Slum Village, Non Stop Rebels, Noon, All Day, Boi Dru Fox Hollow May 29, 2013
"Baby will you call me... the moment... you get there. Don't forget about me baby!"
Judging from the crowd response at Fox Hollow last night, fans have not forgotten about the Detroit rap crew Slum Village in any way. The show carried an intimate vibe appropriate for their toned down sound and smooth lyrics. The opening DJs kept a steady stream of J-Dilla beats in rotation to set the mood, and the club provided a cool environment to complement the cool kids in attendance.
In the same vein as soul-funk/hip-hop groups such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and The Pharcyde, Slum relies on thoughtful, gimmick-free lyrics over impeccably fluid beats. There is no room for #hashtag rap here; this is real hip-hop.
The MC for the night was the excitable BBC Craig, who dubbed this the "Motor City Meets Space City" show. DJs Good Grief and Soul One kept the vinyl spinning as the openers readied their sets.
First up to bat was rapper Boi Dru of the group SOULUTIONN, whom I noted as offering "good, smooth hip-hop" with a healthy amount of confidence. A quick search on YouTube led me to the Conscious Era Productions page, which carries several videos that showcase the group's forward thinking attitude and mentality.
The year old duo consisting of spicy-tongued lady MC Tawn P and forever cool Preemo followed. Their combined force is called All Day, and with a mixture of an energetic stage presence, a just-right mix of chill and tough rhymes, and natural chemistry, this group may prove to be one of the best collaborations to come out of H-Town in a very long time. A young, talented drummer named Darius added to the high-energy set, which ended with and inspired track called "Futuristic B-Boy." I can't wait to see this duo in action again soon.
The outspoken yet humble rapper named Noon hit the stage next with his range of old-school vibes and new-school swag. Born in The Heights and raised on the southeast side, Noon represents a familiar story of growing up with Screw Tapes as the soundtrack of life. Representing H-Town to the fullest, he performed "Welcome to Noonston" with the aid of SPC legend K-Rino.
"You're welcome to come, you're welcome to stay" he rapped in front of his "fam-base." Keep right on hustling, sir. We're listening.
We spoke to rapper Harkore after his enlightened performance of hip-hop reggae-rap. A native of El Salvador, he says that as luck would have it, when he first arrived in Houston, the first music he found was reggae. He's been hooked ever since.
"I though reggae was rap and hip-hop!" he recalled, laughing. Along with his partner Infamus, they represent the NSR crew (Non Stop Rebels). My favorite line of the night: "You're talking to a guy that's sick and tired of losin'! Even if I die, I'll be alive through my music!" Mayne, hold up! That's real right there.
"If you love hip-hop, put your L's in the air" commanded T3 as Slum Village took the floor. The group performed "Tainted" from 2002's Trinity album early in the set, to the applause of the audience who quickly rapped and sung along. The veteran crew showed their experience as they kept the diminishing crowd involved and moving.
A new album called Evolution is set to be released on June 25th, the first with the current line-up of T3, Illa J, and Young RJ. The current group makes sure to honor the memory of original group members J-Dilla and Baatin, both of whom passed away in 2006 and 2009, respectively.
The night ended with the strings and piano intro from the Aretha Franklin number quoted above, which serves as the basis for Slum's greatest hit, "Selfish." The Kanye West-produced track includes perhaps the best opening line ever, an ode "to my thick chicks down in Texas." Indeed, there were plenty of beautiful ladies in the crowd that proved the validity of that statement.
After their set, the band shook hands and took photos with their fans, proving real hip-hop still exists in the world. And that's not selfish or tainted at all.
Personal Bias: Real Hip-Hop shows by Lunaface are the best.
The Crowd: Hip-hop heads who knew all the words.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I only know that one song they did with Kanye..."
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Random Notebook Dump: K-Rino is the nicest and coolest rapper ever.