I still remember copping the Outkast Greatest Hits in high school and going straight to “The Whole World” and losing my mind. Dre and Big Boi murked their verses until Killer Mike came on and did to them what Freeway did to Jay and Beans on “1-900 Hustler.” “Playa, I grind/My focus is crime/Raw with the rhyme/Slick with the slime” is all it took for me to ride with Killer Mike through whatever (except that “A.D.I.D.A.S.”). I can even remember his jaw-dropping performance at Smoking Grooves in ‘02 when Outkast started “The Whole World” and no one knew if Killer Mike had got on the bus or they were just going to skip through his verse and just when it looked like they’d left him in the ATL, he comes barrelling out from backstage with the mic in hand, tearing through his verse with a sense of urgency like his life depended on it.
And shit, I’m from the ‘burbs. Of course I came up on Co Flow and Funcrusher Plus. I can’t even get started on Can Ox and Cold Vein. Def Jux will forever have a special place in my heart.
I love hip-hop. Always have. Not many writers out there have a decade-plus in the game and in that decade I’ve been to a lot of shows. Some really great ones, and some that I’m still trying to block from memory like those girls with that cup shit. And it’s not always the artists that are the problem. Sometimes they definitely are, but it’s usually the forgettable opening acts. Sometimes it’s the fans, like that one dude in front of me at an Immortal Technique show headnodding and pumping his fist to “Dance with the Devil.” Dude like that probably gets hype watching Titanic. But I also didn’t rush to get to the venue. Had some more important things going on, like my three year-old not being able to sleep. By the time I got to the spot, I’d missed the Despot performance, which was supposedly dope, but I caught RATKING, more limited by their acoustics than anything else.
Black dude walks on stage to help set up after Ratking. He’s stocky. Crowd thinks he’s Killer Mike. They cheer. Oops.