I just finished 3 east coast shows; Boston, NYC & RI with the Metermaids and a mix of varying performers in each city. The NYC show was at the legendary Irving Plaza which was amazing in itself, but what made the night most special to me was the artists who were in attendance. Eternia, the fiercest emcee to ever wear a skirt, was kind enough to open the show for us (joined on stage by DJ Boo and Range.) I hope this goes without saying, but they absolutely killed it. Eternia is a superstar and no one knows it yet. Great writing, delivery, performance, everything.
To my great surprise, Eternia is friends with Jarobi from A Tribe Called Quest. Her manager, Sav, hollered at him on twitter asking if he’d be interesting in coming out to the show. When I noticed that, I off-handedly mentioned that I would perform my rendition of ATCQ’s “Can I Kick It?” as I frantically scrambled through my computer files to dig up the instrumental. As it turned out, not only did Eternia come on stage to do the second verse of “Can I Kick It” with me, but Jarobi also joined along to hype the song. Welp…check that off of the bucket list. CHRIST ON A CRUTCH!
Fans of mine may recall a rhyme from Tolerance Level where I tell the proverbial wack emcee that he’s “not enough of an emcee to be Jarobi’s hypeman.” Well, everything just came full circle and I’m still buzzing from it. To add to the synchronicity, just one week ago I checked out the“Beats, Rhymes and Life” documentary. That film gave me a deeper appreciation for Jarobi’s role in ATCQ, a role that has always seemed purposely ambiguous. Now, here he is, sliding into the greenroom like Kramer, discussing food with me, cracking jokes and putting Dres from Black Sheep on the guest list for my show.
Meeting Dres resulted in one of those rap-nerd “squeeze every compliment and question into one short conversation before he realizes how weird you are and scurries away” type of moments. I asked if he remembered performing on a super low budget, public access-ish TV show called Rap Around around 1989. I recalled how odd it was to see him randomly appear at the end of it to perform The Choice is Yours, but I’ve never met anyone else who actually saw this program. I suppose, in some way, I was just looking for confirmation that this actually happened and I wasn’t making it up. Dres was kind enough to dig through his memory banks for the kid. He said, “Yeahhhh…I think I remember that. All I really remember is thinking ‘Are we really doing this right now?'” It’s not a 100% confirmation that this Rap Around TV show was NOT a total figment of my imagination, but I’ll take it.
While backstage, before the show, Jerobi was prepping Dres for what he could expect from my show. “It’s just him, man. It’s a one man show. And it works! So…why don’t you have anyone on stage with you?” Being that the Tribe documentary was fresh in my mind I gave him an answer I felt he could relate to. I said, “Well…I’ve done the band thing. I’ve done the DJ thing. These days I just prefer to do everything on my own. It’s not easy but it’s easier than dealing with a bunch of unnecessary drama.” They both nodded with big smiles on their faces. Nothing else needed to be said after that.
The Metermaids were joined on stage by DJ Rob Swift of the X-Ecutioners. It seems that Prolyphic, who was also in attendance, isn’t hiphop’s only Jets fan.
They made the rooftop shake. As always. After that, I hit the stage for 90 minutes. Did my thing. Had a couple people escorted out of the building for being belligerent and impeding on everyone else’s enjoyment of the show. They hate me forever now. I’m OK with that. Dres and Jarobi stuck around til the very end to let me know how much they liked the show. I asked if I could be an honorary member of the Native Tongues. They didn’t hear me ask that as it was just in my head. But they did say that we should “build” so…like…maybe they did hear it. And I guess I’m in the Native Tongues now. What…you mean I’m not?
Drove home. Saw many deer on I-95. Envisioned an untimely death. Arrived home at 4:30 AM. Told my cats about everything I had just experienced. They didn’t care. Woke up the next day feeling exhausted but glad that I only had 1 more show to do rather than 40. For those wondering, that’s the difference between doing a “tour” and just doing some shows.
The final show of this east coast excursion was in my home state of Rhode Island. Juan Deuce took to the stage first and set it off quite nicely. I had never seen him perform before but he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite New England emcees. I was glad to see that he’s able to bring the same charisma he puts into his music onto the stage. Prolyphic hit the stage next, bravely donning his Jets jersey in front of rabid Patriots fans who are already disgruntled due to…well, lets be frank…the Pats sucking this year. Ahhh…football! Anyway, we were treated to many of the new songs from an album Pro is working on with Buddy Peace. They KNOCK. Having Pilko on the MPC as his DJ works really well too. At one point, Prolyphic brought his fiance on stage to rap back-and-forth with him. Sandrine isn’t an emcee, but she fights through the nerves and makes it all work. Very fun to watch.
The RI crowd was filled with the weirdest bunch of people I’ve met at a show in a long time. By far the strangest folks out of all the shows I’ve done in recent years (inside of the US that is.) I don’t know what the hell is going on here, but I like it. Stay weird, RI. I’ll keep spreading the strange. Now go to bed, get some rest, and dream a little dream of me.
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