Unk T seen w/Public Enemy

pe_1.jpgUNK T was IN DA HOUSE last nite (Sunday 3-25) @ a local club to see Public Enemy. Rolling Stone included PE on their list of The Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. A seminal hip hop group for over 20 years, “their politically charged lyrics” take an “activist interest” in the concerns and needs of the African American community. They are known for “their aggressive artistic expression and behavior”, whose rhymes deplore violence, chauvinism, crime and reverse racist hate”. Even though D preaches about DA MAN enslaving the blacks, nobody apparently blamed me personally.

Public Enemy’s most “mainstream” exposure has been from writing for Spike Lee films such as “Do the Right Thing”, “He Got Game”, and “Malcolm X”. Chuck D, FlavorFlav (yep,the one an only), Professor Griff, and Terminator X took over the small venue’s stage about 11:30PM, after a series of SEVEN other acts has literally worn me down with their crotch-grabbing, baggy sweat clothes, heavy bling, mumbling into the microphone. (A highlight was the group AGO: all girl orchestra. who turned out to be hot female rappers. As Borat would say: “Aza nice!”). I really love hip hop, but in live shows, over-produced acts really stick out in their poor stagecraft, choreography, and screaming incomprehensible rhymes.

pe20logo.gifHaving said that, once PE started rapping backstage before they even came out, it became a totally different atmosphere. There was literally no seating in the venue, so everyone was jammed in an open area in front of the stage. They began with “Bring That Beat Back”,and it did. It turned out that this was the FINAL date on their 20th anniversary tour, and they wanted to finish at an intimate spot in THE ATL, and the Sugar Hill Club had it. Andre 3000 & BigBoi of Outcast, Ludachris, DJ Hurricane (the DJ for the Beastie Boys), DJ Ricky, and some relatives of James Brown were all IN DA HOUSE and came up onto the stage to be introduced. Chuck D was in fine form, and absolutely rocked the house (although their mikes were not set up correctly, and his incredible rhymes were often drowned out by the music).

As you might guess, I was one of a handful of white folks there, and had the crowd by at least two decades. Kelly made an interesting comment when I mentioned it, saying “,it’s funny,most white people I know LOVE hip hop, yet they somehow feel threatened, I guess, by the venues and don”t go to the live performances. I think it’s a carryover from the old racism in the South.” I agree. Even though the club was in the ATL Underground (known for its violence and bordering the ghetto), I felt completely safe once I got there. Everybody in line outside was really nice to me, and stuck up a conversation as we waited. It was more about “,seen PE before?” to “,where ya from”, to “want some dope” rather than “what’s an old white guy like you doing in OUR neighborhood?” Once in the club, people nodded hello, and smiled (perhaps like they do to a crippled person,with profound pity?) Anyway, the Red Stripes were cold, the music was hot, and the night was on fire!


3 thoughts on “Unk T seen w/Public Enemy

  1. Kick it to the ‘burbs, T!

    I can’t believe that Flavor Flav sold out by joining a rap group!

    CIA, FBI,
    all they tell us is lies.
    When I say it, they get alarmed
    because I’m louder than Unk Tom!


  2. Just five days befort that Carol and I went to Mezzanine, a hip club South of Market to the show described.
    The place was packed with about 200 folks, mostly twentythirtysomethings. While having a couple of free gin drinks (one of the sponsors was Damrak Amsterdam Gin) one of my colleagues mentioned Carol’s and my demographic. “If we’re not the oldest at an event, we leave,” I said.
    The show was a hoot — R. Kelly on the big screen with subtitles, the crowd singing along.

    Here’s the press release I sent out to a bunch of web event calendars:

    San Francisco Film Society presents SF360 FILM+CLUB: Trapped in the Closet Sing-Along, featuring the artistic canon of R. Kelly, at Mezzazine
    SF360 Film+Club Takes Movies Out of the Theater and Puts Them in the Club

    “To say that Trapped in the Closet is astonishing would severely undersell the sheer audacity, hilarity and wonder of this work,” says Sean Uyehara, programming associate of the Film Society. “When I learned that curator Henri Mazza will showcase Trapped within a survey of R. Kelly’s artistic canon, it made me want to cry tears of joy.”

    Trapped in the Closet Sing-Along, an exploration of the artistry of rapper R. Kelly, is guest curated by Henri Mazza of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema of Austin, Texas, who will be hosting the show. The program will begin with a rapping contest, followed by screenings of early R. Kelly videos including Sex Me, Bump and Grind and Step in the Name of Love; and the first 12 chapters of R. Kelly’s astonishing epic video Trapped in the Closet; an entertaining remake of Trapped made for a high school class project; and The World’s Greatest. Highlighting and contextualizing the program will be a very special pre-recorded “live-via-satellite” interview with R. Kelly describing the real artistic meaning behind his oeuvre.

    Doors open at Mezzanine at 7:00 pm, program starts at 7:30 pm.
    Tickets are $8.00 at the door and $5.00 if reserved in advance by emailing info@sf360.org
    Must be 21+ to attend.


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