R.E.U.P.G.A.N.G: Clipse at the Knitting Factory (11/14)

November 6, 2006

In Virginia, we smirked at that Simpson trial

Yeah, I guess the chase was wild

But what’s the fuss about?

See, plenty my partners feelin’ like O.J.

Beat murder like the shit is OK, that’s what our door say
Liva must be 6’8 minimum. He came onstage wearing awhite polo shirt buttoned all the way up and looked like an awkward big brother to the Clipse until he started ripping those verses. Then he just sounded and looked like the fucking virtuoso he is. The only one not wearing any shine (Malice – brown watch strap, blinding gold faced watch, gold ropes, Pusha – white gold rope, watch the same, Sandman – gold rope), Liva is going to be impossible to market despite his ridiculous skills.

One of the things I like about the Clipse is the way they seem like total professionals. Yeah, they rap about dealing but they don’t half ass it. They’re totally committed. I can’t wait till they’re three albums away from the street and are forced to come up with some new shit to rap about to see how they deal with that challenge. In concert, this professionalism translates to delivery that transcends shitty sound systems (the Knitting Factory sucks donkey balls) and a performance that is almost military in it’s precision. Which is why Sandman almost disrupted things by coming in way after his cue, dressed in black as against the other three who had on white tees/polos and drinking a Heine. Focus mofo! Points from Sandman, points to Liva.

Unlike Liva, the Clipse set was hella short. Trying to remember what was performed, I’m barely cresting eight tracks. They opened with “Virginia,” sounding gully as hell, followed with “Cot Damn” and some other Lord Willin’ track. They did “Pussy,” which Pusha was really, really into and totally ripped it apart. Pusha is crazy animated on stage, eyes wide open, head thrown back, face contorted into almost cartoonish expressions and rapping along to pretty much everything the whole evening. Malice on the other hand was mad chill, playing the back when he wasn’t up or supporting the verse. What this meant for me was that I ended rapping along whenever a really crazy Pusha verse came on (“quit ya yappin’ fore I get ta clappin/And have your body parts mix and matching fella”) and then falling silent in anticipation to hear Malice drop his monster shit, like that infamous verse on “Wamp Wamp.” It was a pretty effective dynamic, Pusha selling it like crazy and Malice allowing it to come to him.

Breihan wrote after the last Clipse show that the boys almost seemed surprised to find out that people still liked them. None of that nonsense this time. They knew they were hot and worked the crowd like they meant it. Had out repeating that R.E.U.P.G.A.N.G. on the regular and pointing out that “they” (certain crackers at Jive I imagine) were in the building and to let them know that the streets were messing with Clipse shit even if said “they” didn’t understand it. So the crowd nearly brought the house down during the “Wamp Wamp” performance. That track followed Mr. Me Too and then they closed on a couple of tracks from WGIFC Vol. 2. Can’t remember what tracks because “Zen” came on right after the Clipse walked offstage and I was mad disappointed they didn’t bless us by performing that.

I got a pound from Liva who was trying to get a drink after the show and then faded without waiting to see if the Clipse came outside post concert. I don’t do celeb fuckery, even for my favorite dope boys.

As to the other fellas that were there that evening. Jokaman is a joke and I think I actually fell asleep on my feet during his set. May I never be subjected to such shit ever again. I didn’t really like the Trae album and was not much looking forward to seeing him in concert. I still don’t really like him but I have a lot more respect for him now. He’s got a hell of a presence and that mumbled, rapid fire flow of his is done in this totally rugged, cool voice. Overall I don’t find that he elevates the cars and ice material much further than the basic and I really don’t go for any flow that makes it really difficult to catch a rapper’s words. Besides he favors a lot of mid 90’s, R&B influenced production that quite frankly, is wack. One exception though is “Swang” which I never really realized he was on and which I quite like and enjoyed hearing in concert. Kidz in the Hall is a terrible name for a rap group, and said group came out with one or two nice beats and perhaps even some half decent rhymes in there. However when impatiently waiting for the leanest and meanest rap group to hit the streets in ages, one does not particularly want to pandered to by overly well fed, college grads who don’t seem to have that much exciting to say or particularly innovative ways of saying it, even if they do amuse by declaring that are bring Rawkus back. Good luck with that kidz. Find a better name and a bit more fire in your guts and I might even bother to check out your album.

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