Monday, 12 May 2014

KRS One @ Concorde 2 - Brighton - 06/06/2013

Last Summer was hot. Real hot. Like, fry an egg on the top of your head, dip in and out of the sea every ten minutes, boxers-stuck-firmly-up-the-crack-of-your-ass-for-3-months-straight hot. We’re talking HOT here, people. We were long overdue for a Long Hot Summer (great album) and by jove did we get one.

During this blissful heat wave, long since forgotten, the people of Brighton were treated to a right royal Hip Hop knees up courtesy of The Blastmaster himself, KRS One (two, three, four and five).

The 6th June 2013 saw The Concorde 2 opening its doors to a sold out crowd eager to see Knowledge Reign Supreme Over Nearly Everyone (I put the emphasis on nearly as I have a firm suspicion that a number of the attendees at this particular shindig were not exactly the sharpest sandwiches in the picnic), but more specifically to see ME. Joining me in hosting duties on the microphone was none other than my partner in crime Mr Thomas Hines with Tyni AKA BIG SNAX and my main man Joey Criddack on the wheels of steel. I was especially happy when I saw Joey was DJing because A) I was already drunk and B) he played ‘Monkey Barz’ by Sean Price, which is a fucking fantastic rap song. I was particularly excited (and particularly drunk as Hines and I had nailed a good few cans on the beach before getting started on the rider) as I had never seen KRS live before, much less had a grandstand seat to see the show and be given a crate of free beer to boot. Decent. Support was handled most excellently by Brighton legends Remark and Deejay, performing as Sublime Wizardry, who warmed up the crowd nicely for the main event.

My memory of the evenings events isn’t exactly razor sharp as A) it was nearly a year ago (credit to my regular blog writing skills) and B) I was drunk before we even got on the stage (big surprise). Needless to say, however, the show was nothing short of magnificent. If you haven’t seen KRS live then take any opportunity that you get to do so; the guy is a consummate professional and, after many, many years of doing so, proves himself to be more than adept at rocking the party. With the exception of Big Daddy Kane and Pharoahe Monch I can quite comfortably say that it was the best performance of live rapping/stage show I have ever seen.

It started with a warm up DJ set from DJ Predator Prime, who took to the decks to spin a selection of classics, albeit hidden away and stuffed in the corner of the stage. Hines and I were pretty hammered by this point and so I drunkenly suggested to the young man that we assist in some general hyping duties, which he was happy for us to do. It definitely helped the vibe because, well, we’re both absolute legends and incredibly good at what we do. No modesty here. At the time I couldn’t help but notice some certain….. Facial similarities between Prime and KRS, specifically in the nasal region, which led me to drunkenly ask if there was any family association going on there. Funnily enough, it turned out that he was KRS’ son, and his sister (KRS’ daughter) was out front working the merch stall. Keeping it all in the family. Pretty fucking cool.

Best seats in the house
The main event followed swiftly afterward. Far from just knocking out all of the hits (which he did, of course, all the while expelling enough water to prevent a hosepipe ban this year – something I’m quite sure won’t be an issue anyway, but you know, I’m trying to be clever here) he also seemed to drop a genuine freestyle every other track, jumping around the stage like a man possessed. Considering he is now FORTY NINE YEARS OLD (50 this year), you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were watching a man in his early twenties, such was the potency of his energy and enthusiasm. Rather than just perch from the vantage point on the stage I thought it far more prudent to get down into the crowd and get the full experience, so about 5 minutes in I fought my way into the centre of the bustling throng, about 10 feet from the front of the stage. This was a brilliant idea, I thought, until KRS then actioned a brilliant idea of his own.

During a brief respite between songs he stopped to address the crowd, specifically regarding the outrageous amounts of autographs and such that he has to sign after gigs. Given that time available to do this after a show is somewhat limited due to having to usually get straight on a bus to bounce to the next town or city due for the next performance, he had come up with an ingenious way of keeping all of the autograph-hunting fans happy whilst also preserving the precious few minutes that he might have after a show to chill out before jetting off someplace else. He’d been to the pound shop and must have spent the best part of £100 on tennis balls and mini Frisbees, each of which he had signed individually before taking a break in the show to throw them into the crowd.

One of the offending frisbees
Brilliant idea, and a lot of fun, were it not for the fact that for some reason or another these tennis balls and Frisbees all seemed to be thrown within a foot or so of my face, resulting in many eager hands generally smashing me around the head in an effort to grab for these newly-valued trinkets. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I retreated back to the stage to avoid any further risks of lost teeth, broken noses or concussions.

