Those calling for hip-hop’s death knell better take a closer look before passing judgment. Fragments of the underground continue to spawn new musical creations and innovations. Some of this vitality was on display last Saturday night at the B Complex, with the Groove Attack Superrappin Tour, which featured the lineup of Lootpack, Declaime, J. Sands of Lone Catalysts and DJs P-Trix, Dopey and Woody, who virtually stole the spotlight.
Dopey showed he deserved more respect than his name as he wowed audiences right away with his turntable wizardry, splicing together bits of records and creating new sounds and patterns. The 2001 ITF champion beat-juggled and scratched with perfection, all with immaculate timing, with bits of abstract hip-hop, ’80s dance tracks and electro.
J. Sands, one-half of Lone Catalysts, then did a short if slightly ill-prepared set rhyming with DJ Woody, who was then left to his own devices – two turntables and a mixer, to be exact. Just when nobody thought that Dopey’s routine could be topped, at least not on this night, Woody did, at least in some ways. His routine, which used mostly old-school soul and jazz records, touched on many of techniques that Dopey displayed but with a slightly more acute musical sense.
Declaime strolled out swiftly and did a rather short but smooth set with DJ Romes of Lootpack, rhyming positively about life and love.
It was definitely ill enough, and as he was forced to leave the stage, the crowd, which had grown exponentially at this point, was yearning for more.
Experiencing the talent of these champion turntablists was itself worth the price of admission. As Wildchild of Lootpack would reiterate later, “Who’s the backbone of hip-hop? The DJ!”
Finally, the group that everyone had been waiting for entered the stage: Lootpack, which consists of Wildchild, Quasimoto and DJ Romes. Combining the fun rhyming of old school hip-hop with contemporary abstract jazz production and lyricism, the Lootpack, along with other members of the Likwit Crew, including the Liks, Dilated Peoples, Defari and others, represent the true “underground.”
At least it was worth seeing the Lootpack while it lasted, with their flowing rhymes and interplay between Wildchild and Quasimoto doing its best to realize the essence of hip-hop.
Hip-hop’s dead? Who said?