The town of Old Bay and crab cakes isn’t exactly busting open with life on the daily but some things managed to materialize over the sadly, short weekend. On Friday, another GUTTAHBALL show went down, one of bite-sized proportion this time around (June is the month of Mini GUTTAHBALL as we are gearing to head people in the head with July’s party), but we managed to pack out the quirky, yet charming Club K. A gracious “when no other pose comes to mind” salute goes to J Boogz, J Lamar and Spider To The Fly for coming from Brooklyn and Chicago to rock out in Baltimore. J Boogz’ swag and constant “owwww” call had everyone feeling themselves, J Lamar kept it true with some nostalgically rich 90′s R&B mixes and Spider To The Fly from their wardrobe to their banging “very right now” electro-pop, low-fi rap had the crowd into it. A personal favorite moment from the show was our opener, Matic 808, a dude from the city who actually prodcues and raps over Baltimore Club beats! You know, it’s really about fucking time that someone took on the challenge of merging the two worlds and even better that it’s a dude from Baltimore. The closer was Abdu Ali who, per usual, was possessed and sent the crowd home all nice and sweaty from the intoxicated jumping around during his performance. Ali also got shit turnt over at local shop PedX to support our homie JP’s pop-up for his brand, Death Cult. Needless to say, the internet-rap regulars of the shop were in for a rude-awakening once his banjee-punk-rap-whatever you wanna call it bled through the speakers.
A much less exciting event from the weekend was my failed attempt to appreciate the Born Sinner leak. For whatever reason, no matter how very boring J Cole has been over the past two and a half years, (and he’s been a real snoozefest) I keep coming back like a loyal lab. I guess the pure amazement that was The Warm Up —or even Friday Night Lights—always gives me cause to be hopefull that someday I’ll be able to vicariously feel the fire that Cole released then. To no avail, I tried listening to Born Sinner in its entirety Friday evening and soon found myself staring at an iTunes library that had each song with one play. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it past track 6 with my eyes open, conscious of the surrounding world…so I guess I gotta take my computer’s word for it. With GUTTAHBALL getting under way, I couldn’t risk another snooze so I tried again Saturday and managed to get all the way through. One early criticism of the album is the energy alone; he never got angry or passionate enough to lift his monotone throughout the whole album, which in and of itself is some kind of a feat I guess. Honestly, after the album’s intro “Villuminati”, things kind of go downhill. “Forbidden Fruit” which features Kendrick had me excited while reading the track list but all K. Dot gave up was a harmonizing hook. He could have at least bodied Cole to make things interesting, or to let us know how the collaborative album with the two (which will never happen) may sound like. While, I’ll probably still listen to the album a few more times, it generally had me bummed for a few minutes this weekend. Is this what happens to all really good underground rappers? Wale made classic tapes at the drop of a penny in his mixtape days but you’ll be hard-pressed to even find a great verse from him nowadays. I was hoping Cole would be different, but after Cole World and this body of work, things seem a bit grim.