As yet another top hip hop act hit The Kazimier, Getintothis’ Angus Clark saw Blackalicious hit the Liverpool crowd with their Rhythm Sticks.
Tonight something special went down at The Kazimier. Playing host to one of the most energetic, feel-good live shows you’re likely to see, Think Tank made an impressive mark on Liverpool’s urban scene having booked one of the most celebrated acts in underground hip hop, Blackalicious, to top the bill.
The legendary duo, made up of lyricist Gift of Gab and DJ/Producer Chief Xcel, boast a catalogue spanning two decades which has seen them garner praise for their intuitive blend of classic beats and raw, uplifting lyrical content, drawing comparisons with the likes of Jurassic 5 and The Pharcyde.
The doors opened at 10pm and the crowd started filling the lower area as emcee outfit Fire Beneath the Sea rhymed over beats from Liverpool based DJ duo the Chicken Brothers, who showcased their dynamic blend of electro swing. To end, the crowd were encouraged to write a selection of words and phrases on a whiteboard just below the stage, which were brilliantly free-styled by accompanying emcee mac of all trades.
DJ Format, a mainstay of the British alternative/urban scene, and previous collaborator with Jurassic 5, gave a polished performance behind the decks, firing up the crowd with hip hop classics from artists such as Gangstarr and Notorious B.I.G.
It wasn’t until past midnight when Blackalicious took to the stage, and by then the room was full to the brim with anticipation. The longer than expected wait was all but forgotten once Gift of Gab took hold of the mic, launching into a flawless rendition of the tongue twister Alphabet Aerobics, igniting the crowd and setting the tone for the rest of the night.
With help from accompanying MCs Vursatyle and Jumbo from the Portland based group Lifesavas, Gab was personal and engaging with the crowd throughout, pausing to tell anecdotes in between songs, urging the crowd to “make some noise” and even commenting on the vibrant Liverpool music scene, proclaiming, “Liverpool is ghetto”.
The set list included all of Blackalicious’ most loved tracks, with standouts such as NIA’s hit single Deception, Blazing Arrow’s nostalgic feel-good tune Make You Feel That Way, and The Craft’s Rhythm Sticks.
The duo also took the opportunity to show off some material from their upcoming new album Emoni, set for release next month. The atmosphere peaked as Gab invited the crowd to join in on the chorus, chanting “blacker blacker blacker” until their lungs gave out.
The night was brought to a close in emphatic style, and in keeping with the good vibes atmosphere of the night, Gab welcomed the crowd on stage to pose for an Ellen DeGeneres style selfie. He thanked the crowd for what was a great night and shook hands with the fans. It took a while for the ceremonious atmosphere to fade before the duo left the stage to cheers, whoops and whistles.
All in all, a spectacular show from some of the most respected figures in hip hop.
Photos by Getintothis’ Antonio Franco