And so the show continued, seeing him getting off of the stage and running directly into the centre of the crowd himself in order to connect with the fans (which was another first for me in Brighton - the other was at Action Bronson’s first show in Camden a couple of years back; he brushed past we on the way to the bar. It felt like someone had poured a pint on my arm), a spectacle that I was happy to view from the stage. I’d already sustained my fair share of injuries that night (although the worst of them all, the crippling hangover and come down, was to follow 12 or so hours later).

KRS in the crowd
At this point he got back on the stage, requesting the company of any break dancers and rappers that may have been present in the crowd, of which there were no doubt THOUSANDS. Unfortunately for them (boo hoo) they needed a wristband to get backstage, resulting in a grand total of one break dancer (big up Remark) and two rappers, namely myself and Hines. So, the triumphant return of KRS One to Brighton ended with Hines, myself and KRS rhyming four-for-four bar freestyles back to back over a selection of classic instrumentals. Not too shabby.

Who is that handsome chap rocking next to KRS? Huh?
When all was said and done, KRS turned around, gave me a pound (with what might have been the sweatiest hand of all time) and told me that I was a tight rapper, and to keep it moving. Full praise from one of the greatest to do it, a good laugh and a skin full of free booze to boot. Next level brilliant. 


All photographs (apart from the shit ones) courtesy of Mike Tudor @ Studio85 Photography - Google or Facebook that shit!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Big Daddy Kane @ The Concorde2 18/04/2013

Despite the fact that I was completely and utterly psyched to see Big Daddy Kane perform for the first time and to also have the pleasure of hosting the night and introducing the great man himself, I must admit that after the whole DJ Premier debacle the month before I was somewhat reticent as to how things would go. I mean, if a superstar DJ could display such astounding levels of diva-like behaviour, it was a safe assumption in my head that a superstar MC could (and probably would) go above and beyond the levels that were displayed at the previous show. But, to my relief, I could not have been more wrong. Kane was the fucking MAN.

Gods honest truth I can barely remember a thing from this night (the Red Stripe rider once again being the culprit) but I know for a fact that I had a gargantuan amount of fun. Pure, serotonin fuelled euphoria accentuated by vast chemical intake. One of my only concrete memories is texting a few people and updating various social networking profiles to tell anyone who cared that I was having the time of my life. Phoenix Da Ice Fire was the support act and was incredibly impressive, completely owning the stage and doing a brilliant job of warming up the crowd (I overhead Kane bigging him up massively backstage afterward and suggesting that they work together in the future) before Kane got on. I apparently did a good job of hosting (again, not that I remember anything) and dropped a slick accapella after asking the crowd if they wanted me to A) Talk shit or B) Rap whilst Kane’s DJ was setting up his Serato. The crowd were quite insistent toward the latter. But don’t take my word for it; if Cutty said it’s true then you best believe that was the case.

Far from being a repeat of the previous gig, which was the worst case scenario imaginable, Big Daddy Kane was not only the consummate professional but quite simply one of the nicest and most approachable performers I have ever met, and that really is saying something in a world chock full of grumpy, arrogant and obnoxious MCs moving into middle age (Wu Tang is for the Victor Meldrews) who seem to have left their people skills (along with the best part of their music making ability) behind, with any semblance of social nuance and hint of manners, in the mid nineties.

I had so much fun that I can barely remember anything, hence this sparse write up. Kane was an absolutely top bloke, going so far as to very kindly pose for the prerequisite fan boy photo for me and also sign my YO! MTV Raps trading card (proper fan boy tings). Taking full advantage of the situation, I also got him to sign a couple of fliers for me before I then asked him to sign a further 5 or so more for other people who weren’t even at the gig, which he duly did with gargantuan amounts of humbleness and good grace and a fuck off great smile on his face. Absolutely superb guy.

As I’m sure you can imagine, he tore through the set, consummate professional, incredible performer, knocking out all of his hits with the energy of a man half his age. My only tiiiiiny criticism (and it isn’t even a criticism) was that he didn’t do his famous ‘mic drop’ trick, but in the grander scheme of things this didn’t matter a jot because he was A) The coolest guy in the world and B) An absolutely stupendous performer. I was actually so smashed that I ran on stage halfway through his set and interrupted him to ask if he could say peace to my man Gilly, who was at the front of the crowd. He did, and I didn't get the shit kicked out of me, although one of his boys did ask me (very politely, I might add) to not do it again. I jumped on a tidal wave and surfed the night away. I remember little but that palpable feeling of excitement and satisfaction still remains to this day, a whole year after the fact.

