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REDMAN and MOBB DEEP Live Reviews, Melody Maker, 1995

Melody Maker, 30 September 1995

TWO GIGS separated by a fortnight, linked by a common grievance. As illustrations of the two ways a hip hop gig can go, they're pretty much perfect; as peachy-keen adverts for the ongoing sterling work of Mr Jam Promotah they're as revealing as hell.

Truly, hip hop fans are the most shat-on in the music world, and yet somehow we remain the gentlest and meekest. We just sit back (well, stand like cattle) and take it, partly outta shock, partly outta the fact that if one person admits that what they just shelled out the better part of a tenner for wasn't worth wiping on the working part of an asshole, it brings EVERYONE'S evening down with the horrible truth. If this were a goddamn indie gig we'd be tearing backstage and lynching the f***ers responsible. As it is, we're hip hop fans so we stand around and smoke and do f*** all. But we do it menacingly. Whoopee.

You wait. You go for a piss and all the lads in the bogs suddenly stop talking as you enter like you've just stumbled into the only saloon in town, minced up to the bar, ordered a creme de menthe and said, "Eeeh, you haven't flicked a duster 'round here in ages, have you?" The fumes from the Mind-Bending Drug Hashish Cannabis Resin outweigh oxygen six to one. You wait some more. And then three hours later with your arse sore and your lungs worse, Redman comes on. And, granted, he's storming. 'Time 4 Some Aktion', 'How 2 Roll A Blunt', and 'Can't Wait' in particular coming over as this huge heat-hazed ruckus; a hell-red plume of misty noise suddenly shot through with the thunking grimy beats that if anything play on and amplify the f***ed-up nature of the gig even further. Pretty soon the crowd in the pit are rocking like woozy sailors, slamming, slipping, tumbling, just a mess of blunted heads bobbing and grooving. ALMOST worth waiting for.

But what we get at Mobb Deep a fortnight later is unforgivable. Havoc is critically ill with sickle cell anaemia. That's half the band. So, instead of cancelling the gig or at least informing the punters, they make us wait for FOUR long hours, then let Prodigy announce Havoc's absence from the stage before (understandably) giving us a lacklustre set, replete with bad PA, taking the tracks from the staggering Infamous LP and merely letting them plod tepidly over our headz. No innovation, no mixing, no feel of constant live possibility that the studio-spun LP actually gives you, no point, no F***ING EXCUSES. F*** that. Next time this happens people, see the Mercedes, see the suitcase fulla YOUR readys, see the backsliding lying bastard responsible and speak with your hands. Round their bullshitting scaley wretched f***ing necks. Sort it now, Mister Man. Or die.

© Neil Kulkarni, 1995


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