Monday, December 03, 2007

Madlib - Nov. 16 at the Independent, SF

I went and saw Madlib at the Independent a couple weeks ago. I love Madlib, and I'm a huge fan of his work and the work of his label, Stone's Throw. I was excited to finally get to see him do his thing, since I had gone to see him last year in Seattle and he had pulled out due to a family emergency.

The show started at 9, and like the old man i am, i got there at 9:05. Baron Zen was spinning some Stone's Throw classics, and that went on, and on, and on. Every once in a while label head peanut butter wolf would come on stage and drink some beer. Finally, at around 10:30 (ie when i SHOULD have gotten there) the Arabian Prince came on and spun some old school tracks. At about 11pm, J-Rocc took over and started playing beats for MED. MED seemed really unsure of himself, and he even stopped J-Rocc midtrack because he couldn't remember the words. If there is one thing I've learned in my years of public speaking, it's that you NEVER let on how nervous or unprepared you are. Just do it - we won't know the difference.

He was joined by Guilty Simpson, who was the highlight of the evening. Guilty is a Detroit MC who is the one hardcore/gutter rapper on the Stone's Throw roster. He is also an incredible MC, and I can't wait for his album to come out in early 08. Percee P came out after Guilty, and kept things going.

I don't know if it was the sound or my mood or the vibe or what, but I was NOT feeling the concert. I've had this issue with live hip hop shows in the past - sometimes it just seems like dudes talking over records. The whole thing was kind of chaotic, disorganized, and lacking. The MCs would be like "yo, put on that one track" then they'd rap for a minute, then demand that we put our hands in the air and scream, adn rap over another track.
By this time it was midnight, and there was still no sign of Madlib. I was tired, cold, and getting claustrophobic in the sold-out club, so I jetted before even seeing him. i was really bummed about the whole experience until i talked to my friend who saw them at a later show in Seattle. She had stayed for madlib, and said he came on at 12:30, and was really meh. See, madlib is an amazing producer and musician, but a very average rapper. In fact, the only thing that makes his rapping work is the fact that most of the time it is sped up as Lord Quasimoto. On this tour, Madlib is just doing his rap thing, wearing chains and bling and shades and looking like an aspiring Jay-z. Underwhelming to say the least. Is it sad that I like the feist show more than the madlib show, and that I'm looking forward to andrew bird? i don't want to give up on live hip hop, but man, I'm not so sure it's my thing.

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