Scratch (The Roots) at Fortune Sound Club (Live) [Review]
Vancouver, B.C. – In the wake of Vancouver’s failed run for the Stanley Cup, and as the city slept off the hangover from the rioting that occurred 24 hours earlier, all was not quiet. Kid Cudi had rocked Deer Lake, Pete Rock was playing the city, and Fully Faded – along with beatbox extraordinaire Scratch – lit up Fortune Sound Club in an admirable attempt to wake the city back up.
Fully Faded hit the stage, and for a few chronic hip-hop heads, these dudes know how to rock and roll. The first track was hard-hitting with a nonstop guitar riff for the boys, Sauce and Abyss, to pass rhymes back and forth like the doobie they probably did the same with only minutes earlier. These guys are a concept group; they rap about weed but often use it as a metaphor for many of life’s issues. They’re rhyming about blazing within the context of their daily lives, wold views, and their undeniable love for hip-hop: this is evident in songs such as “I Love Rapping (And Rapping Loves Me)”. And these guys aren’t a bunch of burnt out stoners who think it’s cool to brag about how many blunts they kill daily, Fully Faded keep it fresh with dynamic beats ranging from hard rocking joints to throwback tracks paying homage to sounds from yesteryear. With DJ C-Lo on the tables cutting, scratching, and keeping the beats smoking Sauce and Abyss kept the stage lit.
Next, the DJ crew Goons On The Moon kept the night rolling and the tempo high as soon as their needle hit the vinyl. The dance floor quickly filled back up as energetic funk blasted from the speakers. Not a lot of mash-up, in fact hardly any vocals at all, music that spoke for itself; lethal headsnappers that the most uptight listener would have a hard time not shaking their moneymakers to. Motown, funk, and soul that was so clear and hype they sounded like the freshest, newest beats from today’s best producers. Where these guys dug up some of these gems I’ll never know….good lookin’.
And from hands to mouth the DJing continued as Scratch (former beatboxer for The Roots) stepped up to the stage. The only difference is that with Scratch he won’t be on the one and two’s – he’ll actually be the decks himself. With just two loop machines Scratch went ahead and constructed sick beat after sick beat with little more than just his mouth. As he simulates one single drag of the needle over a record it sounds sharper and somehow even more authentic than the real thing. A few peeps in the audience weren’t tuned in, though others were amazed and slack-jawed. But when he started laying down track after track slowly constructing some of today’s most popular songs, the crowd quickly paid attention. When he dropped Rick Ross’ “Hustlin” or Dre’s “Still Dre” with its signature piano melody, the crowd just ate it up.
By the time this one man wonder ended his set it was clear the audience had witnessed something unique. The beauty of it was that many didn’t realize it until it was over because they had just been dancing their asses off to the dope DJ on stage, forgetting the rhythms came from a vocalist not a DJ. A true testament to his skill as one of today’s best beatboxers, it’s clear to see why Scratch exists in the upper echelon of beatboxers worldwide.
Written by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada
Photography by Suntana Craigen for HipHopCanada