Danny Brown and A-Track kick it to the curb, literally.
Fool’s Gold Day Off at the east side parking lot of The Shrine Auditorium was bumpin’ and fist pumpin’ this past weekend. By nightfall, the parking lot was almost filled to the curb with crunkers, hipsters, ravers, punks, (bubble in all other relevant subcultures here).
Remember your public school yard? Yeah, exactly like that (including the occasional skirmishes over some off-the-cuff remark. Ah, the good old days).
Though unlike public school, there was food that was easily identifiable and comestible. Long lines led the way to two catering trucks parked and dishing out the pizza, tacos, and burgers to the masses with the munchies (an essential for any electro-hip-hop event).
The opening acts served expletive entrées as partygoers leaned like cholos, did the running man, and all of the above to the blend of rappers’ old school and new school styles.
Iamsu and Jay Ant were catalysts for those party time beats, kickback-style. They came down from the Bay Area’s independent hip hop scene with some fresh sounds. Iamsu’s tone is non-chalant but his rhymes are raw–you know– girls, making it big, and money. Jay Ant’s style is a slightly more down to Earth. They had a good yin-and-yang effect which made their set interesting to a certain degree (the sun was still up and people were barely settling in). It was like combining water and fire (what do they make? Steam and vapor. And what comes out of that? A ninja. That’s right, a ninja). The transitions between acts went smoothly as their in-house DJ kept everyone grooving.
The great thing about the music industry today is that it’s relatively easier to make a name for yourself. That’s one of the perks of the internet age, and in a way an asset to major record labels. Freddie Gibbs used that to his advantage and much to his credit he’s the perfect example of how you can create a following and help your music career via the web. The New Yorker writer Sasha Frere-Jones would “put money on [him] right now”. His flow is real, it cuts to the chase, and you can tell he raps from personal experiences. People were nodding their heads and digging the vibes with their hands in the air. His set was a good segue into DJ Quik.
The man that pioneered West Coast rap with the likes of Easy E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre. DJ Quik talked about the hood and gangs without really over-glamorizing them. That’s why he stood out so well and once you heard him sample old school tunes you were hooked. That night he was on target with the beats, legato rhymes, and what he was always about–party jams (like this). He kept it real and definitely got the party going for A-Track.
With a catchy electro facemelter like “Tuna Melt” and rhythmically fiendish remix like that of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll”, A-Track easily cranked Fool’s Gold Day Off up to 11. You couldn’t count the number of Harlem Shakes on one hand. At some point you could see a three story shoulder ride (that’s one person carrying another person carrying another person on their shoulders. Whoa! Elevator, going up!). It was a solid set but the overall line-up of the event seemed a bit off-handed. Their in-house DJ and A-Track conducted beats on the dance floor before Danny Brown’s appearance (contrary to the schedule). The tension and high BPM’s of electro are going to overshadow rappers and MC’s (think crescendo not diminuendo). By the time Danny Brown went on stage people had already lost a few lbs. from dancing. An injustice to his underground hardcore style which is meant to be savored like a chilled 40 in a paper bag.
When you hear Danny Brown you can’t help but think of Ol’ Dirty Bastard (O.D.B.). Their styles are so similar you would think that they were long lost relatives. When you hear him you see hood life scattered in all the confrontation and vulgarities–pretty dank, as they’d say. No one could ever really replace O.D.B. but it is fun to see how his style has managed to reincarnate itself into underground hip hop today.