So, in short, the complete opposite of the DJ Premier show. Top 3 rap shows I have ever seen, up there with KRS One (write up coming soon) and seeing Pharoahe Monch for the first time ever at Outlook Festival 2013 (who also had Mos Def jump up with him to perform ‘Oh No’ – I’ll try and tell that story, but I wasn’t exactly in my right mind at the time). Faith in legendary American Hip Hop performers restored. LONG LIVE THE KANE!!!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

DJ Premier @ Concorde 2 07/03/2013 - The Man, The Myth, The Diva

**Disclaimer : Maybe Premier was having a bad day. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But this is my story and I'm sticking to it, motherfucker**

Another throwback. I’ll catch up with myself eventually.

I’ve always been a Premo fan. Always. Anyone who values Hip Hop music on any level should be. He’s one half of Gangstarr for god’s sake. There are so many absolute classics under his belt for so many different artists (can anyone say THIS - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DJ_Premier_production_discography ? I mean, for fuck’s sake) that sometimes the discography itself defies belief. Although these days, in certain circles, I have heard Premier being berated or discussed in patronising tones for being the architect of the original sample-chopping, scratch-chorus ‘Boom Bap’ sound (mainly by trap happy twats in their early to mid twenties or insecure former piano-looping producers in their late twenties – ironic, seeing as in many cases he was the very person who inspired them to produce in the first place), you simply can not deny the guy’s status as one of the all time greats.

So, it was with great pleasure that I was informed that I was to be hosting Statik Selektah alongside DJ Premier at the Concorde 2 in Brighton on the 7th Day of the 3rd Month of our Two Thousandth and Thirteenth Year (anno domini). It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I approached this newly appointed duty; it had been some time since I’d hosted a gig at the Concorde and, more importantly, I was somewhat unconvinced by how successful two DJs would be performing at the Concorde 2, a venue renowned (much like the Prince Albert) for playing host to exciting live bands and energetic performers to be watched and enjoyed, as opposed to static DJs (no pun intended) playing music to dance to. When the DJ is a focal point 10 feet above the crowd at the end of a long room where everyone is facing in the same direction, dancing is pretty much off the menu. Everyone is standing there looking directly forwards waiting to see someone that, essentially, is going to stand there and do little but talk with their hands. But what the FUCK do I know?


You know how these stories start by now. I get there with Neil B, we proceed to rape the rider (Red Stripe – again – a quick way to put yourself into an early spiral of deceit) and start fucking around on stage on the decks and the mic respectively. I do remember remarking to a number of people, myself included, how drunk I was on this particular occasion; it was an early show, doors at 7.30pm, so by the time you hit 9pm you’re already battered and wondering how in the fuck you’re going to survive the next 90 minutes, let alone be verbose, engaging and entertaining for a crowd of 600+ punters whilst operating on a skin full of Jamaican chemicals (read into that as you will). Still, I’m a god damned professional, so it was on with the show.

And it’s lucky that I am god damned professional, because trying to get the show moving was far from plain sailing. Far from just fulfilling my duties as host and compere it is usually the case that I get roped into some form of stage management, artist liaison and other such undertakings, which may sound important and glamorous but basically means that I'm the whipping boy for some other poor twat who is so stressed by the nonchalant attitude of so many performers when it comes to set times that they need some other poor twat to shift some of the stress onto. That’s where I come in. Fair do’s I’m usually so wasted by this point that it’s no issue for me to lend a hand but things would be far more agreeable if I could just get on my wave and just do the job that I’m there to do (which nine times out of ten I’m NOT getting paid for). Anyway, as usual, I digress.

The venue was open 7pm – 11pm with a strict ‘music off’ policy at 11pm sharp. Statik Selektah got on at 9pm on the dot and played what I would consider to be a near perfect set, deftly switching between classic joint after classic joint (sometimes a little too quickly, but beggars can’t be choosers) whilst doing his best DJ Clue impression by screaming inane banter over a stand mounted microphone. Great set, but as mentioned earlier, when 600 people are all packed into a room, standing still and all facing in the same direction whilst not dancing to any of the aforementioned classic music, the effect or intention of such endeavours is somewhat lost in the situational circumstance.

I thought that Statik Selektah looked a bit like the guy with the little arms in Sin City

I’m on the stage for a bit bobbing around to the set, popping backstage, grabbing a beer, popping back onto the stage, doing the do. During my travels during this 60 minute period the one constant seemed to be everyone backstage (including stage manager, club manager and everyone in between) all asking the same question – “Where the fuck is DJ Premier?”

