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Monday, November 19, 2007

LastNight: Stones Throw at the Independent

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2007 at 7:00 AM

Better than: a Stones Throw Podcast

Download: The Stones Throw Podcasts

Imagine listening to the best two-hour hip-hop mixtape, but instead seeing it live. That’s an apt way to describe Friday’s visit from the Stones Throw family as part of the 2K Sports Bounce Tour.

The show felt more like an evening of listening to really good music rather than a traditional performance. Before I go any further, let’s keep in mind that the label’s top talents -- Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf -- are DJs. And not the flashy,

tricky, DMC champ type DJs. These are dudes who have a passion and love for music. That meant an emphasis on the music itself, not showmanship.

Peanut Butter Wolf spun one of the greatest crowd pleasing mixes a devout hip-hop scholar could imagine. Wolf seamlessly threaded together some of the best Stones Throw heat from Quasimoto and Madvillain with rowdy crowd-pleasers like KRS-ONE’s “Step Into a World,” and Wu-Tang’s “Triumph.” Wolf threw down what was easily the best set of the night, as all his musical selections were backed with its own music video on the projector screen and synched up to his tables. Videos would stop and move back and forth as PB Wolf performed cuts and scratches. I can honestly say it was one of the most satisfying hip-hop mixes I’ve heard in my life, running the rap gamut with songs from the likes of the Fat Boys, Juvenile, Black Moon and A Tribe Called Quest. Wolf even boosted his cred to a million with a selection from Blahzay Blahzay, which only the most hardcore of hip-hop nerds will mention.

Madlib then closed out the show with a three-part act. First, he was backed by DJ J-Rocc as he took the mic to spit rhymes from his various projects such as Quasimoto and Jaylib. Madlib doesn’t come off as an overbearing emcee who wants to smack the listener upside the head with amazing lyrics. Instead the presentation felt more like, “These are good songs. This is how I rapped on this good song.” He then brought out drummer extraordinaire Karriem Riggins -- who’s played for the likes of J Dilla, Erykah Badu and Diana Krall -- for a few tracks off their upcoming Supreme Team album. This quickly dissolved into a jam session with Riggins behind a drum set pounding out sweet rhythms while Madlib and J-Rocc played around with recognizable trademark Dilla samples, such as the Pharcyde’s “Runnin’” and Slum Village’s “Fall in Love.” And then they ran out of time and stopped playing. That’s it.

Although the ending proved quite anti-climactic, one couldn’t doubt that they heard some awesome tunes that night. Stones Throw provided a perfect soundtrack for the evening, much like the one for NBA 2K8. I’ll take a night of good music over a performance act any day.

Critics Notebook--

Personal Bias: I am such a hip-hop nerd. Boogiemonsters, anyone? Group Home? Originoo Gunn Clappaz? PB Wolf probably knows what I'm talking about.

Random Detail: Gamers were playing NBA 2K8 on kiosks set up in the back, and they are so lucky I was too busy to unleash Kobe Bryant on that ass.

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Oscar Pascual

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