Saturday, May 30, 2009
THE CHAMP? NOT SO MUCH
An astonishing tale of wackness, starring Ghostface Killah and two irate fans: Part 1, Part 2. N.B.: I love Ghostface's records, but I saw him live in '07 and while it wasn't as bad as the debacle described in those two blog posts, it was kinda just okay in typical hip-hop show fashion: doing only the first verse of a son; lines being drowned out by the nineteen other guys on the stage, each with his own mic; incoherent between-song rambling...you get the idea. To this day the only hip-hop performers I've ever seen give genuinely strong onstage performances were Public Enemy in '88 and '90, Ice-T in '91 and '92, and DJ Krush in 2005. PE and Ice-T delivered tight, disciplined sets with no rambling, no extraneous personnel onstage, and a genuine effort to engage the audience not with bluster, but with real commanding presence and charisma. They didn't half-ass it. Krush didn't half-ass it, either, but his set was very different, obviously - an almost entirely instrumental performance (plus vocal cameos by Mr. Lif and Aesop Rock) that mixed expert turntablism with live piano, saxophone and shakuhachi. Brilliant, hypnotic stuff.