Head Nods, Hip Wiggles
I got scared off from live hip hop a long time ago. Don't get me wrong; I've loved rap since I was a child in the 80s. But as someone who has always valued live musicians playing real instruments, it's always seemed like the dense production - overdubbing, sampling and such - that characterizes so much hip hop couldn't really translate into a great live experience. I went cold on live hip hop in the early 90s after seeing too many shows undermined by canned beats and bad bands.
I'm sure glad @jasonpinsky got me down off my high horse last night. The Ultramagnetic MC's led by Kool Keith and Blackalicious each solved the problem of live hip hop with a directly opposite though equally succesful strategy. First, Kool Keith & Co. tore it down with a killer live rhythm section - drums, guitar, bass and keyboard from The Lucky Bears Foot Band. Those guys were tight. The MCs rhymes were engaging, but its so rare to get a good live hip hop/funk band. This was hip hop for dancing.
Blackalicious, on the other hand, strips the beats almost to the minimum so all the emphasis is on their wildly inventive and nimble enunciations. Off went the instruments, on came the DJ rig. No mixmaster pyrotechnics here. Blackalicious is all about the tongue-tantalizing verbal tastes.
Very good show. And was great to see @kroosh there as well. Will definitely get me seeing more live hip hop. See video below
Blackalicious closing out their set