Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cormega Gets Crowd Moving at First-Ever Bay Area Show

Posted By on Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:27 PM


June 17, 2010
The Rockit Room
Better Than: South Bronx. South, South Bronx.

The latest in Sellassie's on-going hip-hop series We All We Got brought Cormega to the Richmond District for his first Bay Area appearance ever. Rockit Room's upstairs venue was a fragrant hotbox stuffed with partygoers of all shapes and stripes. In between sets, Sellassie DJ'd, encouraging the crowd, "Don't be afraid to dance."

And I'll be damned--they did just that.

Whodini's "One Love" had people actin' fools and getting stupid. Hall and Oates had big dudes dropping their guards and singing, "I can't go for that." Much respect to Sellassie for bringing together a large, enthusiastic, and fun crowd.

And another dose of respect for bringing through one of New York's finest storytellers.

Cormega grew up in the Queensbridge Projects, a hostile environment that has produced some of the greatest emcees. Cormega first gained notoriety when Queensbridge neighbor Nas shouted him out on Illmatic while he was in prison. Nas nudged him toward a Def Jam contract, but it only resulted in conflict and a shelved record, and he's been repping himself with Legal Hustle Records for a decade.

Last night, the fans let him know that they had hung on every word since his tumultuous Def Jam tenure. Though a light crowd tepidly welcomed Cormega, they quickly filled in and made up for lost time. By the time Cormega's Bay Area colleague The Jacka accompanied 'Mega and checked the pulse of the various area codes, the crowd was wild. Sellassie even had to multi-task, passing out mics while trying to keep people off the stage.


What sets Cormega apart from most street lyricists is that his violent narratives don't just report the Five Ws (who, what, when, where, why), they explore the stories' underlying themes--heady matters like betrayal and redemption--with honest and humility. Cormega's steely eyes cut right through the smoke as he alternated between casual recitation on "R U My Nigga" and a rabble-rousing approach on "Get Out My Way." He also pleased the crowd with a pair of acapellas.

At the show's finish, some ravenous fans started shouting for "Testament," off of 'Mega's previously-shelved The Testament. 'Mega admitted that he didn't have the track with him, but he let the most rabid fan spit as much of the lyrics as he knew--he got through nearly a verse before stumbling. And it looked like 'Mega couldn't have been happier with his first visit to a Bay Area stage.

Random detail: Cormega pointed out that another famous Queensbridge native also put on a strong performance last night: Ron Artest of the LA Lakers.

By the way: Sellassie is coproducing a Planet Asia show at Club Six tonight.

Follow us @SFAllShookDown

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

David MacFadden-Elliott


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"