Monday, January 31, 2011

More to Nappy Roots concert than meets the eye

Hip-hop was in a state of transition in the early part of the 2000s. The gangsta rap of the 90s was ready to die, and what it gave way to was in many ways completely horrible and disgusting. Around that time, Southern rap started to get big, and it produced a lot of what I would put into that horrible and disgusting category.

But I did become a big fan of Nelly and by extension, the St. Lunatics (okay, so technically, I guess Nelly is midwest/St. Louie rap, but same difference). Ludacris started getting big around the time I started losing interest in the scene, and of course you would have T.I. later.

Nappy Roots left the crowd wanting more at Gilligan's in Murfreesboro.

But a group everyone forgets about is Nappy Roots. They hit it big with that song "Awnaw" and at the time I absolutely hated that song. But over time my mood would change. I'm not sure if hearing their song played over and over on Madden 03 had anything to do with it, but eventually I came around to Nappy Roots.

So when I heard they were playing at Gilligan's in Murfreesboro, I just had to make the trip. On January 21 I arrived there with my lady, not quite sure what to expect but hoping for the best. What we got was certainly not that.

To illustrate why, I have to tell you a little about the venue. Until recently, Gilligan's was known as 527, and every time I'd been there it seemed like a down to earth, no nonsense music venue. Sure, there were people there to have a good time, but it was also a great place to just catch some bands.

Gilligan's appears to be aiming for a different clientele altogether. As soon as I stepped in the door, all I could see was an army of wannabe frat boy douchebags outfitted in conformist plaid shirts and drunk bitches stumbling over the table we were seated at.

Great. I'm surrounded by the stereotypical frat/sorority college crowd, but now I feel even more out of place Laser lights washed over the joint. Yup, the venue I once knew and loved had gone from being a indie music focused venue to a generic club.

However, I was determined to make the best of the evening as I could. The first performer was This Is Art, a DJ who played a bass guitar on stage. I liked how you could feel the music as he plucked the strings of his bass.

For an opening act, I figured he would get about 20 or 30 minutes. I was wrong.

This Is Art played for close to an hour and half. I know some people would be fine with seeing a DJ play that long, but an hour and a half is absurd for an opening act. Maybe he wasn't meant as an opening act. I couildn't find much info beforehand regarding the show or the venue, so I had no way to figure out what to expect. I was digging him at first, but halfway through his set I was beyond sick of seeing him.

I was hoping to get to see Nappy Roots once he finished, but no. After he left, he gave way to another lame ass DJ, even lamer than the one before him. With a name like Wick-It the Instigator, you can tell he's going to be annoying as all fuck. He stepped on stage shouting a string of profanities for no apparent reason. I guess he was trying to get the drunkest of the drunk into it.

I was sick and tired of the DJs. All I wanted to see was Nappy Roots. I was not getting my wish. Musically, this DJ seemed like he was into sampling a little bit more than the guy before him. I heard the Big Tymers "Still Fly," followed by a quick Ludacris sample. At this point what I was thinking was: if he breaks out the Lil' John, I swear to God, I'm going to snap this guy's turntables in half.

One thing he did toward the end of his set that I liked was that he played an electronic-ized riff of Metallica's "Seek and Destroy," and would then sample the guitar riff from the acutal song alongside it.

By this point I was not enjoying myself at all. And I was getting pissed how each performer kept hyping Nappy Roots. It went like this:

Lame ass DJ: Are you ready for some Nappy motherfucking Roots?
Everyone: Hell yeah!

An hour later. Still no Nappy Roots.

After the Wick-It guy, a rapper/emcee named LAWS came up.. He wasn't bad, and was certainly a welcome change from 2 1/2 hours of  DJs. Flow wise, he wasn't bad but he wasn't the greatest either. What I wasn't fond of was that he kept spouting the line, "When I say 'love,' you say 'hip-hop!'"



Sorry, but the whole gag of "When I say [insert word here], you say [insert word]" is one of the most cliched gimmicks in the book. Show me some originality.

Finally, more than three hours after the show first started, Nappy Roots finally took the stage. I didn't get to see much of them because it was after midnight when they went on and we had an hour drive back home.

But there's no denying their awesomeness.

At this point, the entire place was totally packed and rocking. There were probably 500 people in the entire joint. Each of the guys had great stage presence, and really knew how to speak to a crowd.

Musically, much of their material was really hooky, whchi was great for getting the audience pumped. Then they would complement that by having one of their guys take center stage and just spit. This worked to perfection on "Po' Folks" which was pretty much the highlight of my night. The guys all seemed like solid emcees and rappers as well.

So, in retrospect, Nappy Roots was pretty awesome. The rest of the night was total balls, that even 20 minutes of Nappy Roots couldn't entirely make up for. Three hours is entirely too long to have to wait for a headlining act, and when I go to see rap, I'm not there to try to see a bunch of DJs.

Sorry, but it's just not really my thing. I thought Nappy Roots was great, but I wish there could have been a little better distribution on info on the part of the venue or the concert staff.

1 comment:

indierockinacardigansweater said...

I completely agree. This night was HORRIBLE.....I wish I had been in a better mood, because after Nappy Roots came on, I was into it...oh well. I'm still sorry I was a party pooper.