The people got down last night at Casselmans for the Nipsey Hussle show, and not only did the West Coast performer bring out damn near every Crip in this city, but he performed for about twenty minutes, not nearly enough time to make up for the colossally bad rap that took place on the stage before he finally did.
KDJ Above, acted as deejay and quasi-host for the evening, playing a ton of hardcore rap, and even a Nate Dogg tribute, all while facilitating the artists who were scheduled to perform. As is typical, most of the guys rapped over their vocals entirely and were more interested in bopping around the stage to the music rather than entertaining the crowd.
The group led by producer TC Crook wasn't too shabby; the beats were, of course, on point. The crew apparently had individual sets, but chose to pool their time into one set, making it seem as though they were on stage much longer than necessary. An appearance by Dyalekt with Mid Wes T was a good look, though.
Casselman's, as a venue tends to segregate different moments in a party. What's going down on one side of the bar, for instance, may not necessarily be happening on the other side. Hence, while a solid amount of people (mostly dressed in blue flannel) were jamming to the openers, a snooze fest was happening on the other side.
EC3 gave a valiant performance over some pretty tight beats, but, again, the rapping over pre-recorded vocals slightly ruined it. The lyrics the duo were spitting were in perfect time with the music, however, helping the group's case somewhat.
Young AP of the Box Boys swooped in and saved the day rocking his latest track, "Smoke Tour," and looking ultra laid back on the stage. His rap skills are stellar, but there was just something missing from each opener's ability to move the crowd.
The room was packed at this point. So the people were there, but either everybody was too cool to get down, or the thick waves of smoke in the air sedated the crowd entirely. As the clock struck midnight and Nipsey still hadn't taken the stage, D'Girl was seen sauntering through the crowd preparing to take the stage with Mr. Midas. I sent up a quick prayer to the gods of party rocking, and moved closer to catch the set.
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Thankfully, there were enough cats in the room that were familiar with Midas' repertoire that his set didn't completely deadpan. There was a considerable amount of energy rolling through the crowd after the set when it became clear Mr. Hussle was on deck.
No exaggeration: I blinked, and not only was Nipsey on stage, but there were no less than twenty people on stage with him. In fact, twenty might be an understatement, especially if you count the go-go girls dressed in lingerie and Gorilla Hustle Entertainment (the Nipsey marketing brand) T-shirts gyrating in the corner on the stage.
At one point, the MC asked for the stage to be cleared, but what really happened was folks made a bigger hole for him to move around in and largely stayed the hell put. He was on stage for all of fifteen minutes, playing a few songs from The Marathon, but the highlight was the vocal stylings over MGMT's "Electric Feel." After his brief set, Hussle received raucous applause and exited the stage to chants of "a-RIP," a common salutation amongst the sea of blue.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: At heart, I'm an East Coast girl, so I couldn't really get with Nipsey at first, on principle. He won me over with the "Electric Feel" cover and his dynamism on stage. Random Detail: I've never seen so many hues of blue in one place... maybe I have. By the Way: Although the show itself was mostly incident free, there were definitely what sounded like shots being fired within earshot of Casselman's after the show.