The answer to this repeatedly asked question did eventually materialise via a random chick that some people were referring to as his tour manager, although I have a sneaking suspicion that she was actually just some sort of on-the-road jump off with an inflated sense of self worth and importance because she was in receipt of the D from a particularly famous Hip Hop producer and DJ. She was a personal assistant at best; that is, she was personally assisting Premo in guiding his D into her mouth (zing!). After a number of frenzied phone calls and numerous mono-syllabic conversations with the lady in question, the official stance on the situation was that A BOTTLE OF PROSECCO HAD BEEN LEFT OFF OF PREMIER’S RIDER REQUEST AND HE WAS REFUSING TO LEAVE THE HOTEL UNTIL SAID BOTTLE OF PROSECCO WAS PRESENT AND CORRECT IN HIS DRESSING ROOM. Don’t say anything. I know.

Cue one of the promoters (big up Henry) bolting out of the Concorde (which, in Brighton’s relatively confined geographical landscape, is in the middle of fucking nowhere) to head to the nearest offy to pick up said bottle of booze (and for who, exactly? For Premier? Yeah fucking right) so he could place it with the rest of the lavishly extensive spread so he would finally grace us and the 650 odd other people in the venue with his illustrious presence to do what he was there to do – play decent records. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out entirely as planned.

Taking the stage roughly 15 minutes late at 10.15pm, the already close-to-cardiac-arrest manager wangled a deal by which the club was able to remain open until 11.15pm, therefore allowing Premier his full hour on the decks and giving the punters what they actually paid for (rather than watching me stumbling around on an empty stage, attempting to keep the energy levels up, all the while feeding the clearly aggravated crowd lie after lie as to why the show still hadn’t started).

And so we begin. I wouldn’t say that Preem had a face like a slapped arse so much as that he had the face of someone who had recently sucked diazepam through a lemon. Or, the face of a wronged Hip Hop legend who could barely bring himself to make an appearance at a show that he had no doubt already been paid handsomely for due to the distinct and unacceptable absence of a bottle of alcohol coveted mainly by women who can’t afford champagne but fancy themselves as some sort of pseudo-cosmopolitan Sex And The City type diva. Who cares now, he’s here, thank fuck, on with the show. If you couldn’t tell by the tone of my writing by now, however, in my case the damage had already been done; this was made abundantly clear in my own head when he (eventually) took to the stage to start spouting forth about ‘Real Hip Hop’ and such. Does ‘Real Hip Hop’ have anything to do with sitting in your hotel in a pouty strop because someone didn’t bring a bottle of slightly-more-upmarket Lambrini to your party? I think not, but feel free to go ahead and cry if you want to.

Anyway, to be brutally honest (if I haven’t been already), there’s really not much more to report here. Premier played his advertised one hour slot but somehow managed to not play any songs that appealed to the crowd in any way, shape or form whatsoever (from my point of view, of course). Everyone knows that Guru (RIP) and Premier were trying their hardest to establish themselves as separate entities outside of Gangstarr (Guru especially), but honestly, when you pay the best part of a score to see DJ Premier play, what would you rather hear?

  1. A selection of classic Gangstarr cuts, including famous DJ Premier produced timeless bangers for various high profile and talented artists, or
  2. A selection of previously unheard and probably unreleased DJ Premier tracks featuring unknown rappers that nobody really wants to hear when they have paid £20 under the assumption that they will be hearing option 1?

Well, I’m sure that you’ve guessed by now what happened. The breaking point came when Premier played a track off of GOODIE Mob’s classic debut 'Soul Food' LP, screaming “WHO KNOWS ABOUT GOODIE MOB??” over the mic before he dropped it.


Bearing in mind that the crowd consisted mostly of people in their early to mid twenties (or so it seemed to me) who would, one assumes, have absolutely no knowledge of this admittedly brilliant group and their equally brilliant debut album due to their age and lack of exposure to southern rap groups in the mid 1990’s, a reload of the song and a repeat of the same question that warranted absolutely no reaction the first time round was probably not a good idea. But who gives a fuck about good ideas? “COME ON, WHO KNOWS ABOUT GOODIE MOB??”

Tumbleweeds. Tumbleweeds with slippers on. Tumbleweeds with slippers on having recently graduated from Ninja Stealth Training School.

