Your Old Droog, Wiki, Edan, Heems, Jay IDK & Nasty Nigel played the Knit (pics, review)
Your Old Droog, Wiki and Edan headlined last night's (6/21) BrooklynVegan-curated Red Bull Sound Select show at Knitting Factory Brooklyn with a collaborative set. The set began with just Edan on stage, spinning vinyl and rapping "I See Colours" off his classic 2005 album Beauty and the Beat. Then Wiki walked out, followed quickly by Droog, and the pair began trading verses on stuff off their collaborative What Happened To Fire? EP, Droog's Packs LP, and more, with Edan on the decks. Given the huge loss that the rap community suffered this week, they paid tribute to the late Prodigy early on in their set. Edan played "Shook Ones Part II" a cappella over the PA, with Wiki and Droog (and the crowd) chiming in on a few select lines. Droog also held a moment of silence for the fallen Mobb Deep member.
The influence of guys like Prodigy is clear on Wiki, Edan, and especially Droog, who really have an old-school approach to their sound. Edan's choice to (mostly) spin actual records makes for a noticeable contrast to today's laptop DJs, and Droog and Wiki are both classically skilled MCs. Every rhyme you heard was straight out of their mouths, no half-rapping along to backing tracks, no mumbling. As Droog himself said on stage, he's a storyteller, and that really came across at the show. Even if they were playing a song you weren't familiar with, Droog and Wiki had you listening intently to every word. "Not everyone's supposed to rap," Droog says at the end of "You Can Do It! (Give Up)." It's true, and Droog and Wiki are two of the guys who are.
A nice surprise (well, not a total surprise) came when Heems appeared on stage, first to give the crowd a sandwich and then for his verse on "Bangladesh." Thanks to Swet Shop Boys' rising fame, it's even more of a treat now to get to see Heems in an intimate venue like Knitting Factory (though you can catch a full set by him at a just-announced Brooklyn Bazaar show in August). Wiki also brought out a guest for one of his solo songs, Slicky Boy TF.
Wiki and Droog both played new stuff (Droog said he wrote one song the night before), and one of Wiki's new songs has us especially excited for his next album. They ended the night with Droog's "Help," which has verses from both Wiki and Edan, and saw Edan leaving the DJ table to come to the front of the stage for his verse. The song, which samples the "I wanna rock right now" line from "It Takes Two," led into Wiki, Droog, and Edan doing exactly that. Wiki and Droog put on long black wigs (Edan already has long rocker hair), and Edan and Droog picked up guitars for a partial cover of "The Boys Are Back In Town." Wiki sang, and then Edan and Droog did the dual leads. It was a tongue-in-cheek but climactic ending to a great set.
Opening the night was Nasty Nigel of World's Fair and Children of the Night, who also did a mini tribute to Prodigy. His fun, funny, and crowd-participation-filled set was a great way to kick off the show. His set ended with Nigel in the crowd and the whole place jumping. That energy stayed for Maryland's Jay IDK, who fit the bill well. He came out in a Reagan mask and later on did an a cappella that showed off a knack for fine bars and fine lyricism. He had the crowd howling at quite a few lines.
Sticky Dojah DJed before Nasty Nigel and between sets, and played a nice chunk of Mobb Deep after the show. Pictures of the show are in the gallery above.
Last week, Droog and Wiki joined Sean In The Wild (aka 'Hot Ones' host Sean Evans) for a $10 Bodega Challenge. Watch: