Since I’m in my final term of school and will probably be working full time next year, I probably won’t have another summer like the one that just ended. I went to a lot of concerts between May-August, so I thought I’d highlight the top 5.
5. Apathy & Celph Titled on the Demigodz KILLmatic tour (@ Nocturne Nightclub in Toronto)
This show is how I celebrated my birthday this year. KILLmatic is probably one of the top 5 best rap albums to come out in 2013, but I was a fan of these guys long before that. Even though the whole crew couldn’t join them on tour, they still have enough [underground] hits between the two of them to rock a show for hours. They didn’t need hours though, because there were many opening acts that were dope. There were some local acts like Marmel ENT (who I would see more than once this summer) and Skeleton Krew, as well as some west-coast Canadian acts like Indelible and Transit. I got free cds from a bunch of them for being in the front row 🙂
When Apathy & Celph Titled finally hit the stage, they went through all their hits either as solo artists, with Army Of The Pharaohs, or on the new Demigodz album. These guys can rap their asses off too, performing every verse with minimal use of hypemen. They even rapped some never-before-heard verses that might appear on future songs. What’s even nicer is I got to meet them after the show, and they gave ME compliments rather than my usual “hey I’m a huge fan, that was an awesome show, can I get a pic with you?” [fanboy smile]. No matter how hardcore they get on their records, they’re real class acts and are very humble in person.
4. Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko on the Something Else tour (@ The Rockpile in Toronto)
This was the last show I went to in August, and I know it’s surprising someone with the reputation Tech N9ne has isn’t in the top 3. This was the very first stop on their Canadian tour to promote Tech’s Something Else album. The opening acts were cool, I saw the Marmel Entertainment crew for a second time as well as Molly Gruesome (who I had seen at another show on this list). I was checking out the girl in Marmel before the show thinking I knew her from somewhere, but didn’t recognize her until she got on stage. I realized while the DJ was playing songs between sets that Tech N9ne fans aren’t all into hip hop that much; he was playing Criminology and I was like the only one throwing up the Wu-Tang “W” (got a few head-nods though).
When Tech and Krizz got on stage there was a lot of pushing and shoving in the crowd, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Tech N9ne is a true professional when it comes to performing. He raps every verse at the same speed he recorded them at, and Krizz Kaliko’s extra vocals make every song even better. Tech dove deep into his catalogue and as for the new album, only did a small handful of the new songs. This show was dope as expected, the next ones on my list were “something else” though.
3. R.A. The Rugged Man on the Legends Never Die tour (@ The Casbah in Hamilton)
Some equipment issues may have hindered the show, but this one was unique in that it was so small and intimate that you felt like you were friends with everyone in the building. My homie Crayzdom was one of the opening acts; I had previously met him online through a community radio station that played both our songs once. It was also the first time I saw Molly Gruesome perform as well as Lady ASG. Another special thing about this show was I made some friends before the doors even opened, some who rapped, and they encouraged me to get on stage for the open-mic cypher at the start of the show. It was the first time in years I had rapped on any stage and I even screwed up one of my lines, but I still got a lot of props afterwards.
The thing about Rugged Man is he’ll keep the show going no matter what. Even if equipment is messing up and it takes a while to get the beat playing, he’ll still be cracking jokes or giving some insight on the song he’s about to perform. This is another dude who can rap his ass off too; his live flows are exactly like the original recordings, which is crazy because he has the type of flow that will make you want to give up rapping because you can’t compete. The stage was so low that he’d even just walk into the crowd at times and we’d form a circle around him. I got to meet him after the show and he’s a real chill dude, contrary to some of the crazy rumors/stories that get spread around.
2. Method Man & Redman (@ The Sound Academy in Toronto)
These guys are legends for a reason. It’s been about three years since we’ve gotten new material from either of them, yet they can still go into any city and fill up a venue any time. Between their solo hits, Method Man’s work with the Wu-Tang Clan, or their work together, they can keep a show rocking for hours. I don’t even remember who the opening acts were (other than Rich Kidd) because Mef and Red brought THAT much more energy than anyone else that night. Even though they don’t “practice” their choreography, you can tell it’s been mastered over decades of stage experience between the two of them. With hits like Time 4 Sum Aksion, M.E.T.H.O.D. Man, How High Part 1 and 2, and Da Rockwilder, it should be expected that the crowd is going to get crazy and multiple mosh pits might break out.
I clearly wasn’t thinking straight, because I wore my glasses instead of my contacts and got them crushed while catching Redman during his crowd-surfing. I still had a great time though. And yes, Method Man and Redman still pull off the crowd-walking and stage-diving effortlessly even in their 40’s. They dive into crowds better than Jay-Z dives into swimming pools (haaa!!!)
1. Killer Mike & El-P on the Run The Jewels tour (@ The Hoxton in Toronto)
I don’t care how much hype Kanye West and Jay-Z got over their albums, Run The Jewels was THE biggest thing in hip-hop this summer. A free album with one of the most anticipated collaborations living up to the hype, and I don’t know one person who heard this album and didn’t like it. This wasn’t just a Run The Jewels show, this was more like a Run The Jewels festival (even though it was in a small venue). You had Kool A.D. and Despot opening for them, then Killer Mike came out and did a solo set. During his set he did some of his old hits as well as songs off his 2012 album, R.A.P. Music, and El-P came out to do his guest verse on Butane. Then Killer Mike went backstage and El-P came out to do a solo set. El-P did hits off his I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead and Cancer 4 Cure albums, and both Killer Mike and Despot came back out to perform Tougher Colder Killer with him. Then he went backstage for a break, and then came back out with Killer Mike for their Run The Jewels set (wearing actual 36″ chains)
It was like seeing 3 shows in one! The crowd was awesome, the music was great, and Killer Mike and El-P performed the new songs damn near perfectly. I also got to meet El-P after the show and I got one of their pre-autographed posters from the tour, #14 out of the 200 of them made 🙂 Sorry I don’t have a video uploaded from this, the sound quality wasn’t good enough b/c I was right next to a speaker.
For more videos from concerts I’ve attended this year, check out the new youtube channel I made! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjiIhS7fd3t1ZutK1va7w8g?feature=watch