Monday, July 27, 2009

Smiff N Wessun & Black Moon rule.

The Black Moon/Smiff N Wessun show was great. Here's the original copy of my review, originally published at eyeweekly.com:

Black Moon with Smiff N Wessun, Marco Polo & Torae @ Opera House, Thursday July 23rd. Editorial Rating: *****
The atmosphere at last night's Opera House 'Tribute To The Classics' headlined by Brooklyn's Black Moon and Smiff N Wessun (AKA The Cocoa Brovaz), likely because those who know the group and their label Duck Down, know. With a Toronto fanbase that seems to have infinite respect for the groups, with a large portion of that infinite faith stemming from their debuts-Black Moon's Enta Da Stage pretty much solidified the bellowed rap chorus as a song mechanism, and Smiff N Wessun's Dah Shinin' was a dank exercise in steller MC back and forth over undeniable beats from Duck Down's in-house masters Da Beatminerz. After a spirited set from Marco Polo & Torae that got the crowd involved and further amped, Evil Dee launched into a DJ set that seamlessly led to Smiff N Wessun hitting the stage with Timz N Hood Chek, Dah Shinin's leadoff track. Evil Dee shone as much as anyone that night, using hiphop stalwart beats to great effect-the second verse of Timz N Hood Chek was backed by the Deep Cover beat, and he would use split second snippets of Welcome 2 Jamrock and Ante Up to incite the crowd. He even scratched with his face during his intro set. Smiff N Wessun parlayed the chemistry they showed on wax into their live performance, with slightly changed up flows that didn't take away from the songs, and excited demeanors that felt genuine. After several songs from them, Buckshot hit the stage, displaying an energy that many MCs could learn from. He started off with Powerful Impak, Enta Tha Stage's lead track, and kept going, unafraid to freestyle when the moment took him, and going back and forth across the stage with the energy of a stoned-via-vaporizer Michael Phelps. Trading stage time with Smiff N Wessun proved simple-the groups came together for songs like Black Smiff N Wessun and U Da Man(which also featured an appearance from Duck Down CEO Big Dru Ha and his revered 'I always get the pussy 'cuz I tell 'em that I'm Spanish' line), and each acted as hypemen for the other during off-time. Buckshot also ripped through a verse from Black Moon MC 5 Ft. Accelerator, who was absent due to border problems. The venue was packed and happy, with the high point being Sound Bwoy Buriel, which many in the crowd rapped along with, and which basically had as much impact on their fans as Bruce Springsteen performing Born To Run would on have on his. Ending with an impassioned freestyle from Buckshot critiquing Autotune's distinct, often unacknowledged similarity to the work of Roger Troutman, and an exit to the strains of Hey Joe, this was an intimate and brilliant celebration of important works in hip-hop.

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