With Eve, Miami
Friday, May 27, 2011
Memorial Day weekend was officially unde rway as Raekwon the Chef rolled into town for the lone South Florida installment of his "Shaolin vs. Wu Tang Tour." As one-ninth of the infamous Wu Tang Clan, Raekwon has been honing his craft for almost two decades. The lyrical assassin is one of the most recognized names in the rap game, and his live performances never disappoint.
Eve Nightclub (formerly the White Room) was the showcase for the Chef to
dish out his devastating dose of head-bobbing beats and flow. Before
the main event of the evening, there were several other exciting acts. An absolutely incredible live art demonstration by two
talented local artists, Cassie "Kazilla" Williams and Marlon Pneuss
created two Wu Tang inspired pieces while a bevy of badass DJs held down
the crowd. An eclectic lineup of turntablists with DJs: DS, Manuvers,
Keen One, Karakter, Salim Rafiq and Heron split the bill, each bringing
their own flavor to the evenings event.
While 90 percent of the crowd was there to see Raekwon rock the mic,
there were several staunch supporters of the local hip hop scene in
attendance. Recent winner of the Trojan Live Large National Emcee
Competition, Miami's own LMS was on hand to show some love for his man
Saheed, who was part of the opening festivities. Saheed dazzled the
crowd with a few tracks off his upcoming EP Take Heed. Maybach Music Latino was represented by UB aka. Underboss, who
ignited the crowd with some of their patented 305 hip-hop.
The Wu camp was represented by Raekwon protege Mean Doe Green. Signed to
Rae's Ice H20 Inc. Label, Mean Doe hyped up the house with several
clearly Wu inspired tracks off his mixtape, Black Suits and Shovels.
After a very long night of waiting for the Wu's most prolific lyricist
to take the stage, the anxious crowd finally got what they wanted just
after 3 a.m. Raekwon trudged down the stairs through the crowded event
space and onto the small stage positioned oddly in the covered back
The energy immediately changed, as the short and stocky stage presence
captured the atmosphere with his raspy and easily recognized voice. He
briefly chatted up the fans before quickly diving into some classic
tracks. Wu Tang has left such a prolific mark on the hip-hop community,
that literally almost every line to every song was repeated loud
and clear by more of the crowd than not. Dressed in his white T-shirt,
overstated glasses and patented bucket hat, Rae bounced around to the
Several high-energy tracks got the crowd involved from the jump and he
never lost them for a minute. Respect was given profusely to the Wu
members that laid the foundation for his success and a moment of silence
was taken for prodigal son Ol' Dirty Bastard. With Ghostface being left
off the bill, it lacked the fanfare of a Method Man and Redman show,
but the die hard Wu bangers were there for the lyrical magic and not the
smoke and mirrors.Well maybe just the smoke!
The set contained close to a dozen of the dopest cuts from his various
albums. These included "Glaciers of Ice" and fan favorite "Incarcerated Scarfaces" from his
debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, and "Real Life" and "Live From New York" from
his second studio album, Immobilarity. He introduced his alter ego with a
few tracks off The Lex Diamond Story, and came hard with songs off
arguably his best album to date Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.. Pt 2. And he
most importantly showed love for the Wu, with a bevy of hits ranging
from "Protect Ya Neck" and "Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nothin' to F**k Wit." With a
fittingly triumphant rendition of "Triumph," with a heavy dose of crowd
Overall it was a super dope display of more hip-hop history in the
making. While it was a longer wait than most had hoped, it was well
worth it once his presence was felt on stage. Another successful South
Florida Wu tang representation, and once again Miami was left wanting
much, much more. With Shaolin vs. Wu Tang originally set to be a full-on Clan album, I sense a full force showing on the horizon, with all of
the members coming back to South Florida very soon.
Personal bias: Raekwon the Chef is a gourmet rapper. The elements of
his unique style are too numerous to count. Every time I listen to any
of his monumental projects, I hear something new and exciting. With two
decades of Wu Tang listening under my belt, I can safely say that Raekwon is one
of the greatest rappers alive.
The crowd: The crowd was stacked evenly with local hip-hop heads hanging
out in support of the local talent and hard core Wu Tang followers,
over anxious for a dose of the Chef. The South Florida fans appreciated
the art demonstration and opening offerings, but it was clear they were
in house to hear Raekwon asap. The cameras were out in full force, with
any Wu member appearance garnering a rowdy reaction down South.
Overheard in the crowd: "I miss Ol' Dirty." "Wu Tang Clan ain't nothin
to f**k wit!" "Where the f**K is Ghostface? It's like Robin without
Random detail: It was funny watching Raekwon's crew scope out the path
he was going to take to the stage. It was like the president was going
to be coming down from Eve's VIP room at the top of the stairs. The bodyguards stuck out like giant sore thumbs as they trudged through the
crowd around 3 in the morning.