I’ve been trying to share a show-going experience from two weeks back but its surrealistic, musical glory left me reeling and I couldn’t recap fast enough. I’m talking about Slick Rick at Europa. Leave it to the pirated hiphop legend to bring together literally every colorful caricature in existence – homeless breakdancers, Staten Island guidos, clubkids, homeys, homegirls, hipsters, sleezy security guards…you name it and they were partying.
Word to the wise – if you’re ever trying to see Slick Rick perform, show up at least 3 hours after the time you instinctively think you should. 8:00 doors equaled a 1:30am start time for the ruler, so Rich and I were forced to watch the freakshow unfurl for about 3 hours in an empty club that felt the need to blast its smoke machine every 20 minutes. Fortunately the wait was worth it.
The artcrunk rap duo Bunny Rabbit and Black Cracker were openers. Part KRS One, part dirty Alice in Wonderland, these two came out with a live drummer that looked like the mom from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and a ton of spooky electronic samples. Completely infectious, weirdly erotic and trippy – I definitely haven’t seen many live acts match the raw energy of these lady lovers. Check out their myspace for some tracks (which sound WAY better live I think) and more animated gifs like this one:
Next was a lengthy ‘let’s get this party started’ intro from Slick’s emcee (Rich referred to him as DJ Red Alert), that included 5-10 second samples of every hip hop record ever produced. Ever. If we didn’t react with the proper amount of ‘crowd respect’ for certain tracks, he called us out for not being old school enough. I felt like a poseur, and I think that was the point. Finally, it was time for Slick, who shuffled out on stage to the opening bars of “The Ruler” wearing what looked like a silken pajama set with about 25 giant gold-chained medallions around his neck and dark Wallabees on his feet. Picture this:
And then make it a reality:
So here’s the big question: Is a hiphop icon rapping for forty kids in a grungy Brooklyn bar kind of tragic or just amazing? Maybe a little bit of both. You got the impression Slick was happy to be there but also feeling his age despite all his recent cultural-influencer-type honors. (He must have yelled “I am 43 years old!” like 3 times.)
Sadly the pervy, misogynistic Slick wasn’t on display – I was hoping for a rendition of “Treat Her Like A Prostitute” or “Lick the Balls” – but after run-throughs of the classics like Mona Lisa & La Di Da Di and a fantastic “A Children’s Story” outro, I felt my night was more than complete.
Take in the regal genius in his glory day: