Kool G Rap @ 2Funky Music Cafe, Leicester, England. June 28, 2017

Show Review

Kool G Rap
2Funky Music Cafe
23A New Park Street
Leicester
England
June 28th 2017

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.

2017: ‘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.

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 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!
(Michael Grant of RePPiN4U)

Photo images courtesy of @Kip1979_kipp

30 years on, Eric B. & Rakim get “Paid In Full” again

Eric B. & Rakim
30th Anniversary Of The Paid In Full Album
Apollo Theater
Harlem
New York
July 7 2017

Not so much an Eric B. & Rakim concert, but a tribute celebration of the duo’s debut album release “Paid In Full” took place at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York yesterday. July 7th, was the 30th anniversary of the initial event.

With Eric B. as DJ, numerous artists attended on stage, or performed on the night including: EPMD, Fat Joe, B-Fats, Lovebug Starski, Joeski Love, Sweet Tee, Roxanne Shante, Ice-T, Flava Flav, T La Rock, Peter Gunz, Main Source, Maino, Mr. Cheeks, Special Ed & Ma$e. Also present at the Apollo were: DJ Kool Herc, Michael Bivins of New Edition/Bell Biv DeVoe, Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box, Bumpy Knuckles & DJ Chuck Chillout amongst many others.

Rakim limited his appearances on stage to only 2. He did 5 tracks from the album: “My Melody”, “I Ain’t No Joke” I Know You Got Soul”, “Eric B. Is President” & of course “Paid In Full”.

Whether or not a recording re-union will take place between Eric B. & Rakim is unsure, but for now check out some footage of the show below:

Live in the UK, Kasim for Change! Kasim Allah announces tour fundraising campaign

Fund

Live in the UK, Kasim for Change!
R & E Entertainment & Sandy’s House Entertainment presents:
Kasim Allah
ROTGE:
Return Of The God Emcee UK Tour
Scheduled dates: April 2016

With his impending UK tour “ROTGE: Return Of The God Emcee” scheduled for next Spring, rapper & Street poet Kasim Allah along with Clay Borne aka 13Five (of Right & Exact Entertainment) have opted for a popular move, using a fundraising donation site to finance the tour.

The duo have opted for the popular “Go Fund Me” fund raising website to oversee proceedings. Depending upon the amount donated by individuals, a set thank you package will be issued, ranging from a thank you video (for a $5 donation) to a multi-item gift pack & opportunity to appear on the next project in some capacity (for a $500 or more donation).

By donating & also attending the events at the UK venues (if you are in that region of the world at the time) you are making a positive, important contribution to “Help Kasim Save the Music!”
(Rashad Unique)

Fundraiser mission statement:
For the first time ever, R & E Entertainment & Sandy’s House Entertainment invites you to join us for the “Return of the God Emcee Uk Tour”; an energetic, boombap rooted performance showcase spearheaded by Kasim Allah; New York emcee and longtime affiliate of Brand Nubian. The purpose of this tour is to initiate a much needed shift in hip hop by advocating a message of creativity & independence, eliminate cultural barriers; all while restoring artistry & ethics to an urban based genre of music that has lost its way. In short, we want to bring quality performance arts to quality alluring people; and Kasim Allah in the UK is just that.

We need your help to bring this vision of hip hop restoration into fruition. If you think a balance in the music played on the radio is needed, we need you. If you believe that music can change lives, we need you. Most importantly, if you want to see a father, community leader, and activist for cultural awareness take a message of peace overseas, we need you.
(Mission statement reproduced with kind permission of the author Demetrius Clayborne)

COo7KQsUsAAP2hw

Untitled

To donate to “Live in the UK, Kasim for Change!” visit gofundme.com here

Kasim Allah set to bring his “Living Mathematics” to the UK next Spring!

COo7KQsUsAAP2hw

R & E Entertainment & Sandy’s House Entertainment presents:
Kasim Allah
ROTGE:
Return Of The God Emcee UK Tour
Scheduled dates: April 2016

Kasim Allah, a rapper & street poet that I have personally had the pleasure of artist profiling, interviewing & working on 2 music projects with, “Unique Heat: Global Warming” & “Unique Heat 2: True & Living”, is preparing to bring his brand of vocal “Living Mathematics” to the United Kingdom in April of 2016.

Various venues across the United Kingdom will play host to Kasim as headline artist. Support will be provided by acts from both sides of the Atlantic, with the list still being added to.

