Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Ghostface & Raekwon @ KoKo last night
First thing's first. I'm very happy and very privileged to have been able to see Ghostface and Raekwon performing 'Only Built 4 Cuban Linx' in London last night and I'm sure I'm not the only person who felt that way. But with Wu Tang it's never over until it's over so on the journey up I was absolutely resigned to the fact that not only was Ghostface not going to be there but that Raekwon probably wouldn't be there either. The fact that I got in with no fuss and didn't have to stand through poorly received support acts (people came for Wu Tang, unless you've got Method Man back there don't bother) made me more hopeful. When Raekwon came out I was more excited by the fact that J-Love was DJ'ing, don't ask me why, he's just one of the few DJ's I've followed in the last few years, god knows I don't follow Alan Matthewmatics. My initial fears appeared to be founded when Rae was tailed by a very nondescript weed carrier who may or may not have been in that awful group Ice Water. Rae jumped into a few '36 Chambers' classics including his verse from 'C.R.E.A.M' where he says he smoked crack, a line that Shyheim ended up making a whole diss song about not too long ago. One of my other fears about tonight was that Raekwon might want to try some 'Immobilarity' and 'Lexx Diamond' material. He did, although I shouted "No new shit!" I was drowned out by some people who I guess are bigger Wu Tang fans than me who seemed to know every word.
Rae's warm-up dragged a bit before he introduced Ghostface. Now let's get this straight, Ghostface could well be the greatest who ever did it, no gas, the guy has consistently released great albums (although that last one was a bit...) and has the charisma of Big Daddy Kane in his prime, he's tailed tonight by his own set of weed carriers, I recognise one of them, he's Shawn Wiggs from Theodore Unit, he's white, it's kinda obvious who he is, the other one? Not so much. Ghost runs through 'Fishscale' classics, 'Ironman' classics and a couple of numbers from 'Supreme Clientele' before starting his ritualistic controlling of the light man's evening "We want the red light. Just the red light. Turn off all these other shits" they didn't do the whole of the 'OB4CL' intro which was honestly a disappointment to me "You know we had the baddest motherfucking unit back in the days kid".
It's worth noting at this point that some of those instrumentals were really not designed to be performed live in such a big venue, in a few instances I found myself waiting for the first 4-8 bars of a song before I could actually pinpoint what the fluck it was and believe me I know 'OB4CL' inside out. On principal I refused to throw my "W" up, I might have been the only person in the venue who didn't but it's whatever. I saw one guy running around before the show eating a Fruesli Breakfast Bar, at a fucking Wu Tang show. Times have changed. I did shout ODB during the staple Rest In Peace section though. Half way through the album as if it was an old purple tape Ghostface ordered the lights up and invited 5 or so young rappers to the stage to do 40 seconds of rap and see how the crowd reacted, of course they were all pretty shocking but the guy who did win I would say was probably the best, if only for the fact that he sort of looked like Skinnyman. A pleasant surprise during this half time interval Ghost & Rae were joined on stage by De La Soul who were in London that night because they have a show the next night at The Forum, they got a good reaction but I kinda felt bad when Ghost said that everybody who's at tonight's show has to go to the De La Show, the response was sorta muted, to be fair though they'd just paid £18 which is like $400 or some shit, god knows how much one of De La's monthly London shows cost, we're in a credit crunch after all. Ghost and Rae pass on their condolences to Corrine Baily Rae after her husband died of a drug overdose, while I believe that Ghost is friends with Corrine (I've read that somewhere too) Raekwon's claim that "That's my homegirl. What's her name? Corrine? Correen? Yo that's my homegirl" seemed forced.
Back into the album and Ghost wants the blue lights, Raekwon is looking a bit tired at this point and starts missing lines in his own verses forcing Ghostface to up his overlay game to a ridiculous extent to compensate. Raekwon goes accapella on his verse from 'Rainy Days' (video above) before everything simmers a bit, to finish off the night J-Love throws on little parts of a bunch of random Wu Tang tracks, the majority of which were from 'Forever' which sucked. Ghost and Rae perform 'Triumph' for some reason and get down to U-God's verse before stopping, I think everybody in the venue was confused by that. We wanted to hear U-God damn it! While J-Love packs up his gear Raekwon throws that new turd burger that has been listed online as 'Necro' but is apparently called 'The G-Hide' and is produced by Necro, he tells us it's from 'OB4CL2' and it's proof that the album really is coming, Rae raps along to it for the first however many bars before getting as bored as the rest of us, Ghostface drinks Marks & Spencers Juice on stage and does not pretend to know his lyrics, which I appreciated.
If you're into 'Only Built 4 Cuban Linx' like I am then you should definitely try to catch the show when it passes by your town, hopefully Raekwon will have shaken off the rustiness a little bit and maybe J-Love will leave his fog horn sound affect at home. If so you're in for a great night.
BONUS VIDEO: That Shyheim record I was talking about. I wonder where Shy would be if he got on Jay-Z's first album like he was supposed to?