It was at this point that drunken Dave, lurking behind DJ Premier (see picture - #pause) took it upon himself to inform Preem of the obvious – that the clientele in the club were too young to either know or give a fuck about GOODIE Mob, regardless of how good they are, were or might still be. They were just too young. This, of course, did not go down well at all, with Premo shooting me daggers for even suggesting that an album that came out 19 years previous would be coveted by a gang of people who were barely 6 years old when it dropped and therefore would not have the desired effect. Silly me.


The fun continued when, in a frenzy of record mixing hand gestures, Preem knocked the knob (pause) off of one of the upfaders and sent it flying into the darkness. Just the plastic knob, mind you, nothing else; the piece of metal was still showing meaning that the mixer was still completely active and serviceable. Considering that he was doing nothing along the lines of some hyped up DMC turntablist routine, it really shouldn’t have made any difference whatsoever. But, of course, it did. He loudly proclaimed to the sound man that the mixer was now broken and he needed a new one, in the middle of his set, in order to continue. I, being very drunk, demonstrated to Preem that the fader still worked perfectly by whipping it up and down, which of course altered the volume of the record that was playing at the time in a high-to-low-to-high-to-low capacity (this is tech speak here people, try and keep up). Compare it to the small plastic covering on the end of a shoelace falling off; if it does fall off, it doesn’t mean the shoelace can no longer be tied, does it (tenuous, but hopefully you get my point)?

Anyway, after this next mishap and the prerequisite ocular House Of Flying Daggers from Preem I was pretty much done. I was drunk and pissed off, the entire hour was an exercise in disappointment for everyone present (as far as I could tell) and everyone filed out at 11.15pm to go about their business. Neil and I probably followed shortly afterwards to go and get outrageously wavey somewhere, as is our disposition as hot young go-getters. Before we left, however, I had a quick chat with the stage manager and the other guys who had been pushed further into the realms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by the entire experience. And you’ll never guess what.

Premier had left his entire rider, offending bottle of Prosecco included, completely untouched in his dressing room. Ladies and gentleman, Real Hip Hop had left the building.

The opinions and memories detailed above have been retrieved from the damaged hard drive that is my brain. They are my thoughts and opinions and mine only. Many people at this function may have had a lot of fun, contrary to my described perspective. I, however, was, and still am, very, very disappointed by the entire experience.

Next time on Rap Ain't Real, My Life Is Real : Another Hip Hop Show, at the same club, with me performing the same duties, but with a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT OUTCOME. Result! Stay tuned, boppers.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Random White Basketball Players Vol. 4

BOOM!!!! Back up in this bitch. Seeing as the last time I hit you with a Random White Basketball player was 27/10/2011 I thought it only right that I resurrect this excellent segment with some style and flair. Ladies and germs, I proudly present to you -


Not only does this guy have the best name ever he is also clearly rating a 9.5 on the sexy scale (pause). Lets take a look at his career statistics - 

No. 45
Personal information
BornOctober 11, 1960 (age 53)
Lake City, Minnesota
Listed height7 ft 3 in (221 cm)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High schoolLincoln (Lake City, Minnesota)
CollegeMinnesota (1979–1983)
NBA draft1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18th overall
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Pro playing career1983–1994
Career history
19831990Milwaukee Bucks
1990–1992Minnesota Timberwolves
1992–1993Atlanta Hawks
1993–1994Sacramento Kings
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points4,599 (6.8 ppg)
Rebounds2,986 (4.4 rpg)
Blocks750 (1.1 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Pretty FUCKING impressive, I'm sure you'll agree. And just look at those completely muscle-less arms, the partial hair covering the muscle-less arms and stupid fucking look on his face! Lets hear it for RANDY BREUER guys!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Lord Finesse @ THE PUB - Rarekind Records Xmas Party 06/12/2013

On Friday 6th December the good people at Rarekind Records (assisted by Slice Of Spice) hosted their inaugural Christmas Party at The Black Lion Pub in Brighton. I’m not sure why the pub is called ‘The Black Lion’ to be honest… I think ‘The Meat Market’ or ‘The Shooting Gallery’ or ‘Quench Thy Thirst’ would be far more apt names as on any given night you can encounter the thirstiest of the thirsty up in that bitch. Men and women so very thirsty that they would put that Salvadorian bird-and-turtle-blood drinking fisherman castaway dude to shame. 


The place should be sponsored by Sprite; ‘The Black Lion : Obey Your Thirst’. That’s what it should say over the door. I love it in that place. Even someone such as myself who, in terms of thirst, retains as much water as a camel or a large cactus in the middle of a blistering heat wave starts feeling parched up in that joint. The place just cultivates thirst. Imagine Mo Farah running a desert marathon with his only refreshment option being a bag ready salted crisps WITH EXTRA SALT. Damn it all to hell guys, we’re talking about real THIRST here.

