Mobb Deep, Nosaprise Fitzgerald's April 9, 2014
A hip-hop show on a Wednesday night is as good as a rap show on any other night, except maybe better. Everyone who claims to be a hip-hop fan but is really just a whats-new-on-the-radio rap fan stays home to watch Basketball Wives or whatever nonsense is on cable these days. There is no twerking at a real hip-hop show, no shouts of "truuu" or hashtag rhyme structures. Just the real. Hip-Hop.
Wednesday, I arrived at Fitz already disappointed because I knew I'm too late to catch Walter Mallone's set, the new-ish project by my homies the Zamora brothers and an MC named Raymond Auzenne. But here's a quick listen to one of their tracks:
I did arrive in time to catch Nosaprise walking through the crowd with an armful of bottled water on his way to the stage. Nosa is one of those dudes who is eternally cool without even trying. Supremely talented and genuine to the bone, he took the stage as the opening DJ finished up a mix of everything from Biz Markie and Lil Troy to Snoop Dogg.
With his 1994 "Clutch City" Houston Rockets tee, Nosa hit the mike hard with tracks from his Book of the Dead project, a mix of clips from the Evil Dead movies and "all the dead rappers who inspired me," as he says. His rap voice is nasal and distinct, which begins at a jog and sometimes ramps up to a sprint. "He kinda sounds like Big L," said a fan watching the show next to me. I nodded in agreement.
I jotted down a few notes from the wide spectrum of lyrics that Nosa spit, like the question "who's gonna raise your soul," a tribute to his dead homie The Ultimate Warrior, and rhymes about "Westbury getting scary in 96." Some people might get lost in all of this jumping around, but others (like me) enjoy hearing a musician expose all of his thoughts and secrets. Nosa plays the guitar and the organ with his Screwtape crew before his set finishes, providing yet another excellent adventure of music.
I spotted the Waxaholics at the back of the room and went over to say "what's up." DJ Big Reeks was surprised that the show wasn't sold-out. "There should be more people here; dudes love Mobb Deep," he said. DJ Good Grief told me about seeing Mobb Deep here at Fitz back in 1994, a show that also included Das-EFX and Onyx. I can only image how awesome that show could have been.
Review continues on the next page.
Prodigy and Havoc took center stage with all the confidence and swagger (not swag, that's kid shit) they have cultivated from Queensbrige, NYC, from which they originate. It was an April almost 20 years ago when they released the original The Infamous album, which although overshadowed by Illmatic and Ready to Die, it still stands as one of the most influential projects of the era.
So it was only right for them to begin the night with "Survival of The Fittest". To survive over all those years, with struggle and drama and jail time in the mix, and still have the ability to perform at the highest caliber. If only the strong survive, then they must be super human.
This year they released new music under the same "The Infamous" name. The new album sounds fresh and classic at the same time, featuring collabs with Bun B, Snoop Dogg, Nas, and The Lox thrown in for added spice.
They asked for the house lights to be turned off and for the fans to put their lighters and cell phones up. It makes the show feel like a basement house party, and then the Mobb Deep classics finally drop. First they hit us with "Quiet Storm," a track with the rolling bass line that entices the crowd to follow along word for word. That pushed immediately into "Shook One's, Pt. II," which proclaims them as "the infamous, official Queensbridge murderas."
Cuz ain't no such thing as halfway crooks. Just the real.
Personal Bias: I'm a fan of the real shit, shit to make 'em feel shit.
The Crowd: Hip-Hop heads, no rap fans (mostly).
Overheard In the Crowd: "Damn son, whatchu know about this?!" --some dude impressed with his friend's knowledge of DJ Baby Roo's old-school hip-hop mix.
Random Notebook Dump: I enjoyed this show way more that the last time I saw Mobb Deep at HOB. Probably because this was way more intimate.
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