd favourite “Music”, later in the show).

Although the legendary partnership stuck to the usual script of encouraging the crowd to “continue supporting real Hip-Hop” and repeating how much they loved performing in the UK, the intimate atmosphere of the relatively small Jazz Cafe did lend the performance a spontaneous, improvised feel.

Following the night’s finale, a short two-man version of the Hit Squad posse cut “Head Banger”, the pair should have left the stage to the sound of DJ Scratch cutting up the 1970 Roy Head breakbeat “She’s About A Mover”. But as Erick made his way up the venue’s stairs to the comfort of the dressing room, PMD just couldn’t tear himself away, staying to drop verses from “The Symphony 2000” and “Get The Bozack” as Scratch went back-and-forth on the turntables.

Personally, I would have also liked to have seen Erick and Parrish performing their “Juice” soundtrack banger “It’s Going Down” and the 1992 b-side sureshot “Brothers From Brentwood L.I.”. But when virtually every track on the night’s set list was a certified Hip-Hop classic, EPMD, once again, didn’t really leave people much to complain about.

Strictly underground funk, keep the crossover.

Ryan Proctor

EPMD performing “Jane” at The Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – Masta Ace / Wordsworth / Stricklin / Marco Polo

Photo by Karen “Inch High” Dabner McIntyre

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 28 May 2012

Former Juice Crew member and golden-era icon Masta Ace has spent the best part of the last twenty-five years building a well-deserved reputation as one of the most intelligent and well-rounded emcees in the game. From battle rhymes to story-telling to social commentary, the Brooklyn lyricist has proven himself in all areas, dropping numerous solo albums and collaborative projects which have all spawned their fair share of classics.

Unlike some of his peers, in more recent years Ace has managed to remain faithful to his old-school roots whilst still appealing to a new generation of fans. Both 2001’s “Disposable Arts” and 2004’s “A Long Hot Summer” satisfied original supporters as well as gaining the attention of younger listeners, which would explain the varied ages of those in attendance at this one-off London gig, from youthful Hip-Hoppers who barely looked out of their teens to ageing b-boys who no doubt clung to every word of Ace’s debut album “Take A Look Around” when it dropped in 1990.

Ten years after the release of “Disposable…” the Arts Decade Tour has found Ace making his way across Europe, celebrating the album with the help of Canadian producer-slash-deejay Marco Polo and eMC crew members Wordsworth and Milwaukee’s Stricklin.

It was New York’s Wordsworth who took to the stage of the sold-out Jazz Cafe first, acting as warm-up for the night’s headliner. Making his name in the late-90s at the infamous NY Lyricist Lounge events, the veteran artist displayed his total command of the stage as he ran through a selection of tracks from both his 2005 solo project “Mirror Music” and the forthcoming “Photo Album” release. The energetic microphone controller also threw in a couple of impressive freestyles for good measure, which left the responsive crowd both entertained and in high spirits.

Arriving onstage to the sound of the “Disposable…” skit “Commercial” and decked-out in black sportswear, Masta Ace launched into a polished set which spanned all eras of his lengthy career so far. Joined by former Tommy Boy artist Stricklin (who acted as hype-man as well as showcasing some of his own material), Ace concentrated heavily on tracks from “Disposable…” throughout the performance, including the upbeat “Don’t Understand” and the High & Mighty diss “Acknowledge”. The bass-heavy “Take A Walk” had the audience of all ages rhyming along almost word-for-word with Ace’s detailed observations of inner-city life in the Rotten Apple.

Obviously aware that older heads would want to see Ace reaching back into his true-school catalogue, the BK legend paid homage to classics from the likes of Biz Markie and Whodini before launching into his verse from the timeless Marley Marl-produced Juice Crew posse cut “The Symphony” as well as performing his verse from the original 1994 Crooklyn Dodger’s track “Crooklyn” over the instrumental to the DJ Premier-produced 1995 sequel “Return Of The Crooklyn Dodgers”. Another highlight was Ace dropping his hypnotic mid-90s banger “Top Ten List”, which still remains one of his finest moments to date in this reviewer’s humble opinion.

Taking a short break to discuss the inspiration behind his new MF Doom-produced album, Ace explained how his late mother’s record collection played a large part in his musical education as a youngster and subsequently influenced his choice of beats as an artist, before moving into the project’s horn-filled autobiographical title track “Son Of Yvonne”.