Anyway, I digress. The only thing better than seeing Lord Finesse live is seeing Lord Finesse live, at Christmas time, for FREE, in your LOCAL BOOZER. No rapping, just back to back bangers and chicks dancing. Craziness. I was hosting this little shindig (which, for my part, was sponsored by Mandy and grossly overpriced Gin and tonics) and by the end of the night I was literally dancing on the fucking tables. 

A Hip Hop Legend DJing At The Local Boozer.

Boogie Blind (who is possibly one of the coolest dudes to ever live) was there also but didn’t play because Finesse was having too much fun. We ducked out with Neil B for a doobie instead. All the heads were inside and it was a right old knees up.

Boogie, Me, Neil B

At the end of the night I got my fan boy swag on and copped a flick with Lord Finesse himself. He then gave me his bottle of Hennessey. Merry Fucking Christmas.

Jem 357, Lord Finesse, Me

Me and a Christmas present courtesy of Lord Finesse himself. Happy days.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

When I Interviewed Danny Brown

Below follows an interview that I conducted with Danny Brown in the Spring of last year. Long story short, my man Greg Golden Arms hollered at me to let me know that a mate of his (big up Ollie from Lionworks) was to be taking photographs of Danny Brown in the basement of the Electric Hair Salon in Brighton for a spread in Hunger magazine and they were down one interviewer. The time was set, the location was set and, most frustratingly, the questions were set. So, I dutifully rocked up to this most unusual of locales (for me – I have never really had any hair, let alone a hairstyle), proceeded to be eye fucked by every single conceited, narcissistic ponce in the place (I wasn’t exactly prepped for a cat walk run) and made my way down to the cramped, stuffy basement and sat about twiddling my thumbs. Turns out I’m not a big fan of hairdressing salons.

Anyway, I sat around for a bit and, to my surprise, Danny Brown wasn’t too late. He was, however, clearly on a massive comedown from his London show the night before. I immediately surmised that he had ‘popped a molly’ and subsequently had become ‘turnt up’ and therefore wasn’t feeling too chirpy at all. He was clearly in no mood whatsoever to be interviewed so I ever-so-slightly enamoured myself to him by telling him that it would all be over in a few minutes and that none of the questions that I was asking him were of my own creation. Given the opportunity I would have asked him much, much better questions. Ho hum.

Anyway, I did the interview, it was unremarkable, he didn’t care, I didn’t care, I wrote it up and sent it off, and bob’s your uncle. I scored a guest list for his show that night at The Haunt as payment for my journalistic endeavours and dutifully popped down, in the pouring rain, to see him tear the roof off. Not my cup of tea entirely (it was very…. Glitchy?) but he didn’t half get the crowd worked up into a frenzy, including pulling a number of young ladies onto the stage towards the end of his show that I can only describe as DRUG CRAZED LUNATICS. One chick had eyes the size of saucers (bear in mind I was standing more or less at the back of the packed room) and was desperately grabbing for various bottles of water that were being held aloft by members of the crowd. Once the show was over I realised that, at the age of 31, I was most likely one of the oldest people in there and so retreated back towards the pub, chicaning my way through gangs of skinny jeaned drug zombies in their early twenties in order to drown myself in Guinness. What a day.

Full interview/spread is HERE. Opening words are not my own. Mine would have been better. 

He might not think much of his hometown of Detroit but growing up in a city steeped in music certainly didn’t do him any harm. Surrounded by house and electronic music from an early age, owing to his Dad’s DJ credentials, Danny Brown is reluctant to credit anyone with his success other than himself.

Laughing off a recent on stage sexual encounter from an overly amorous fan, Brown is every inch the controversial rapper you might expect but is there more to this eccentric artist than meets the eye? Hunger does its best to find out what makes this one time drug dealer and recent Goliath Artist inductee tick.


Yeah, he wasn’t a musician as such but he used to DJ at parties and stuff. There would always be a lot of electronic music being played in the house, just electronic music in general. He wasn’t in any big groups or anything but it definitely had an effect on me from an early age. I never really had any ambitions to be a rapper, I just started doing it. At kindergarten we had to do a show and tell and I had nothing to show or tell (*laughs*), so I just rapped and all the kids in the class liked it so I just kept doing it. Because my pops was going round doing house music I was just always more open to electronic music. You know, Detroit, we have a scene for that.


