Yesterday was an absolutely fantastic day for me. Not only did I finish my spring semester at school, but I also got to see the one and only Danny Brown tear it up at a sold-out show at The Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge last night.
The show started up at 9:30 with Miami/Boston rapper Stu Cat. I'm not overly familiar with the Boston hip-hop scene and from what I've heard I wasn't expecting much, but this dude can definitely rap pretty well. He got the crowd into it and his first few songs were actually really good. I will say his set did hit a bit of a roadblock when be brought out this clown rapper named MC Chucklehead to come out and rap with him. This guy was just awful, his style was like if Riff Raff took himself seriously. Judging from his between song banter he seems like a pretty good dude, he just isn't a gifted rapper. Stu Cat was still pretty good on his own, but the presence of MC Chuklehead definitely brought the energy and quality of his performance. Side-note: Stu Cat sort of looks like Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and came out with a towel on his head like Newton does when he is on the sidelines, which caused me to laugh very hard.
Kitty came out next and she put on a very entertaining show. For those who don't know, she's a 20-year old white-girl rapper and her music is just a fucking blast. Her rapping came off more fluid and intense in a live setting opposed to the laid-back style she uses on records which was gave her performance a gritty edge that I wasn't expecting. I also have to give her props for playing with so much energy when she had a illness, she give it 100% even though she was sick (a few of the faster parts she couldn't rap because her throat was clearly fucked up, but she gave it her best shot which is all that matters.) Some people might give her shit for being a white-girl rapper, but people need to drop their ignorant biases and stop writing her off: this chick can rap and it's time people starting taking her seriously as an artist. Kitty got shit going and she is a natural-born performer that I would love to see again.
DJ Skywlkr, the DJ for Danny Brown, came out and spun for about 25 minutes to hype the crowd up. I normally don't like DJ's, but he actually rolled out some pretty good beats and he definitely succeeded in getting the crowd pumped up for Danny Brown. As I expected, Danny came running out when Skywlker dropped the beat for "Jealousy" and rapidly launched into the best hip-hop show I've ever seen. If there was any doubt that Danny Brown is amongst hip-hop's elite artists, that was shattered by his performance last night. This dude just flat-out killed it for an hour. Unlike most rappers I've seen, Brown finished every song perfectly. For hip-hop outsiders, that doesn't sound like an accomplishment, but most rappers are lazy and about half of the time don't even finish the whole song so it was refreshing to see a rapper complete their songs flawlessly in a live setting. He also did some cool things like cut the beats out and just rap acappela, which was amazing and showed just how gifted of an MC he is. On top of his precision with the songs, Brown is just an incredible performer. He gave off insane energy and the sold-out crowd gave every ounce of that energy back, which made for an awesome vibe and it's always badass to see a crowd and the artist so into a performance. He was clearly stoked to be on-stage and was extremely appreciative for the reception he got. The setlist was pretty damn solid with a lot of lesser-known, older songs and a good amount of material from his breakout mixtape XXX as well a few new ones from his upcoming record Old (which judging from the stuff he played last night is going to be another slam-dunk for him.) My only complaint is I would've liked to hear songs like "XXX", "Outer Space" and "Adreall Admiral", but the set was completely fine as is so I can't really bitch too much. Danny Brown is the best live rapper I've seen by leaps and bounds and I urge any hip-hop fan to go see him when he plays in your city, you will not be disappointed
4/5 Protest the Hero/Battlecross
4/9 Danny Brown