Wordsworth also once again made his way onstage, joining Masta Ace and Stricklin to perform crowd favourites from eMC’s 2008 group album “The Show”, including the sublime piano-laced “Once More” and breezy car anthem “Traffic”.

Rounding the night out with classics such as the Original Concept-sampling “Born To Roll” and relentlessly funky “Letter To The Better”, Ace left a hugely satisfied crowd hoping that this wouldn’t be the last time we’d see this extremely talented emcee rocking on a UK stage.

Ryan Proctor

Masta Ace pays homage to some Hip-Hop classics and drops his verse from 1988’s Juice Crew classic “The Symphony”.

Live Review – DJ Jazzy Jeff & Skillz

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 9 May 2012

It’s a true sign of the times when a deejay can simply walk into a packed club, plug his laptop in, check his headphones and then five minutes later be launching into his set. Gone are the days of power-lifting bags of records around and worrying about damaging treasured white label singles and having to work with worn-out needles. Some would say recent advances in technology have diluted the abilities of many new deejays, but with a veteran like the magnificent Jazzy Jeff you get the best of both worlds; an old-school deejay who came up rocking house-parties with vinyl on makeshift equipment who uses new technology to enhance his talents rather than hide any shortcomings.

Joined onstage by VA’s (formerly Mad) Skillz, who acted as a lively and entertaining host for the evening, Will Smith’s former recording partner took the sold-out crowd on a two-hour musical journey that encompassed everything from golden-era Hip-Hop and classic breaks to vintage soul, funk and disco.

With Skillz prowling the stage and working the crowd like a true professional (at one point performing his own 90s classic “The Nod Factor”), Jazzy Jeff remained silent behind his laptop set-up, speaking only with his hands and flashing a wide grin every time he played a track that drew a particularly enthusiastic response from the crowd.

Pacing his set to near perfection, the Illadelph deejay dropped in snatches of familiar samples before segueing into the Hip-Hop cut the audience knew each original track from. So R. Kelly’s “Your Body’s Callin'” made way for Biggie’s “Unbelievable”, whilst Bobby Caldwell’s quiet storm favourite “Open Your Eyes” was effortlessly blended into Common’s Dilla-produced “The Light”.

The Beastie Boys’ 80s classics “Paul Revere” and “Hold It Now, Hit It” drew particularly large cheers given the recent passing of group member MCA, whilst a West Coast medley featuring 2Pac’s “California Love”, Snoop’s “Gin And Juice” and Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.” had Skillz encouraging everyone to throw up their Westside hand-signs.

Familiar crowd-pleasers such as Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says”, Gang Starr’s “Full Clip” and Biggie’s “Hypnotize” were all given an airing, whilst some early Jackson 5 had Skillz doing the two-step and a short snippet of the “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” theme raised laughter from the crowd.

Keen to show that, party-rocking aside, he’s still no slouch on the turntables, Jazzy Jeff went back-to-back with Bob James’ “Take Me To The Mardi Gras” break-beat and sliced the intro of LL Cool J’s brilliant “Rock The Bells” to pieces, using the transformer scratch that became his trademark back in the 80s to whip the audience into a frenzy.

With timeless tracks from the likes of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Slum Village and the Incredible Bongo Band all finding their way into the mix, not even Uncle Phil would have wanted to throw the hard-working Jazzy Jeff out of his house following a set as impressive as this.

Ryan Proctor

Footage of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Skillz at The Jazz Cafe.

Live Review – Onyx

Photo By Johann Forbes

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 29 March 2012

When Queens, NY foursome Onyx re-invented themselves following their 1990 Profile Records single debut “Ah, And We Do It Like This”, smashing their way back onto the early-90s rap scene via Def Jam with bald-heads, guns and an aggressive rhyme style, opinions were divided. Some heads gravitated towards the crew’s violent verses and hard tracks, whilst others felt the group’s Mad Face Invasion wasn’t quite the rap fix they were looking for at a time when East Coast Hip-Hop was largely dominated by jazzy loops and intricate lyricism.

Yet almost twenty years on, a packed Jazz Cafe was proof that in 2012 the now two-man pairing of Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz can still bring out enough fans who want to get grimy.

Arriving onstage wearing the standard 90s East Coast Hip-Hop uniform of hoodies, jeans and boots, Fredro led the crowd in a back-and-forth chant to the intro of the group’s 1993 debut album “Bacdafucup”, with Sticky growling into his microphone as he paced left to right like an agitated caged animal. Minutes later the opening shouts of the rowdy classic “Throw Ya Gunz” caused immediate pandemonium, with the pair quickly following up that opening salvo with the equally hostile “Shiftee”.