Nah, not really. It’s probably getting worse. Worse and worse. But hopefully, you know, there is a change. But right now it’s bad. It’s bad in a lot of places.


I don’t think you can make it just being in Detroit. You have to get out of Detroit –thats when things started taking off for me. But nah, Detroit hasn’t really helped me to be where I’m at right now, nahmsayin? You gotta leave. I had to leave, y’know? My career started with me leaving. I would take 300 bucks and just go to New York on a Greyhound. I had to just do what I could do and meet who I could meet. Things progressed from me doing that and things just started happening. Detroit is like a crab in a barrel mentality, man – nobody trying to help nobody.


Nah – as me being a kid listening to Hip Hop that’s all I heard, you know? I didn’t feel like I had… A kid’s going to do whatever they want to do, regardless of music – most TV and reality shows is going to be a more bad thing than my music, nahmsayin’? If any thing, it should be like, awareness (*laughs*). I’m aware of some worse influences, you know? I don’t think I glorify any…… I just rap about what I do. If that sounds gruff on me then I guess I’m making it sound cool, but whatever I’m talking about I still give you the flipside, you know?I’m not just telling you one thing. I’m giving you both sides of the story.


Kevin Gates. Definitely Kevin Gates. I like Kevin Gates. I’m a fan first – I make my music how I make my music. If I hear something that’s good, you know, of course it inspires you but I think I’m always…. I feel I’m committing my life more so than just trying to make music


In three words? (*Laughs). Unfiltered, extreme and abrasive.


I don’t know…. I think I actually… I just like being out here to be honest. I don’t think I miss anything (*Laughs*). I like being away from home, man.


I don’t get worried about it, I just….. Shit happens, you know? (*Laughs*). It’s the moment – you get caught in the moment sometimes – it shows how powerful music is, you know? It just shows how powerful music is.


Hmmmm… I don’t know about tone it down, but I’ll probably figure out new ways to say things, you know what I’m sayin? I don’t know about tone it down…. I don’t know. ‘Cause I’m 32 years old I can’t say that I’ma get more mature. It is what it is, you know what I’m sayin’? At this point anyway.


Yeah, I think it’s a big step. It’s a huge step, you know what I’m sayin? There should be more opportunities. I’ll just put the album out and see what happens after that, you know?

As an aside, I found THIS to be quite interesting. Then I read THIS straight afterward and then THIS. I'm pretty good at reading, as you may have deduced by now.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Action Bronson @ The Camden Barfly (2 Years Later)

BOOM! Yet another testament to the shameful neglect I have been showing my wonderful blog, and also to you, my valued readership. Once again it is I, patron saint of the tardy, the eternal lord of lateness, taking you on a magical journey of intrigue as I add some ancient fuel to the anecdotal fire in writing about a gig that happened TWO YEARS AGO. Still, better late than never, innit?

So, way back when I was still living in London and, if my memory serves me correctly, I had just fought my way through a particularly bitter and miserable winter. I remember this because on the day of this gig the weather was actually warm and sunny for the first time in what seemed like an age, so I took the ultimate adrenaline-fuelled risk of wearing a pair of shorts as a testament to the clement temperatures. This, of course, turned out to be a major mistake; as soon as the sun went down it became absolutely fucking freezing and I, along with all of the other optimistic idiots in attendance broke out in a severe case of the cold chicken skin shivers, hanging around in Camden attempting to look really cool (no pun intended) and actually freezing my nuts off.

The day started innocently enough (as it always does). I was living in Brixton at the time so I hopped on the tube and headed north, eventually meeting my good buddies 184 and The Purist in Nando’s where they were eating a delicious chicken dinner with Action Bronson and his DJ/Producer Tommy Mas. Shortly after this rendez vous we stepped to the venue for the first of two shows Bronson was due to perform, the first being a matinee that must have kicked off somewhere around the 4pm mark as it was still light outside. Those two superstar showboats disappeared upstairs into the VIP area, obviously, leaving me downstairs on my Jack Jones with a bunch of flock-of-seagulls sporting skinny-jeaned hipsters, T-shirt sleeves rolled up to expose many garish tattoos that mainly consisted of skulls and roses, as is the fashion these days it would seem. I didn’t mind much, despite feeling like Patrick Ewing’s knees in a room full of Vince Carters.

