Dubbed The Takeover, a medium sized gathering of loyal fans gathered to soak in first hand a showcase of some of the lyrical talent that dominates Jamaica’s Hip Hop landscape, on December 15, 2012 at the “Funky Munky” located at 17 Holborn Road, New Kingston.
Billed for the premiere event were the likes of Kabaka Pyramid, The Sickest Drama, Five Steez and Nomad Carlos. With heavy promotion on social sites such as twitter, I was as intrigued and curious to see what these lyrical giants had to offer, this being my virgin initiation attending a yard hop show. My appetite having already been wet with War for Peace and the newly introduced Me against the Grain by Five Steez and Nomad Carlos respectively, it was time to see who would deliver in live and living colour.
A professionally dressed stage with only the speakers was the setting where the “battle” would begin and it did at minutes after 11 with Nomad Carlos, mic in hand and supporting beats. He opened with “Conquer” from his mix tape and quickly followed with the catchy “Live Good”. Then, he introduced the reggae mix “Time”. As each song was performed I became very aware of the fact that based on the little I had seen, there was proof enough that the show was of a high caliber.
It was also apparent to me that the genre is seemingly unappreciated but blessed with gifted artists. It sank in that “time will move any mountain” and I rested in the fact that at least with a show like this persons would be introduced to yet another rising example of our young people doing the seemingly difficult with much commitment. An encouragement I thought and a spear to those quick to condemn certain artistic expression.
Nomad Carlos continued his set with “Murder Music”, collaborated with voice of Barrington Levy; Five Steez joined him on stage briefly to perform the lively “Aww Snap”. Steez added a brisk and light energy to the stage and it was good to see both artists work the mic in a genre where “beef” usually separates artists.
At the end of the set, Nomad Carlos was applauded and he exited to an intermission with tracks from contemporaries Rick Ross and Fifty Cent providing the vibe for the crowd to intermingle. The host then introduced Five Steez and as quickly as he left, he re-entered the stage delivering “Yard Nigga Rap” and “Rebel Music” in fine style.
“Slaving on the Plantation” touched a relatable note and chord with the audience. I was appreciative as I think most that are in the fight to survive the corporate jungle / hustle, not necessarily happy but just to survive and “pay student loans”. Heads nodding and “woots” from the crowd signaled a warm reception.
Steez moved effortlessly through “Wanna be Free” and “Crown me King”. Synonymous with what little I have observed of him, on his grind, he made time, in between rhymes, to promote his album and that of the other merchandise available. With energy now in full gear, introductions came for the entrance of The Sickest Drama.
With explosive lyrics and potent content, he proved that he is a true veteran. To the new ears, The Sickest Drama delivered mature and expressive rhymes and definitely some of the “sickest” lyrics, leaving no doubt about his ability to get the audience to pay attention. In my book, an overall solid showing, he brought no drama but was on point as one of Yard Hop’s first pioneers.
With his exit came the entrance of the upcoming lyrical King Kabaka Pyramid. Kabaka P opened his set with the infamous rap infused; Equinoxx produced “King Kabaka (Run the Place) “to the delight of patrons.
Coming in hot, Kabaka continued with “The Sound”, “Rebel Music” and “Prophecy” "Betta Mus Come"(performed with Koro Fyah), mixing and infusing the roots reggae influence into his performance. This was a natural fit for the King and a perfect combination which added the extra shine to the puritanical Yard Hop evening. He also performed songs from his Transition Volume 1 and 2 albums which showcased his versatility and also early years in the music business.
Kabaka kept the crowd rocking till the wee hours of almost 2 am. His performance brought the curtains down on an accurate and proper evening of Yard Hop. The evening was filled to lyrical capacity with four of the best in business. I am sure those who were present, will agree in saluting these pioneers as they blaze the trail for authentic music. Give thanks to all the artists who made it special and represented Yard well. Live music is alive and well and isn’t it good to know.
Till next time, One love and always remember to give thanks.