As the duo splashed bottles of water over the crowd, Sticky decided to commit to the performance early, performing a full-blown stage dive that landed him halfway into the audience. Much to the apparent dismay of the two burly security guards accompanying the pair, no sooner had Sticky been pulled back to the safety of the stage he launched himself back into the crowd for a second time.

Although Fredro appeared to be main voice of the night, with his partner chiming in here and there during interaction between songs with the audience, it was definitely Sticky who was the more unpredictable of the two in terms of his actual antics on stage. At one point the raspy rapper clambered onto a speaker box in order to climb up to the balcony railings of the venue’s first floor, hanging over the crowd like a Hip-Hop Spider-Man with no apparent concern for his safety as he barked his rhymes during the 1995 sure-shot “All We Got Iz Us”.

Although most people in attendance were there to enjoy the 90s memories, Fredro and Sticky did a good job of fitting a number of recent tracks into the show without causing any noticeable disruption to the atmosphere of nostalgia. So whilst fans enjoyed OG bangers such as the brilliant “Last Dayz” and 1998’s “Shut ‘Em Down”, newer tracks such as “Black Hoodie Rap” still captured that raw Onyx energy and were welcomed by the energetic audience.

With the pair shouting out fallen legends such as Biggie and Big L, their mentor Jam Master Jay, plus deceased crew member Big DS, Fredro and Sticky were eager to show they were out to rep strictly for their era of Hip-Hop. No more so than when Fredro reeled off a list of golden-era greats such as Jeru The Damaja, Das EFX and Wu-Tang before running through the self-explanatory “I’m So 90s”.

Ending the show with the mosh-pit favourite “Slam” the twosome swiftly trooped off stage, with the amped-up crowd  staying put and wondering if there would be a return. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, yet given the fire behind Fredro and Sticky’s performance, I doubt anyone left feeling like they hadn’t got their money’s worth.

Ryan Proctor

Onyx performing “Slam” at The Jazz Cafe

Live Review – Action Bronson

Venue: Barfly Camden, London Date: 25 March 2012

NY emcee Action Bronson’s rise through the rap underground has been as steady and organic as it has been well-deserved and, in hindsight, perhaps expected. Although the rapper arrived amidst Ghostface comparisons, it quickly became clear that Bronson was very much his own man, an individual who appeared to be a fully-formed artist in his own right bursting with personality. His 2011 project “Dr. Lecter” (produced by Manhattan’s Tommy Mas) has quickly become a cult classic and is largely the album responsible for ensuring this particular stop on Action’s European tour sold out almost immediately.

Making his way to the stage from the rear of the small venue like a champion wrestler, the electricity in the air generated from the amped crowd proved that the rapper may be small in stature, but he’s definitely big in terms of presence. With the audience literally approaching levels of hysteria, Bronson lumbered onstage to join Tommy Mas, arms aloft, smiling from ear to ear like someone who is fully aware that their time has arrived.

Proving himself to be a true man of  the people, instead of ignoring or rejecting the drunken audience member who’d found his way onstage prior to his arrival, the Outdoorsmen member simply allowed the boisterous fan to hug him and exchange pounds, laughing as he led the crowd in chants of “Bronson! Bronson!”, before playfully asking “Who the f**k are you?!”

Seconds later the Queens representative launched into the brilliant “Shiraz”, shouting “I’m comin’ in…” before making his way into the crowd and being immediately drowned in a sea of hands, all high-fiving, back-patting and head-rubbing. With Bronson at the back of the venue by the track’s end, the announcer’s voice on the intro of the neck-snapping “Barry Horowitz” led to a further explosion of enthusiasm from the audience, with Bronson virtually being mobbed by fans as he rapped his way back towards the stage, taking pictures, hugging girls and wiping sweat from his face, but remaining on-beat and clear with his delivery at all times.

With members of the audience defying venue regulations and lighting up that sticky-icky, Bronson was offered a fair share of herbal treats to partake in. “Is that tobacco in there?” he asked repeatedly, before finding someone who was offering something a little purer that suited his tastes. Having already admitted to being both tired and stoned, the further smoke inhalation did nothing to hinder the rapper’s ability to perform, as he continued to hit every word in every line of his verses. Both the anthemic “Brunch” and Statik Selektah-produced “Respect The Mustache” were delivered with gusto.