This is truly the “Return Of The God Emcee” to the UK as he has previously appeared at The Drum Arts Center in Birmingham, West Midlands. The tour itself has been arranged by Clay Borne aka 13Five of Right & Exact Entertainment, a former recording artist himself now acting in a management capacity.

This scheduled set of appearances will allow Kasim Allah to spread his music to a wider audience, as well as aid in promoting his latest album “Living Mathematics” which has just been reissued & remastered.

More details, along with full confirmation of venues & support acts will be announced when available.
(Rashad Unique)

CQi-c1lUwAAMMm3.jpg large

Kasim Allah artist profile @ Unique Heat here
Kasim Allah interview @ Unique Heat here
Listen to Kasim Allah @ Reverbnation here
Follow Kasim Allah @ Twitter here
Like the Kasim Allah fan page @ Facebook here

For booking contact: rightexactent@gmail.com

GA40 Birthday Bash & Release Party

GA40 UPDATE FLYER COLLAGE FINAL 2

GA40 Birthday Bash & Release Party
Voltage Lounge
421 N. 7th St. (Next door to The Electric Factory)
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Saturday May 16th 2015

Philadelphia Hip-Hop Legend Grand Agent brings out CAMP LO and DJ JAY SKI to celebrate his 40th Birthday and the release of a new album, AC HIP-HOP. Special guests performers are THE WURXS and LAST EMPEROR.

Philadelphia, PA. – On May 16th, 2015 – INTERWORLD and STONE PERSPECTIVE MEDIA will host The GA40 BIRTHDAY BASH & Release Party at Voltage Lounge, 421 N. 7th St. (Next door to The Electric Factory). Doors will open at 9pm with an open bar until 10, and $5 Drink Specials all night, courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum . Rock Star Energy Drink will also be in the building with free giveaways. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

The Show:

CAMP LO of “Luchini” fame will headline, performing that classic plus others and previewing music from their new album, Ragtimes Hightimes due out this summer on Nature Sounds. Don’t miss the 2009 collab “Minivan” alongside the man of the hour, Grand Agent.

GRAND AGENT will also debut music from his forthcoming free album AC Hip-Hop, a political tour de force cloaked in a slyly disarming soundscape.

Up and coming in a major way, Legendary Roots Crew underlings, THE WURXS are putting West Philly on the map all over again. The production, pen game, and work ethic of the duo, cousins Gee and Trons, has them on the fast track. They have a sound which Co-manager Spon Vicious describes as Slum Village meets Camp Lo. So for several reasons, it’s only right they be on the bill as well.

To experience the established sound of the LAST EMPEROR is a rare treat. He’s promised to do his ode-to-Hip-Hop saga “Secret Wars” in it’s entirety a capella.

If that isn’t enough, BOOM 107.9’s DJ JAY SKI and his partner DJ TACTICS, collectively known as PureElementz will be house DJs for the evening. Partygoers can expect to be treated to the best of Throwback and Contemporary Hip-Hop before and after the actual concert. And, everybody goes home with a GA40 Exclusive Mixtape put together by the duo.

In addition to being a star studded event, the upcoming web and TV series ONE LAST SHOT will be capturing footage for upcoming episodes.

There will be streaming audio of the event live at this link here

Raekwon & Ghostface Killah announce “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…” 20th anniversary tour

raekwon-ob4cl-tour

Raekwon & Ghostface Killah
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… 20th Anniversary Tour
Scheduled dates: July 7th to August 18th 2015

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of his “Only Built For Cuban Linx…” album, Raekwon will be embarking in a nationwide US tour. Naturally his album collaborator Ghostface Killah will be joining him on the road as well as Brooklyn rapper Dillon Cooper, the tour’s special guest performer.

The show in Chattanooga, Tennessee will mark the official anniversary release date on August 1st.

Check out all the tour dates below:

raekwon-ob4cl-tour-dates

Tickets can be ordered via Ticketmaster here

Pharoahe Monch @ Oobleck, The Custard Factory, Birmingham, England. Thursday March 12th 2015

Show Review

2

Pharoahe Monch
Oobleck, The Custard Factory
Birmingham
England
Thursday March 12th 2015

The Problem

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

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

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

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

The Answer

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

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

pharoahe-monch-kingstun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#GiveBirminghamAChance

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

pharoahe-praises

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

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

Salute the man call Troy Jamerson… he knows he is welcomed back anytime.
(Michael Grant of RePPiN 4U)

1

Photograph courtesy of Dee Jay Kingstun