The anticipatory tension in the room by this point was palpable; it was Bronson’s first London show after all and the fan boys were positively chomping at the bit. The excitement reached such a point, in fact, that a number of the more youthful attendees saw fit to rather nonchalantly light up weed and proceed to fill the small, humid and airless room with the scent of sweet, sweet piff. I admired the balls required to do this but ultimately felt that I was better off not partaking, especially when a steroid fuelled bouncer with the crazed look and complexion of a wronged kebab shop employee waded in and grabbed a couple of the guilty parties by the scruff of the neck and chucked them out before Bronson even took to the stage. Poor bastards.

Hilariously, the gravity of this situation was compounded in the most ironic way conceivable when the man of the moment took the stage mere moments later and proceeded to light a giant spliff, filling the room with smoke and making the kids who had just been kicked out look like they’d been playing with puff-puff cigarettes in comparison. No ‘bouncer to the rescue’ on this occasion, and I can only imagine that it wouldn’t have been a pretty scene if a forced intervention had taken place judging on Bronson’s current habit of practicing wrestling moves on anyone who attempts to impede on his stage show in any way. The hilarity continued as he proceeded to light 4 or 5 blunts in the next 20 minutes, which was a herculean example of smoking ability and also a brilliant display of showmanship; it did, however, cause me to feel more and more sympathetic for the poor lads whom had been chucked out moments earlier for a comparatively miniscule transgression. FTP.

The show was the show, it was good, although I remember remarking at the time that the selection of songs that he performed was very unusual. Finishing on ‘Hookers At The Point’ wasn’t really the look (it was shortly after the first Blue Chips had dropped)…. He did do ‘Shiraz’ and also that joint with the fantastic beat with that Riff Raff tool on it, but otherwise it was generally unremarkable. The two major highlights of the show (apart from the smoke fest at the start) came when Bronson walked through the crowd whilst rapping and dropped £100 on the bar for anyone lucky enough to be in reaching distance to buy themselves a drink. I wasn’t, unfortunately, although he did brush past me and bestowed a rather large pool of sweat on my arm. Superb. Then, a little later on (or maybe even during this period), a certain UK Hip Hop producer (mentioned earlier) succumbed to a single pull on a spliff that, we later surmised, contained slightly more than just your average dose of psychosis-inducing super skunk, with hilarious results. During the unfolding of this scenario, whilst I was standing in a sea of hipsters waiting for the show to begin, my two compadres had been upstairs schmoozing with the talent.

Unsurprisingly, part of the extended entourage that were chilling upstairs before the show included a number of Camden’s very own Piff Gang, a group of young men known as much for their penchant for getting wavey as for their skill at rapping. During the show the young man known as Don Silk had sparked and passed a doobie to one of my two producer buddies, who unwittingly took a man sized hit in order to remain in the spirit of the occasion. Unfortunately, it seems that this particular doobie had been laced with an additional ingredient (we later assumed it to be some form of liquid codeine) which caused the poor fellow to turn grey, green and every shade in between. Hilarity ensued (I wasn’t exactly sober myself) as the producer in question repeatedly proclaimed that he had never been so high. The singular drag also served to completely numb his throat, resulting in the now immortal exclamation – ‘My throat is high’. “Dude, I am so high.” “How high?” “So high. Like, so high, I can’t feel my throat. My throat is high.”

So, my friend was high. So high, in fact, that we quite happily took a walk up the road in the now freezing winds with Tommy Mas for pizza and coffee and some much needed air after the first show; a spontaneous trip which in turn became my entry visa into the forbidden land of ‘Above The Barfly’. At this point, things get a little hazy. A lot of booze and a lot of everything else, too. Add the fact that Bronson and his cohorts were not drinking on this particular occasion and you have myself, two of my good time buddies and the whole of the Piff Gang with a few crates of Red Stripe, a good few bottles of Grey Goose and an abundance of the stickiest of the icky. Needless to say, my memory is somewhat skewed now, although one of my last endearing memories is of Action Bronson taking a marker pen to a freshly painted white wall and nailing it with a tag. I went to the toilet before leaving, must’ve only been gone for 5 minutes, and when I came back to chill for a little while longer before dusting off I was confronted with quite a scene.

 As far as I’m aware both Action Bronson and Piff Gang were henceforth banned from performing at The Camden Barfly ever again; rumour has it that they’ve banned Hip Hop shows in the venue altogether ever since then. We bustled downstairs as part of the entourage, stayed for 15 minutes or so and then realised we (myself, 184 and The Purist) were all completely shit faced so we got the fuck out of there. Bronson was visibly more….. Subdued than during his last performance (subdued by MOUNTAINS OF WEED, haha) so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on much. And there you have it. Another brilliant Hip Hop anecdote communicated from my brain via my fingers. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I am about to enjoy the dump I am about to take.