Paid Dues - San Manuel Amphitheater - March 30, 2013

Categories: Hip-Hop, festivals
Patrick Montes / OC Weekly
Juice of Flatbush Zombies

For the eighth time around, Guerilla Union's celebration of underground and independent hip-hop, Paid Dues, has given concert-goers willing to travel inland another full day of experiences and memories. Swarms of dirt be damned, we had another great time this go around, despite all the dust and dirt we've spat up and cleaned off since then. As always though, there are those moments and occurrences that stuck out -- in a good way -- and here's our list of what made Paid Dues worthwhile this year.


Most Appropriate Use of Non Hip-Hop Music: Flatbush Zombies

NYC's Flatbush Zombies were one of the acts we chose not to miss, and they lived up to our selection. Their entire performance was more aggressive than the other acts on the bill, with the Zombies choosing a setlist seemingly determined to give attendees many new hospital bills and the memories to keep them company as they recover. We couldn't think of many other acts that would fit just as well at a punk rock fest as the Zombies, and we can't help but be perplexed as to why they weren't booked for Coachella this year. 

Right before they launched into the muddy-yet-explosive "SCOSA," they chose to play and go berserk to rock legends Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and we feel as though there wasn't an act at Paid Dues that had a better, more fitting transition. As strong as their rapping was, it would be impossible to ignore the visceral reactions the productions they performed promoted. All they needed was a guitar and/or drum set and they would fit in anytime at Chain Reaction.


Best Cover: Scarface performing part of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"
As far as we're concerned, down-south legend Scarface is one of the essential hip-hop artists to listen to. Song for song, he may even be a better, more captivating storyteller than Slick Rick. And, we can safely say inconsistency and left-field choices have never been too prominent in Scarface's career. So, when he interrupted his career-spanning set to sit down with a guitar and strum some chords, well, we were obviously caught off-guard.

For a few minutes, the former Geto Boy performed his own rendition of Pink Floyd's classic "Wish You Were Here," and proceeded to pleasantly surprise most of the audience. He was kind of like rap music's answer to Bob Dylan or something, or at least he sort of tried to be. We'll probably never see Scarface fronting a band or coming out with an acoustic folk album anytime soon (or ever), but we can rest easy knowing there's more to 'Face besides just the lyrics.

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