Monday, April 27, 2009

Hip-hop: Tryin' to make it or just playing 'the role'?

Sorry, I've been MIA, I've been out and about. I know, I know that's no excuse to neglect my three fans :). So last week, my good friend had his first solo performance at Blue Cafe in Long Beach. Let me start by saying it was interesting to say the least. I was pretty disappointed in the turnout but it was a small club in Long Beach on a Tuesday, so its unlikely that unless you know a performer that you're gonna show up. Sucky I know.

So I took some pictures, I figured I can make this like a quick picture diary to outline my experience at the show.

1) Phebian - OK I'm sad I don't have a pic of this girl, but I didn't realize I had the camera until later. WHAT THE HELL was going on here? This woman was a hot mess. Not only did her voice make me want to take shots, but her outfit made me want to buy her some new clothes. Her shirt wasn't so bad, a sheer animal print shirt, but she was wearing cut off shorts. Why are you wearing cut off shorts? Her dress code was not reminiscent of her singing style which is supposedly Rock/Electro/Neo-Soul, at least that's what she says. What it was, was a off-key crow singing on top of her song and not matchin' up the timing, walking around the stage like she wanted to be America's Next Top Model. I think she has the potential to maybe be good, but she needs direction and FAST, not to mention her lyrics were kind of like the poems that little girls write when they have young crushes at the age of 10. So many mixed messages with this performance, not to mention that there was no-one there for her, except one dude; who I suppose is either her boyfriend or someone who wants to get in her short shorts. Clean up your act the words of MTV...NEXT!

2) EazyBukks - Unfortunately his Myspace has been cancelled so I can't show you what he's all about, but I do have pics of this dude. Lyrics were that of a wannabe thug. The beats weren't that bad and eventually he had three guys on stage that was somewhat entertaining. I mean I wouldn't sign him but I wasn't running for the hills exactly. I mean I only needed to drink a cocktail to digest this, not shots.

3) Ego Tripp - First I think his name is stupid and while I can't really dogg his performance all that much, it wasn't something to write home about. To be perfectly honest, I don't really remember it all that much. I wasn't drinking so its not that, it just didn't stick out. I never heard myself saying damn he's good or the beats are tight. Everything was just mediocre. I mean did any of these people come here to put on a good show? DAMN!

Now for the main event!
Ok its the main event for me anyway. I came to support my long-time friend Proverb. I have heard him rap for years and can see his potential, but I can't lie when I say I don't know if it was a well-rounded performance. He didn't disappoint and he was by far the best of the night, but what does that say if everyone else isn't that good? Verb - if you're reading this: you're only as good as the company you keep and I know you know what I'm talking about. Its fine for a starter, but I expect to see bigger and better things from a man with your talent and potential.

4) Proverb - This was the most lively show by far. Almost everyone who was at the venue was there for this. A huge asset is having support, existing support tends to foster more support because other people find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in liking something new. The great thing about this performance is that he chose a variety of tracks to work from. While he started with a true hip-hop track, he mixed in a little comedy in there with 'sexy ladies, where your ugly girls at'. I think the crowd went through more than one emotion, showing that there was some depth in his performance. Being as unbiased as a can though, he needed a little something more. Proverb has a great presence, but you really have to put on a show to get people engaged. As many rap artists do, Verb brought a few of his 'homies' up on the stage to join him, however, they didn't add to the show. If ya'll are not gonna ad lib in the back and do nothing but sit there and bob to the music, you're not adding to my overall experience and that's just they way it is. Clearly, this wasn't the venue to pull out all the stops, but every performance should be a performance that counts!!!

5) Icky Green - Ok, so its hard to follow an act that gets the whole place rowdy and involved. Not to mention, this guy was from SD.

Sticky got on the stage with a drink in his hand very nonchalantly; after hearing the others I wasn't in positive mind. Then...Sticky begins...shit, he's pretty freakin' good. Its sad that he's from SD and doesn't really have any 'crew' with him, but he actually was a very good compliment to Proverb's show. Its too bad that everyone else made this place unbearable. I was surprised that I actually found myself enjoying this interesting dude named Sticky. He was also solo and went up on stage with a shirt and khakis like this was something he does when he gets out of bed in the morning, no pretense, just himself. He had his own unique way of performing. I would be interested to see him on stage with some acoustic instruments or something.

The final word...
One thing lacking in all the hip-hop performances was a hype man. Haven't ya'll learned from watching shows, watching a solo artist with nothing in the background in not a fun show. You need a DJ, hype man, band, dancers, whatever....I would say 1/2 the show is the performer and his/her skills and the other 1/2 is the performance...Put on a damn show, I want to smile, dance, laugh, bob my head!

Well I'll report from the next show I go to, but if all 'up and coming' artist shows are like this one, I understand why the music industry is not doing so great right about now. Yikes!

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