observations, reviews and ramblings about Hip-Hop culture, sports, politics and the industry and life in general.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Rhino has been saved!

So I just returned from ‘The Save The Rhino’ gig at Central Park. Had to finish some work issues so I got there a little late. Missed Doom who I must admit is the main cat I wanted to see. As I was walking up I heard De La rocking ‘Saturdays’ and ‘Oodles of O’s.’ By the time I got my ticket (good looking Neil on the VIP and the plus one I didn’t know about) Dres was on stage with Pos and was launching into ‘The Choice Is Yours.’

I was able to catch the super villain when he came out to rock ‘Rock Co. Kane Flow’ with the Plugs. I hadn’t seen Mr. Dumille in a while and I see he has certainly been living the good life and/or eating that MM Food. I know he was hot as hell in that mask, Ewing throwback and Knicks warm-up jacket. Sheeeeeesh.
I had on, as Eb likes to say my pink Killa Cam polo, and my ass was sweating like a pig.

As my man DJ Jab said, I wish someone would hold a seminar and tell these rappers how to properly hold a mic. I could barely hear Doom when he was rocking.

I hope someone who reads the SCR caught Doom’s show and can put me on.

Did I mention it was hot as the underside of a pair of yak balls? But oy! The humidity. Sufficed to say the dread had a bad hair day.

I did catch pretty much all of The Roots show. I must say they have really taken the hip-hop band gameplan and really run with it. (the author would like to note that a recent convo with Prince Paul reminded the author that Stetsasonic was the 1st ‘Hip-Hop’ band. And the author is not sure why that factoid is mentioned so infrequently.)

The Roots felt like more of a jam band to me tonight. They did a couple of their hits, but most of the show was the band flexing their musicianship. Vernon Reid was out there tonight and he was doing his thing. (peep his amazing interview on WNYC with Toure). They did some ‘Aqua Lung’, some Led Zep, some Luke, 50, Nore, Amerie. You know how they do when they do the hip-hop covers.

But they really didn’t do enough Roots jams for my taste. I can appreciate the other stuff, but when I come to a Roots show I kind of want to hear some Roots jams. Some ‘Adrenaline’, ‘Proceed’, ‘100% Dundee’, etc.

My hypothesis is that they are probably tired of playing their own jams (and tired of criticisms like this). I think they perform something like 200 or more gigs a year. That is A LOT. I can imagine ‘Lazy Afternoon’ or ‘Web’ could start to sound like hell incarnate after the 1st 100 shows. The jamming up there probably keeps them fresh creatively. Maybe that is the reason why they have stayed together for so long while so many other groups have disbanded.

(who remembers the keyboard player on ‘Do You Want More?!?’ – Mr Lean Back aka Scott Storch. That’s pre Kamal ‘On The Keys’ aka Fake Dougie Crack.)

This is not the first time they did this to me. A while back they played Roseland, not sure what tour, and there was a little too much jamming for the kid. But let me tell you those kids in Central Park certainly loved it. So maybe this is just my issue. Hey sue me, I still like a DJ. I respect the band for sure, but if I had my pick I would take the Big Bank Maseo or Primo any day.

There is a great promo running on XM’s The Rhyme 65 I think by Marley Marl talking about how sampling is Hip-Hop. Rhyming over someone else’s beats is part of the music’s history. And ever since the Biz caught the case over sampling there has been a stigma associated with sampling that I simply reject. The Roots definitely took the culture to a new chamber, but somewhere along the way that new chamber became ‘better’ than the old. Now I do not think the Roots themselves did this consciously. I think it is a combo of fans, booking agents, press, and unfortunately a mass of cultural interlopers.

A few years back I had a convo with my man Djinji Brown who is not only a great producer, but a master engineer. He explained this concept from a technical point of view. Similar to Marley, his point was that the digital nature of Hip-Hop is key to the sound. The sampler, and in particular the SP-1200, as an instrument is critical to the sound. The drum machine which was initially designed to replace the drum actually cannot be replaced by the drum. They are 2 distinct sounds. They can complement each other of course, but the drum machine is the father in a backwards sort of way.

So all of this to say that I love the band, but there ain’t nothing wrong with the DJ and as they say 2 turntables and a microphone. They being the Unspoken Heard. Not Beck.

Excuse the rambling. Its 2:30am and I am waiting for Miles Boogie to wake up for his feeding.

Is this kid the Knicks drafted in the 1st round worth it?


Blogger Joey said...

I got you in a minute with a concert review. I think I saw the back of your head at one point, but it was crowded and I was far away. I was pretty pissed off about the show.

June 29, 2005 12:47 PM

Blogger Hashim said...

even though they play live, they intepret sampled beats on their albums. So it is smapling. Kind of.

June 29, 2005 5:26 PM


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