Delorean, The Outfit, TX, Dewayne Jackson Warehouse Live October 1, 2013
"Cut that, I'm done," a visibly exhausted DeLorean said Tuesday night under the warm lights of Warehouse Live's studio room. He had sweated through his white T-shirt, and his eyes had scanned the room and began delivering individual shoutouts through gasped breaths, his closest friends who'd grown up with him asking for at least another song. "We gon' party after this."
He seemed more concerned with his afterparty at the bustling Tuesday night spot Nox than delivering one note of an encore. Yet, here he was, swinging around with a microphone in hand delivering lines from Hood Politics 3's "P's & Q's." This was DeLorean's night for certain -- everything swelled up to be about him, from dual openers Dewayne Jackson and The Outfit, TX to H-Kane's mannerisms controlling the crowd between sets and DJ Mr. Rogers' crafty mixing.
When DeLorean raps, it rumbles out like a Chevy block engine: careful at first but braying and defiant the next. "Ghetto Boy" from Hood Politics 1 felt like a fitting, proper close, but by the time we got there DeLorean's motor had been chugging along through a 40-minute set that touched four separate projects, all with their own rather distinct identities.
"Back Up In My City," with its candor and drop-top fun rang loud but it got toppled like a building by anything from his recent release Grace, especially its lead single "Breathe." Knees buckled, voices cracked and DeLorean led his own version of church, even if at times during the sermon he playfully got to let someone else do the work for him.
Bun B sauntered about, but didn't join him for "Love Me Now." Slim Thug, however, leapt from the crowd to perform "Beautiful Morning." Jack Freeman crooned, Mookie Jones stood on top of a speaker with his long hair gangly and free during "Say Grace," and Killa Kyleon rocked on through "This Is It." All acceptable moments for DeLorean to feel appreciative of the event and the people who surrounded him.
"Me being on this stage shows I'm still working at my craft," he said with a wry smile on his face.
The Outfit, TX, however carried a far more menacing moment with their set, a small smattering of tracks from their lauded Starships & Rockets: Cooly Fooly Space Age Funk mixtape and some loosies. No moment was more stirring than towards the end where Mel Kyle, Dorian and Jay Hawk returned to the stage shirtless, clad in only camo hunter's masks and jeans while a fourth man in an astronaut helmet looked on.
There, Dorian launched into his best Kanye-post anti-commercialism impersonation to a rather bleak track presumed to be known as "Hourglass." Sparse and minimal, it's a clear detraction from anything on SR:CFSAF from the vibrant "Private Dancer" to the rowdy "Rock N Roll."
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At least the youthful nods of opener Dewayne Jackson seemed to liven things up. Never in my life have I ever seen a rapper's debut performance pack so much energy into every single word. At times it seemed like he could move forever, giving every single syllable that left his throat a move or sort. Every stretch of the word "bitch" during "Higher Learning" got a kick, other phrases a knee-lift or a jig. Give it a few years and the 18-year-old Jackson will continue on in larger venues, still carrying a bit of Chance the Rapper's jerky thought pattern and zeal but ultimately moreso as his own man.
Much like DeLorean, who, despite trying to pull off the unprecedented feat of rapping himself damn near to death at Warehouse -- for the second time --managed to come away satisfied. He may contain the same hunger that literally carried him over West Coast rapper Nipsey Hussle at a House of Blues show a few years back, but it's buried a bit now by success.
Plus, people will damn near yell over you just to get a lyric out.
Personal Bias: Delo captures the everyman rapper vibe as well as anyone in the city. Doesn't hurt his hard work has led to some big names being on his speed dial.
The Crowd: Hood Politic, Grace'd out faithful.
Overheard In The Crowd: "I need an acapella Delo!"
Random Notebook Dump: Delorean has a heavy set of opening tracks from his tapes. I still rank Hood Politics 2 as his signature piece of work and "Aaaaaaaggggghhhhhh" as by and large the most aggressive thing he's ever done.
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