K-Rino, Point Blank & Friends
September 10, 2015
If it hadn’t been made clear to us yet after three solid decades of hustling and grinding, sometime around 2 a.m. on Thursday it became simply impossible to deny: the South Park Coalition will never stop. The doors to the Warehouse Live Studio room had been open since 8 p.m., and the folks who’d showed up to see Frankie J in the Ballroom next door had already long since headed home. But packed into the venue’s sweaty, concrete bowels, the sound of streetwise hip-hop was still blasting away on a weeknight.
Or morning. Whatever. The faithful crowd that stuck around into the small hours had shown up to see K-Rino, the SPC founder and champion, and Point Blank, another of the storied rap clique’s most esteemed fellows. But they’d gotten far more than that. As with any SPC affair, the concert was almost absurdly loose, feeling far closer to a neighborhood barbecue than a Professional Music Business production. From the jump, Go DJ Fire had been spinning sledgehammer beats as the audience slowly filed past the metal detectors and toward the bar. Folks took their time. Many had the look of veterans who already knew they were in for a long night.
Beginning at 10 p.m., SPC member and master of ceremonies for the evening Mr. CAP appeared and began introducing opening acts. One after another they appeared, favoring the tough crowd with a song or three apiece. For a solid two hours they came; so many that I eventually stopped counting. Some of the rappers were tentative and inexperienced on stage, while others devoured every minute of time they were given. Some of the best included Slim Black, Sarge, and Mendo, each of whom commanded the gently swelling audience with neck-snapping rhymes and top-notch production tracks.
As the clock ticked past midnight, though, fans were beginning to wear down and get antsy for the SPC Originals. The 44 Boiz were halfway into an energetic set when they were given the unhappy news that they’d be cut short. They handled it about as well as could be expected, but I’m sure they couldn’t have been too thrilled when the next 25 minutes or so were spent helping old-school DJ and MC Wickett Crickett up onstage.
The Kidz Jamm OG seemed a far cry from his familiar, wisecracking self on Thursday, and was clearly suffering from some pretty severe health problems. According to a GoFundMe page set up in his name, he’s got colon cancer. After Crickett was carried onstage and gently placed in a chair, Mr. CAP and other SPC types implored the crowd to take up a donation to help pay his medical bills.
“We don’t need Obamacare, we just need all of you,” said Justice All Ah, turning his trademark righteousness toward the task of raising money for a friend.
When the donation box had been passed and passed again, Point Blank the Bull came out at last. His appearance was relatively brief; Blank broke off a couple new tracks from this year’s No Money No Reason, including the fun singalong “Purging.” Then he delivered the woozy classics “My Mind Went Blank” and “High With the Blanksta,” both made famous by DJ Screw. Through the growing crowd of people onstage, you could see a big smile under Crickett’s ballcap brim when those hit.
After the essentials, Point Blank explained that the show was running long and that we was ceding the rest of the night to K-Rino, who was still celebrating his birthday with the release of a new album, Making Enemies.
“Thanks to my lawyer Mr. Williams! Southside in this bitch,” Blank exclaimed, and then he was gone.
If anyone was terribly disappointed at missing out on more of the Blanksta, they hid it very well. It was time, at last, for the Wizard, and I’m pretty sure I saw a couple dudes tuck their shirts in.
If you’ve never caught a K-Rino performance before, just know that the legends are true. His flow is simply unbreakable, slithering effortlessly out of his brain and nestling perfectly in the pocket at all times. Does he ever make a mistake up there? It’s possible, but I’ve never seen it.
Clad in a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” T-shirt and monogrammed shades, the South Park legend was flanked by longtime associates Big Sniper and Rapper K as well as pretty much the whole damn SPC, including Ganxsta NIP, Klondike Kat, Egypt E and dozens more. There were a couple of unforgettable moments, like when he ended last year’s “Last Pair of Drawz” by actually producting a pair of boxer shorts and ripping them up onstage, or when he broke off an unparalleled a cappella freestyle that declared his own flow “more terrifying than a flying roach.”
The most incredible thing he did, though, was call for a moment of silence for all of the loved ones lost by the crowd over the years. I honestly didn’t think even K-Rino could make it happen — this was a large, loud room full of drunk people in Houston, Texas, at 1:30 a.m. The Wizard and the crowd shamed my faithlessness: You could’ve heard a pin drop.
Clear-eyed and on-point from start to finish, K-Rino capped off his set with a couple of fairly recent, uplifting jams: “Perfect World,” detailing his vision of heaven, and “Holla at Me,” his solemn pledge to always be there for the ones who need him. Then, just for kicks, he pulled Yungstar out of the crowd onstage and had him lead the audience through his verse from “Wanna Be a Baller.” If you’ve ever cared at all about Houston rap, it was a sublime moment.
Even after K-Rino’s rap set was clearly over, nobody seemed to move an inch. DJ Fire kept things spinning, and people just hung out. Nobody looked at his watch. There was no point. After all, this was an SPC party, and an SPC party just don’t stop. Maybe that’s reason enough to celebrate
As usual, K-Rino put it best: “Until God puts a period on your sentence, you’re still writing, homeboy.” And thank God for that.
Personal Bias: Never been to King’s Flea Market.
The Crowd: A diverse array of dedicated K-Rino fans.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Is that hemp?”
Random Notebook Dump: Get well soon, Wickett Crickett.
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