Get up Stand up Tour – Road to the Rhythms part 1
As I’m writing this blog, I’m looking out my window in Brooklyn, Labor Day weekend. The sun is shining and after getting my thoughts clear enough through the nagging sinus cold and jet lag I want to wrap up what this amazing tour was, is and means. Again, for my Face Book People click this link to get the video Straight Organics
The second week of tour would prove to be are most rigorous. After the love fest that was Hip Hop Kemp Rabbi, Far and I got a van ride the few hours to Prague. We were greeted by Kuzhell and Loki and subsequently passed out for the day. Hip Hop Kemp took everything out of us, the last night with Marc Hype and Jim Dunloop was of historic proportions with the energy given and expended. Now, we were about to embark on a four show, six day excursion that would take us from Prague, back to Berlin. We woke up Monday morning refreshed (or so we thought….more on that shortly) and ready for our first rounds of promo, which began at Radio DJ with the lovely host Mary. The Prague leg of our week involved us celebrating the single release of Phillip TBC’s “Audible Thoughts” album on DaSka Records. Our history with TBC and DaSka records goes back several years starting with Rabbi’s first trips to Prague. Rabbi is the featured artist on the single “Czech Yourself” (I also have a track on the album, “We R Machines”, and Fresh Roots will be getting you the details on the release….) and for the next several days the mission was to get the word out.
Mary who is a talented musician in her own right (electric violin) did a great job of giving us not the standard fare of questions, and it was a very insightful interview. Needless to say, we made plans to rock with her on Thursday at Chapeau Rouge (Red Hat). After the radio session, we all split up as I made my way to do a Drum n Bass set with Ghonzales, aka “Honza” on Radio 23 at the Cross Club. Honza is the radio host for Radio Wave in Prague, and we had bonded on our last trip here. The Cross Club is a mix of the Matrix and the Borg. It has four levels that are decked out with moving lights and mechanical parts, with what looks like open board circuitry and tubing. Imagine the paneling taken off the inside of a spaceship leaving the wires, pipes, tubes and screws exposed, that is Cross Club.
Its always fun to rock Jungle, and Ghonzales had some nice atmospheric rhythms. The next goal is to get Black Opz overseas. From there I raced back to rock with 3P at “Freestyle Nandej” at Pantheon (the Prague version of Freestyle Mondays). Our boy Dowis had re-vamped Pantheon since the year prior that I had seen it (Farbeon went on tour with Core Rhythm in February and passed through while Rabbi and I were touring Brazil….). A flat projector screen in the main seating area, that had a video relay from the stage area, new art, fresh coat of paint and a hotter sound system were all pleasant surprises (see the Kemp video in the recap blog for a view of the spot). In the time we’ve been in Prague it has been clear that their fervor for hip hop is intense. It is a relatively young scene not only in age but within the culture itself. They are still hungry, and excited to hear dope flows, and raw beats. We were only too happy to oblige.
As the showcase for the evening, the stage was ours to rip apart. Prior to us performing, they had an open mic sign up were many of the up and coming talents in the city come to rock. The differences between the US and Czech versions of Freestyle Mondays (The legendary seven year open mic hosted, and started by our peoples Mariella, Illspokinn and the band the XO….) is that the DJ runs the beats, and it is not “cipher” style were the mic is passed. You have a two minute time limit, unless you are killing it, which then you get to keep rocking or if you are wack, a “stop” sign is administered and the mic is taken….(for those of you up on your hip hop history, the legendary Good Life Café open mic in L.A. was actually run in a very similar fashion…..) . The premier spitter of the night was a young fourteen (yes FOURTEEN) year old girl, by name of Sharkass. She had all the flows and the style. It is a challenge to make the Czech language sound super fluid over beats, and this young woman did so effortlessly. Needless to say she just might be a star on the rise in Eastern Europe.
Ever since my first trip overseas barely a year ago, I’ve become spoiled with the amount of love we receive. It reminds me of what I experienced being a young fan going to shows when I was in college. People are ready and willing to enjoy the music. This entire trip has been a great boost and reassurance that hip hop still has love in it. To see so many heads wiling out, jumping around, and really appreciating the effort, and energy we put in was humbling and inspiring, I have yet to feel let down any time I’ve touched down on foreign soil. Shouts to Laila (aka Mc Lady), Lucie, Dowis, Alesh and the rest of the crew, we ended up building with the heads in the spot and partying way too late. I personally got a chance to really build with some young heads from Italy and Bristol, England who spoke English. Shouts out to Finger Food and his crew whom I built with outside Pantheon for at least an hour, thank you for putting me up on some English cats and hitting me with your documentary.
So after what had to be the fourth night of late night rocking, partying and no sleep (till Brooklyn) I officially crashed. Thankfully the next two days were only a rehearsal and a couple of radio appearances but I ended up at Jaro’s on the couch nursing a pretty bad head cold and aches. I needed to make sure I was ready for the big show on Thursday, and for the rest of the trip, as we would do three shows in three days. Needless to say, the time to reflect and recharge was much needed , and by Thursday it was on to Chapeau Rouge.
Chapeau Rouge is a club that is in and around center city and again is a multi-level bar/club. They décor is very different from Pantheon and Cross Club in that it has a more old world feel. The lower level where we rocked was an intimate sweat box with a booming system and dope wooden floor. We even had a “backstage” again stocked with libation and refreshments (I really can get used to that…..). More of the same, and this might have been our best performance of the trip. Before us, however BeatBurger Band (Jaro Cossiga, Nasty, Ivan Hoe, and Andru, peace to Johnny 5) heated up the crowd with some classic interpretations of some early nineties dance classics (as Rabbi said, beatbox Jock Jams). The Beat Apetit crew has always shown they know how to throw a party, and the stage had already been lit by the time we got to it. There has been no question that the night was a success, and I will be putting together a very special show collage to show just exactly what I am talking about. Thursday was our last night in Prague, and the following morning it was on to Berlin for the final leg of the tour, stay tuned for part II.