Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review: Ugly Duckling at Paradiso

Ugly Duckling: song - "I won't Let It Die" from Audacity

I don't want to be all like "remember the ol' skool', but, remember the old skool? Shit moves so fast that when I say "old skool" I'm really just referring to four years ago, back when DJs used records rather than CDs, laptops or serato. I mean proper turntablism, and where a rap show was simply two turntables and a microphone.

These days Ugly Duckling are not the coolest thing in hiphop, no autotune or krunk beats, no T-Pain. Andy C looks like your IT guy on casual friday in white sneakers, blue jeans and a white button-up shirt while Young Einstein, with his baggy cargo pants and goatie beard could be your mechanic. It's really only the tattooed and heavy Dizzy Dustin that still looks part of the 2009's hiphop culture.

But the boys from Longbeach maintain that conscious/backpacker hiphop sound of the 90s for fans of J5, Kool Keith, Beastie Boys and the Native Tongues groups like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and Jungle Brothers. Live, most cuts came from 2001 debut Journey to Anywhere and 2003's Taste the Secret, knowing full well that's what the crowd came to hear, but a few newbies were peppered throughout from upcoming Audacity. It was the bigger tunes where horns blazed, the breaks cracked and their upbeat raps that really got the crowd moving, yet occasionally they slowed their flow for the stoners. They brought up a female fan on stage for "Pick Up Lines" and invited one confident local MC to rap in Dutch, he did a decent job too. And if that wasn't enough, Dizzy shared the Jack Daniels from his rider, along with a whole bunch of cooties, with the entire front row before leaving. A fun show for sure... old skool, you know four years ago.

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