Thursday, November 09, 2006

dunce-cappin and kazooin

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Pusha T tells ghost stories by the campfire.

So CMJ came and went and I drank a lot of free beer, but not nearly as much as some people. I went to a few shows but, again, not nearly as many as some people. But I did make it to see Clipse, along with Trae, Kidz in the Hall and Jokaman.

Clipse came through the Knitting Factory in March last year. At that point, they were still riding the We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2 hype, but given that they were basically giving it away to remind the world they still existed, it's not like Pusha and Mal were living the high life. And even though the critical elite were loving it and the blogosphere had seized on it, those are very intangible victories when you're killing time (and possibly still running crack) in Virginia Beach. So when they came on stage after a lengthy and innocuous set by Cl-Cl-Clinton Sparks (*GET FAMILIAR* *AIRPLANE SOUND*), they looked almost confused--"who are these people and why do they love us?" You could almost see the dudes get revitalized in front of your eyes. Ab-Liva and Sandman were even more floored, almost taken aback by the size of the buzz Re-Up had. Even though the set was short and, honestly, not that good, the show itself was still a great experience.

Eight months later, with two hot singles in steady rotation, with streetwear dudes rocking "fuck jive" shirts after the nth delay of Hell Hath No Fury, ("the most anticipated album of all-time ever"), it was a totally different story. Clipse had the swagger--a word their buzz has all but invented--once they hit the stage. This time they were ready. Even with the huge buzz behind the duo, this show had a target audience (with the CMJ timing and Trae being one of the blog-darlings of the year) which mirrored the cult fans who came out last time. Pusha and Mal still didn't put on the most interactive show, but the call-and-response Re-Up Gang chants were hard to stop once they started. The love was tangible. Whereas the last show had borrowed heavily from Lord Willin, this time they looked only forward (save the obligatory "Grindin"). "Pussy" has become a classic and, I guess, a live staple, despite being a two-year-old lead single to an album that never dropped. Backed by a DAT and a dude with an MPC full of gunshots, especially with the rest of Re-Up on stage, Clipse managed to transfer the work-in-progress mixtape feel of Vol. 2 into a coherant stage show.

Trae was disappointing. Straight up. It was cool to see him live and in person, and he did his thing. But live he doesn't have the gravely whisper that makes him so compelling on record. And he rapped over his own tracks (not instrumentals), which was pretty amazing given one of the promoter's recent tirades against lip-synching. I'm still riding for the dude and for Restless, and I'd see him again if he came through, no question. But the whole set was disjointed and kind of confusing. I was expecting a little more.

I'm gonna review the Kidz in the Hall album later this week, so I'll speak on them. But suffice to say, they are the latest resurrection of Rawkus, and they are exactly what you would think they are. "2006 til Infinity?" Hell naw.

All my pix are here.

Some other notes from the show.
-some dudes rock towels on their shoulders/heads whatever, but Clipse were rocking pink, dingy-lookin dish-towels. huh?

-this dude's miller lite hat and wu all-over print hoodie were too much. we never had a chance!

-big shout out to the dude behind me that was the biggiest, I don't know, live rap fan ever? he was yelling "KICK A FREESTYLE" the entire night and lost his shit for every group that came out. he rapped all the Clipse shit perfectly and Pusha was staring at him like "who are you???"

-I only caught the end of Jokaman's set, but peep his boy's incredible jacket. I like to think he bought 26 jackets, cut them up and sewed them together to make a new one. (pic from Houston So Real)

-everyone put their cell phones up for Trae's "Bitch Quit Callin Me." that was pretty great.