GZA (The Genius) & DJ Muggs In Powder Blue

grandmasters

That’s right, I said powder blue. Saturday night, I caught the Grandmaster show at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC. I hadn’t experienced DJ Muggs live before, so I didn’t know what to expect from him other than some bumping bass and high pitched wails. I mean, basically, could he move the crowd in unexpected ways?

The answer? No, not really.

After getting us fired up with some Cypress Hill classics, he kinda came off a bit rehearsed and sluggish. His intro loop and beat for GZA to hit the stage with must’ve repeated itself fifty times, and it was a vocal sample, so whatever meta-context it held was lost after the first eight repetitions.

Now GZA… well, that’s a completely different story.

gza

GZA rocked the show. He jumped from their new shit, back to his old shit, back to Wu shit. I mean, he got the crowd hyped so much, at times I felt like I was watching Geldof control the audience within the movie The Wall (without the fascism, of course). I know Wu is an iconic act, but these kids were younger than ten when Enter the Wu Tang – 36 Chambers dropped in ’93. I dug the vibe; I guess it just felt a bit surreal.

In between flexin’ his skills, GZA paused a few times to school the crowd on the meaning of Wu-Tang, the social importance of lyricism and the enormity of ODB (RIP)—his tribute acapella flow to ODB was amazing, as he stressed the realness of the man that so often got twisted in the glare of the media; his testimony brought the crowd to a respectful silence.

GZA brought it hard, but also brought a mature flow and presence to the stage, which was a perfect contrast to the young-buck style of Kaze (put on by 9th Wonder), the local kid that opened up for him. After rocking the mic with the flavor of a master lyricist—hitting topical, emotional and stylistic memes—Kaze brought his boys onstage with him, introducing them to the audience by telling us to picture them on his grandmother’s porch. They didn’t get on the mic, but backed him up with energy, shooting the crowd with their cell phone cameras, posing and basically, enjoying their fifteen minutes.

kaze

Kaze’s flow was tight, but he saved his best for a 2 minute acapella drop on the US occupation of Iraq, George Bush and the lessons of karma. The entire crowd went nuts for his words that cut like a knife through the bullshit propaganda of the times. Keep an eye out for this kid.