I ran outta work with that shitty cold feeling coming on and jumped on a train to London at 6, as we needed to get up there pronto cos the doors to the venue opened at 7pm and I heard that the GZA gig in April was not only rammed but he also finished his performance by like 10pm and I definitely didn’t want to miss any of the action. After being slightly confused by a mad woman dressed up like Britney Spears in her ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ video who was reading a book about science and flashing her knickers about the train carriage we finally arrived in Paddington got some grub down us and headed over to Camden.
As we arrived we rocked straight in the club, no queue, no search, no nothing, although the bouncer on the door did ask me how old I was. I wasn’t expecting that at all and pretty much said something like “er what? ummmm really? 28?” so he ushered me past. Strange Times eh?
We got inside and the venue was pretty amazing, i haven’t been to Koko before and was mightily impresssed with the setup they got going on. We hung about for an hour or so before a flurry of activity onstage preceded the arrival of DJ J-Love (who somewhat alarmingly played no records and instead seemed to have two digital samplers hooked up to a mixer, odd) followed shortly after by the man himself Chef Raekwon with a ‘How you doing London?’.
He then popped of a couple of verses of a few random tunes like C.R.E.A.M. before bringing out Ghostface to join him on stage and start the performance properly.
Unfortunately the sound system in Koko was not set up as well as it could have been, which meant that I was struggling to identify the half the tunes til Rae started spitting and it’s not like i’m unfamiliar with Lex Diamonds’ output and even when he was ryhming sometimes you just couldn’t hear him clearly over the distorted beat. That was definately the most dissapointing thing about the show for me.
Anyway with Ghostface now onstage and a few hangers on bouncing round stage for those all important chorus shouty bits off they went performing virtually every track off OB4CL with the exception of Wu Gambinos and maybe one other as well as chucking a few other bits in here and there including the RZA remix of Rainy Days (I fucking love that tune) One by Ghostface and of course the obligatory ODB homage with thier take on Shimmy Shimmy Ya.
Now I saw Method Man & Redman do the same thing in Bristol last month and they took the roof off! It literally went Dawn Cox mental when they dropped that shit on us, but in London it felt strangly muted, like people were having a good time but they were either too cool, too old or too mean to forget their inhibitions and throw their hands in the air. Ghost n Rae weren’t fazed and fired straight into Triumph after that (exactly the same as Red & Meth did) and again it just felt a bit like I was the only person in the venue who bought Wu forever on the day it came out in the UK and listened to it over and over until my ears bled – the vibe just wasn’t in attendance.
They took a bit of a breather for a minute and invited some local emcee’s up on stage to spit a verse. I think some guy called Strike won, but they all sounded pretty awful to my cynical ears, one of them jumped on stage said he was from Birmingham an got boo’ed off pretty much straight away then gave Rae some grief (why would you do that?). But like Rae said ‘being Hip Hop is all about having a big set of swinging balls so you gonna jump up on a stage where no one knows your name to spit a verse’ an he’s right.
De La Soul were chilling on the sidelines and they popped out to say hello and plug (1) their gig in the Forum the following night. Ghostface actually gave them mad props saying that the skits De La Soul put on their first few albums inspired him and Raekwon to do the skits on their subsequent wu releases and as far as he was concerned nobody could skit like De La!
Then on with the show, another couple of tunes off the OB4CL, then they started getting all sorts of ropey assed women out the crowd for some Ice Cream action, man that was funny. Women of the UK you should be ashamed of yourselves, when Raekwon chants ‘Yo make some noise if you got a good clean pussy’ and recieves virtual silence in return you know you’re in trouble. He said it three times in a row and got no response at all so he’s all like ‘Damn whats wrong with all these bitches up in here’. I was pissing myself laughing and shouting ‘Welcome to the UK’ back at him loud as I could, because we all know what state most of the women in UK are in at the moment (i.e. worthless skets) after all this equality bullshit over the last x amount of years. Anyway that a whole different blog post by itself… Back to the show, so they got some nasty assed street bitches on stage and start performing Ice Cream while they’re all shaking about looking like they are feeling just a bit selfconcious haha, funny but the tune went down well nontheless. Then i think they jumped straight into a megamix of tunes, Ghostface literally pointing at DJ each time he wanted a new beat, ended up being a bit random but all good nonetheless.
Then for the last tune Raekwon went for something fresh of the forthcoming OB4CL2 album, but we had to leave the venue by this point in order to catch the last train home.
All in all it was a wicked night but the vibe was nothing compared to the Method Man and Redman night in Bristol, but at the same time we were standing quite far back and the sound system left allot to be desired. I’m totally glad i went though cos everyone knows Ghostface is the fucking man.