This is how we get down when we get down
Avalon Bar and Nightclub805 15th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Define Quality hip-hop?:
Asian and American is hot. Yup. So, yeah, I see eye to eye with Bay Area rappers Koji and Hotpa, and the very lovely female chanteuse Yukie, who were onstage at Blue Lamp chanting “Asian and American, we hot,” to an international-vibe backbeat in front of a nearly sold-out crowd at last Thursday’s Quality, a weekly hip-hop night at Blue Lamp put on by local promoter Rich Wing.
The music at Quality is more conscious and underground than mainstream or even Bay Area, such as hyphy or, say, E-40 (who I’m told signed autographs at Dimple Records on Arden Way last week for not the two hours advertised, but six).
Anyway, the CUF is a prime example of the hip-hop virtues Quality hopes to espouse. They’re underground. Their funk-infused raps are fun, positive, but shoot straight and don’t glorify any bullshit, so to speak. Perhaps CUF’s Pete B., sporting a long, Egyptianesque beard, black-and-neon-green Vans and holding a Budweiser bottle with the suds overflowing, says it best: “Fuck the dumb shit / love the CUF shit.”
Last Thursday, DJ Mad G didn’t man the turntables, but it didn’t matter. N8 the Gr8, RJ and Crush joined Pete, and the old-school rhymes killed. Again, to quote CUF, on “Blappin”: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it / if it ain’t dope, don’t mix it.”
Up next was Chase Moore, who says he used to listen to the CUF in the eighth grade. And while Mystik Journeymen headlined, the night’s undercard of Moore and rapper Cawzlos, with DJ Oasis manning the beats, weighed heavy. Those dudes don’t mess around.
Cawzlos, who plugged his grill skills at My BBQ Spot, had me cracking up, interjecting every so often during Moore’s verses, shooting an incredulous “You’re a rapper?” at the tall, Caucasian, wire-rimmed-glasses-wearing Moore, who sported a plaid hoodie and jeans.
Don’t be fooled: Moore fires off burly, thoughtful, metrical, pissed-off freestyles, like on “Letter to the Labels,” an angsty diatribe on the mainstream music industry—“The blueprint to success is shut yo mouth and accept this.” Cawzlos also raps on the track. The song ends with both Moore and Cawzlos’ middle fingers up in the air.
“Labels” is on Moore and DJ Oasis’ new mix tape, The Trailer, which drops under the banner of Moore and Cawzlos’ LMNH label, in conjunction with local hip-hop culture site www.themashup.net. Got that? This 18-track release is a preview of Moore’s forthcoming album, Moore to Chase, but it feels almost like a legit album—except for the jokey moments, such as the burnt-out Dolby blast on the “Intro.”
But that’s as far as the cheese goes, as would attest last Thursday’s crowd of just a click more than 200. Good turnout.
Out front afterward, it was a veritable who’s-doing-what moment. Wendy Thomas, who runs the entrance and helps book Blue Lamp now, says to check out the Deadbolt show on April 17. And J-Intell himself, who was chilling out front with former Bay Area, now Elk Grove rapper Jimboy Slim, says he’s got a new studio C at his Omina Laboratories.
Scoop, scoop. Here’s more dish: Moore and Cawzlos, they’ve got a show with Method Man on Monday, April 19, at Venue (1417 R Street; 6 p.m.; $25 in advance, $32 at the door; with DJ Mr. Vibe). This week’s Quality at Blue Lamp, on Thursday, April 8, features SouLifted and DJ Raymo (9 p.m., $5); and on April 15, A-Plus, the Bayliens, Knobody!!!, CloakedCharacters, Another Rap Group and DJ Pete Nice will keep the beats fresh (9 p.m., $10). (Nick Miller)
Give up your Sunday night for Mistah F.A.B., who’ll headline Avalon Nightclub (805 15th Street; 9 p.m.; $10) with openers Husalah and Ray Dogg. If you’ve never seen Oakland-based F.A.B.’s tenory, battle-style raps live, get a taste and check this new Terroreyes.tv video at http://vimeo.com/10096741. (N.M.)