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

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pepsi smashed it

In the midst of exploding pipes and stifling humidity your boy Swifty went to the Pepsi DJ Division regional last night at SOB's. Honestly my main motivation was to support my contact at Pepsi who supported us during the Festival. And do some networking, blah, blah.

Well in the midst of a being a good business associate a legendary performance broke out. In hindsight I should have seen it coming. See it was a DJ battle hosted by Enuff to determine who gets to join the elite Pepsi DJ Division. Enuff, Clinton Sparks, etc...those types.

Big up to Jack The Ripper who won with one of the best reggae sets I've heard in a minute.

After a better than expected battle the first surprise was our boy Joell Ortiz. He reminds me of a sucker dude I know from UVa but that is beside the point. After forcing a few songs he settled into 'Brooklyn Bullshit' which was cool. Then he did a few ineffective covers and finished strong with ‘Hip Hop.’
Like I said before it's a shame he played hardball with us. There are several cats I would have cut to make room for him. I like how he edited his commentary on white sunglasses with Kanye in the house.

Kweli was next. A nice short set which included maybe 3 new songs. Nothing to fall out about but quality. The usual black Star hits with Mos, etc. He would shine later.

After Kweli was the C to the O double M-O-N. But before I go into that let me back track. The judges for the DJ contest were Swizz, Just Blaze and Kanye. Enuff was the host and Q Tip was the DJ. I knew none of this going in, but once I found out I should have expected some fireworks.

So Common walks out to 'The Game' and tears it down. Very quietly Kanye and Consequence joins him as hype men. Com did another song then something happened to the DJ set. The freestyles began. First Kanye the Common. The energy started to heat up.

When the set got back up they threw on 'Get Em High' and Kanye called Kweli back. Kweli brought Mos. So you looked up and shoulder to shoulder were the only viable players in the game still trying to spit some quality sh&t.

I thought I was gonna get Respiration and be done but noooooo. They proceeded to start a round robin of hits. ‘Respiration’ led to ‘Get By’ which brought a super grin to Kanye’s face. Then Common did ‘Testify’ then passed it to Kanye who did ‘Heard ‘Em Say’ Mos got some and did one of the few bangers from ‘The New Danger’. Then Kanye took it back and tore it down with ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing.’
I was not really into that song when I first heard it but after my cousin beating me in the head about it and now feeling that energy last night I have flip flopped. That shit bangs.

After that the highlight of the night occurred. While all these whippersnappers were rocking Q-Tip made his way down from the booth and snuck on stage.
Kanye passed the mic to Tip and launched into ‘Award Tour.’ The whole place including the gold and platinum rappers on stage erupted. Classic.

Around this time Swizzy, Saigon and Drag-On (you read it right) walked up. It was quite a sight.
Swizz may have gotten the best reaction of the night when he rocked ‘Money In The Bank’

Anyway, the night ended with Drag-On and Saigon and Hak from Channel Live.

The best part was how happy everyone looked. From Tip down to Drag-On. They knew Hip-Hop was in the house and loved it. Backpack fave Kweli next to short tail hitmaker Swizzy. Loved it. It was real. There is hope. The choice between dissonant, un-authentic indie rap and shallow snap rap is not the only one we have. Those dudes on stage represented it. You can make GOOD music and make money. No need to always be the starving artist. And the “conscious rappers” are real dudes. Not these fake preachers or wannabe hipsters. They are imperfect. They drink and curse just like the rest of us, but they do draw the line. They have kids so they want to educate. And they can rock the party.

And to see Q-Tip standing up there like a proud father was really the best part.
Hip-Hop is alive and it’s still good.

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Anonymous james said...

omg omg omg

i can not believe your luck wes. the odds of you even going out to a show being what they are these days, and you happen to stumble upon the most incredible show of the year (besides a certain recent festival, of course)

it must be that your hip hop fandom has reached the third and most omnipresent level: in other words, your intense karmic hip hop history has caught up with you, and you were rewarded last night.

right place at the right time

you lucky bastard!!

July 19, 2007 4:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have been there, with our donation box. Huffs and sighs.


July 19, 2007 7:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best quote on this show at a post on Miss Info's website from a Hot 97 employee no less: “this was my summerjam.” Great!

-- Ian

July 20, 2007 4:17 PM


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