A basic tenet of hip hop is that one must be down by law. There’s no way around it. You have to experience the hustle and the struggle inherent in hip hop to truly be able to relate to it. Let me be clear that I’m not talking about getting shot nine times a la 50; it could be as simple as waking up at the crack of dawn to cop the new Nas before it sells out in-store. Have you ever waited too late on new release Tuesday to purchase the new hot CD, only to find it sold out? Maybe not so much in the digital age but those of us who came up in the 80s and 90s know. It sucks terribly!
I consider myself to be down by law since ’93, but I earned my official stripe last Friday. Little Brother performed at the Key Club. My boy Val the Vandle (LA’s most talented DJ and an up and coming producer) and his boy VerBS opened for Little Brother. I really wanted to see the show so I rolled up there on the solo tip. I was nervous rolling solo to the show as a female, but I knew people up there so I took the chance.
I got to the spot only to find that the show was sold out. What to do? I couldn’t get in touch with Val, he was onstage prepping for the show. As I stood on Sunset Bouelvard pondering my next move in the midst of a crowd, VerBS appears. After we exchanged pleasantries, I explained my dilemma. He said, “You need to get in the show? I have an extra wristband right here.” Success! I rolled into the show with VerBS and his entourage.
I followed them and somehow ended up hanging out onstage while they were performing. It was fun to see them perform up close. VerBS is the proverbial rock star, and Val is sick on the 1s and 2s. There’s so much going on up there, you get to see the entire audience from a different angle. I love to watch the interaction between the performers and the crowd. It was so sick.
I must give adequate attention to Little Brother. I thoroughly enjoyed their performance. Before, I was a semi-fan. They had a few songs I liked, I liked their style, I knew a little bit about them. But I wasn’t a full fledged fan. Now? I’m a fan. Those dudes are on some De La Soul, Outkast sort of ish. I love their style, they stay true to themselves and don’t change for anyone. To me that’s the measure of great hip hop, staying true to yourself no matter what. If you have an affinity for good old fashioned hip hop with a southern twist, you will definitely enjoy the sounds of Pooh and Phonte.
Little Brother doesn’t play on the radio in Los Angeles. I can’t say I’ve seen them on television too much either, except for MTV Jams, where I first encountered them. At the show, the entire crowd showed Little Brother love. And LB showed it back. They put on an excellent show, and I’m sure they gained more fans besides myself.
The diversity in the crowd was dope. Everybody and their mama made it to that show. The crowd was comprised of every ethnic group imaginable. B-boys, B-girls, backpackers, nerds, gangsters, frat boys, preps, fly girls, butch girls, girly girls, emos, the one dude in the crowd with the mean mug and his arms crossed, unimpressed by it all…
It was a reflection of the beauty of hip hop, bringing together all types of people in the name of music and dope beats.