I can’t really overstate the significance of this performance. Yasin Bey (or Mos Def as many know him by) and Talib Kweli are quite awesome by themselves, but together, truly a sight to behold. The lyrical flow is tight and they’ve both done nothing but get better over time. This should be one for the ages, and tickets for either artist can cost as seeing both. Worth going out on a Tuesday. If you’re into EDM and have never really given hip hop a try, and you’re local, trust me on this one. One of the best places to be introduced to what is possible with words and beats. See below for the hotness from 1998.
My social media feeds exploded with joy at the return of the L train Thursday afternoon. This lifeline to Brooklyn, which had been out of commission since Sandy sucker-punched Gotham, started running limited service in time for the Thursday night party cycle. When the trains aren’t running, people are just not going to party. At all. And there’s not a damn thing a promoter in the city can do about it. The return also allowed me to check out a DJ I’d been watching for about a year now, who was set to drop absurd beats at Brooklyn Bowl.
Brooklyn Bowl has carved out a nice little niche off of Bedford Avenue over the last several years. The combination bowling alley, bar, restaurant and open assembly stage has a lovely Thursday night party called Bowl Train curated by DJ ?uestlove (of The Roots), brings in consistently quality talent from out of town, and is also the world’s first LEED certified bowling alley. Because yes, in Brooklyn, even the bowling alleys are environmentally friendly. That means 100% wind power, a stage floor made of recycled goods, HVAC efficiency controls and locally sourced/brewed beers. The last point is super important. The best way to deflate the gigantic “eat locally” argument is when it is being delivered by someone who is drinking beer from Germany or whiskey from Scotland. “Drink Locally” is far more important than we give it credit, a thought I pondered as I picked up my glass of Brooklyn Weisse. The service was prompt and the dance floor was slowly coalescing. The crowd of flannel rockers, stoners, IDM geeks, ravers and the people that (somehow, you just knew, you didn’t know why but you did) only listened to dubstep all day, every day. Minnesota had taken the stage, and the bass was building.
The sound that Minnesota creates is one that requires the DJ to walk a very fine line. Few performers have really gotten this right in the past. EdiT, MC Front-a lot, MC Chris and YTCracker are a few of the handful of artists who are able to use hip hop lyrics, samples, beats, styles and atmosphere without coming off cheesy or as the sad little stereotype Fred Durst was. The ability to flow through the different sounds and keep the beat feeling vaguely menacing, while enticing at the same time is difficult to develop because if you fuck up, you look kind of like the biggest nerd ever. The thick rim glasses & t-shirt are a stark reminder that you’re listening to West Coast beats being performed by someone who’s name isn’t 50 Cent, or Tupac Shakur. It’s a bit like having your suspension of disbelief broken when you’re watching a movie. Interestingly, DJ Minnesota did not have any of these moments, something that made me so very happy, especially considering the gangsta-ness of his beats.