Friday, February 22, 2008


Took my little brother to see Del Tha Funkee Homosapien two night ago at the Vault in Long Beach. I think it was his first show. Here's a quick recap.

We got there around 9, after listening to final three minutes of the Lakers/Suns game in my car. Walked up, found out Del wasn't going in for two more hours, so we walked Pine and sat outside at Taco Beach to watch the Celtics/Warriors on a newly-installed tv outside of Shannon's.

Got to the Vault around 10. Opened the door and got a massive whiff of weed. Some reggae-influenced rapper was on stage. We both thought he sucked. Then the host of the show talked for what seemed like forever, asking people trivia questions like "For a free t-shirt, someone tell me the name of RUN-DMC's second album." Dude, these people are 12. They don't know the answer. He kept promoting his crew, but I already forgot the name. He did lots of "throw your hands in the air" and "when I say hip, you say hop." Pretty embarrassing cuz the "hop" response was always very minimal.

More weed smell. Then Aceyalone came on. I've wanted to see him for a long time. He started slow, then got really good, then went on for too long. Rap fans are fickle --they NEVER care about opening acts and don't show any kind of love to people on stage who aren't celebrities. This had a lot to do with the grinding halt that was the second half of the set. Aceyalone was trying, but they weren't giving much back. That said, a 20-minute set woulda been better.

Then the host came back and talked about his song that we might have heard on KDAY. Wrong dude, we haven't heard your shit there or anywhere. Surprisingly, his song wasn't half bad, much better than his hosting skills. More rap cliches followed. The best part of all this was DJ Orator, who was cutting it up on the ones and twos. There aren't nearly enough real deejays anymore, at least none that I can find. It was funny because I met two dudes a week earlier who told me to check DJ Orator out if I was looking for the real deal. I think I found it.

That was a problem with all the deejays. The deejay's job in 2008 is to play some tracks on an iMac and yell backup vocals. No cutting, no scratching. Just fist pumping.

After what felt like forever, Del came out and proved he truly is a funkee homosapien. I told my brother that rap shows go like this: Two hours of amateurs and 30 minutes of pros who instantly blow the other guys away. My theory was true. Del moved, shaked and flowed like a man possessed. Even his sideman A Plus was good. He ended with that Gorillaz song and everyone freaked out. His between-song banter was pretty classic. I'd repeat it, but it was so off the wall I can't remember any of it.

I'd see Del again. He reminded me why I still flirt with the idea of becoming an emcee. Rap sucks live, but it can be done right. When it is, it rules. Unfortunately, it hardly ever is. At least none of these guys rhymed over their own vocal tracks. That's a trick I've seen many mainstream rappers do. It's fucking weak. I want the real shit, beats and rhymes. Nothing more, nothing less.

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