Reaching the end of his set but aware the crowd were still hungry for more, Bronson consulted Mas’s onstage laptop before deciding to drop “Hookers At The Point” from his latest “Blue Chips” project, ad-libbing the track’s hilarious pimp talk before stating it was time to “get the f**k out, go to the hotel and sleep.”

With the rowdy, unpredictable crowd, tightly-packed venue and high energy levels, the 45-minute set was reminiscent of some of the memorable shows of the 90s in places such as London’s Subterranea. Action Bronson delivered on all fronts, both in terms of his performance and his willingness to interact with fans, giving everyone a handful of real rap memories to take home with them.

I, for one, left the gig with scuffed Timberlands, a burnt arm from someone falling into me with a lit joint, and a beer-stained t-shirt, but I wasn’t even mad.

Bronson! Bronson! Bronson!

Ryan Proctor

BringBackRapTV footage of Action Bronson at Barfly Camden.

Live Review – Souls Of Mischief

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 11 March 2012

Introduced to the rap world in the early-90s as proteges of Ice Cube’s cousin Del The Funky Homosapien, Oakland’s Souls Of Mischief have built themselves an impressive reputation over the years as being staunch purveyors of quality underground Hip-Hop packed with impressive verbal gymnastics. Transcending the traditional boundaries of subterranean rap, the West Coast crew have managed to maintain an audience that includes OG golden-age heads, alternative music fans and skateboard-pushing teenagers. So it wasn’t a surprise to walk into London’s Jazz Cafe for this particular gig and see an eclectic crowd waiting patiently for the Hiero crew representatives.

Following DJ Lex’s efforts to put the crowd in a Cali state of mind with a medley of West Coast classics from 2Pac and Dr. Dre, Opio, Tajai and Phesto Dee (no A-Plus) arrived onstage decked out in sunglasses and a variety of Hiero t-shirts and hoodies. The trio barely paused for breath before launching into an opening salvo of bangers, including fan favourite “You’ll Never Know” from 1998’s Hieroglyphics album “Third Eye Vision”, dropping their rapid-fire verses over the track’s soulful production to audience cheers.

Aside from Opio politely asking the soundman to adjust the monitor levels and  Tajai asking for the spotlight to be dimmed, the show was free from any interruptions, allowing the threesome to slickly run through a selection of cuts covering all periods of the crew’s career. Yet whilst it was clear Souls were performing a very polished and familiar set, the crowd definitely didn’t witness a group on auto-pilot simply going through the motions on the European tour circuit for the sake of a quick buck.

With those in attendance swept up in the energy and intensity of the performance, at times it felt like the three Souls were actually a new group determined to leave their mark rather than twenty-year veterans who already have an incredible musical legacy and dedicated fanbase.

Throughout the show, the group switched effortlessly from performing as a cohesive unit to then allowing each member to take centre-stage individually, with Opio acting as frontman, Phesto performing “Full Speed” from his new solo album and Tajai dropping a blistering acapella rhyme.

After bringing things up-to-date with “Tour Stories” and the punchy “Proper Aim” from the group’s last album, 2009’s “Montezuma’s Revenge”, the crew then cleverly caught the crowd off-guard with an unexpected twist. Given that many would probably have expected SOM’s timeless classic “93 ‘Til Infinity” to be the night’s grand finale, it came as a welcome surprise, when, following a brief intermission from Opio commenting on Hiero’s longevity, the track’s melodic opening sample from Billy Cobham’s jazzy “Heather” filled the venue accompanied by thunderous roars of approval and a sea of raised hands.

The group continued to plunder their back-catalogue with a handful of cuts such as the brilliant “That’s When Ya Lost” and bass-heavy “Never No More” (prompting Opio to say that, just as it was when the group debuted in 1993, no matter how many wack artists are embraced by the mainstream, the underground will always be around to deliver quality Hip-Hop).

Although having member A-Plus along for the ride would have only added to the performance, that was an afterthought rather than something playing on your mind during the show. One-quarter of Souls might have been missing, but as a fan it didn’t feel like you were necessarily missing out, as Opio, Tajai and Phesto dropped their rhymes with a masterful clarity and precision honed by years spent rocking venues worldwide.

Ending the show by giving heartfelt thanks to all who’ve supported the Hieroglyphics movement over the last two decades, the group jumped offstage ready to man the merchandise stand for eager fans keen to take home a momento of the night.

93 ’til infinity indeed…

Ryan Proctor

Souls Of Mischief performing “That’s When Ya Lost” at The Jazz Cafe.