Slum Village & Bizarre Ride - The Observatory - May 13, 2014
In an era where classic boom bap hip-hop has virtually lost all momentum, an affinity for the sound pioneered, then mastered by the late J Dilla remains. Last night at the Observatory was dedicated to one of the game's most revered producers. Grape swishers burned restlessly waiting for the Dilla Exhibit listening to freestyles that flowed to the vintage jazz cello-clad beats like the tall cans of Pabst that riddled the venue's floor at the end of the night.
With a notable lack of skinny jeans that prohibit the nut grabbing associated with the hip-hop of old, the night oozed the sedating melodies of the lo-fi instrumentals, namely the Dillafied works sampled from all walks of sonic life. After an impressive peformance from the opening DJ and accompanying MC full of the underground vibe and thought provoking metaphors, the Observatory took a trip down a trail blazed by Jazz, into Dillaville. Some, especially the guy dressed in a white pinstriped Tommy Hilfiger athletics jersey that must've been procured from a Ghetto Fabulous pre-Y2K time capsule, came more prepared than others.
Lacking a lustrous egress, two-thirds of Slum Village (T3 and Young RJ) stepped from backstage in all Black with game faces on waiting for their DJ the classic "Fall In Love." The two dove straight into set with time stamped lyrics prompting a look around to observe the crowd. Mentions of Sean John and PS2 triggered some of the panning looks around the half-packed venue. Happy to be on stage rocking in the name of their late partner, the almost identical duo, distinguished by a vest and Adidas, jumped around on the edge of the stage and broke out in a synchronized two-step to their collection of hip-hop, rapping their verses, as well as Jay Dee's and his complete songs in some instances.
Prior signing off with "Raise It Up," the group hit us with their highest charting single featuring none other than Yeezus, "Selfish." The crowd joined T3 in rapping Kanye's part that remains as animated as it was a decade ago.
Before SV could catch their breath after their set, Bizarre Ride stormed the stage. The former Pharcyde members and associates including all took the stage. J Swift, preceding Fat Lip, SlimKid3 and their fourth member, L.A. Jay, emerged with an uncombed 'fro to start the track "Oh Shit." As each of them came to the stage, we'd learn they all strived to symbolize the organic sound of their music as none of them attempted to groom their matted manes.
In between the whirling pianos, and jazz flutes of the backing tracks, shouts from fans yelling "Westside!" and other dated catchphrases echoed throughout the main floor. that drew the modest out on a work night. Bizarre Ride didn't hesitate to yell back at the pit, where a guy held up the original vinyl cover for "Ya Mama". "This muthafucka knows all the lyrics", SlimKid3 belted during another interlude, hyping the crowd shortly. Concertgoers found themselves involved when the stubby L.A. Jay snatched a Samsung tablet from woman's hand to record him reciting the hook to "Return of the B-Boy."