Whoever said that obviously wasn’t at The Cool Kids / Pac Div show at Venue this past Wednesday, and only told half the story. I’m here to tell you the other half.
Anami Vice and I staked our claim to the least angsty area of floor, from where we would observe the night’s acts while R2AK photographer and notorious pineapple-hater, Jay Haddow, was being debriefed on the plan of attack by our mission’s benefactors, Live Nation. (To see what became of his targets, visit The Shooting Gallery here.)
Pac Div member Mibbs, heard before he was seen, began the set rapping off-stage and out of sight, building anticipation for his imminent arrival. He finally stepped out in front of the crowd mid-way through that first verse, followed closely by brother Like and homey BeYoung, and the show was underway. Pac Div is a refreshing breeze off of a West Coast Hip Hop scene that’s been asleep at the wheel and ghost-riding the whip for far too long now. (That’s the second time this week E-40’s infiltrated my articles, damnit!) During their performances of tracks like Pac Div and Mayor, I was instantly transported back to my honeymoon-stage with the genre, the days of ’93 ‘til Infinity and Boyz-n-the-Hood.
Although the crowd was not yet at capacity, Pac Div kept focus and put on an engaging back-and-forth set that was a blast to watch, often finishing each other’s sentences and moving in unison. The verse-long handshake the two of them did to amuse themselves was as weird as it was funny, which brings me to one of my favourite things about this trio: they don’t take themselves too seriously. Also odd was them performing Shut Up, which features The Cool Kids, without The Cool Kids, who were presumably also in the building at the time. Though the set was a little on the short side, I heard most of my favourite tracks, save one. I wasn’t too torn up about it. I plan to see these feel-good mofos again, so, if you’re reading this Pac Div: I hereby formally request We The Champs next time you perform here, dig?
[Side-note: I'm working on a 'Sun Sets In The West' playlist. Along with the aforementioned songs, so far I've added Passin' Me By, What's That Cha Say?, What's Up Fat Lip?, What U See Is What U Get, Today Was A Good Day, The Way We Swing and I Get Around. What else do you think I'm missing from an ultimate, non-to-barely-gangster West Coast playlist? Leave your suggestions in the comments area.]
Name up in lights, the main act took the stage. No, not N-I-N-E! Chuck Inglish and Mikey (he, he, he) Rocks! The place now wall-to-wall with tight jeans and all-over-print tees, the Venue had a hipster-bomb in it’s midst, and The Cool Kids set out to detonate, rather than defuse it. Saying “hello” with, what else, What Up Man, the crowd enthusiastically waved back.
The last few duos I’ve seen have left me with a theory. Whichever member is your favourite on record, the other one will shine live. Chuck Inglish added one more checkmark to my hypothesis. While Mikey’s charisma and flow usually makes him the centerpiece on their tracks, on-stage the friendly-faced Chuck was runnin’ shit, or at the very least, making this a photo finish between the two. Not that this was a competition. The ‘Black Beastie Boys’ gel like their namesakes, bobbing and weaving in and out of each other’s verses at the right moments, making this truly a showcase for them as a group as opposed to just going individually verse-for-verse.
Honestly, it’s difficult for me to even pick highlights. The whole damn thing was one big highlight, serving as a beacon amidst all the ‘overground’ rap smog that pollutes the airwaves and convinces crotchety, ostrich-people that there’s no more good music being made out there. If I sound like Oscar the Grouch, it’s ‘cause I done told them mooks already (here) how great both of these groups are, and that this would not be a show to be missed, and I’m never right, right?! Idiots.
That being said, that’s a cop-out. I would call bullshit if someone else said it, so if I absolutely, gun-to-the-dink, had to pick one standout moment it would be: ’88. It was already one of my favourite songs, but when the DJ began blending in Special Ed and NaS beats, I was done for. There’s four times in life a man is allowed tears: funerals, weddings (his own only, pussies!), the birth of his child and when The Cool Kids perform ’88 (The I Got It Made/Made You Look Remix). Not me. I’m made of sterner stuff. Luckily for Vice, though, I had Kleenex.
Tied for a close second on the highlight reel would be when they finally performed, arguably, their two biggest singles, Pennies and Black Mags. The place reached critical mass, and exploded. All that remained of the crowd was a cloud of slim fits and flat brims, still with the stickers on ‘em.
Yeah. Hip Hop is dead. That’s because… [dramatic pause, puts on David Caruso’s sunglasses] …The Cool Kids killed it.
And that’s the end of the review, so I’m chuckin’ that deuce.