The Beatnuts & Jeru the Damaja come through Fortune Sound Club (Live Review) [Photos]
Vancouver, BC – In an era where the conventional hip-hop DJ takes the backseat, there still exists a breed of emcee that is able to rock a crowd under any circumstances. That mentally was brought to the stage Thursday night when The Beatnuts and Jeru the Damaja took the Fortune Sound Club stage.
The night kicked off with openers Broken Head, KV, Ghost, and Blue Team Blue who came with a polished but laid-back sound that complimented the vibe of the night. The room was filled early in the night which was a good sign, and with a $30 ticket price at the door, it was clear that the die-hard hip hop heads from all over Vancouver we’re in attendance.
Shortly after 10:30 p.m., Merkules grabbed the mic and delivered his unique brand of boom-bap accompanied by a signature flow. His hoarse tone and brash delivery were welcomed with a keen ear as the buzz began to build in anticipation of the acts to follow. When Jeru grabbed the mic, the audience was loud and lit up. His deep booming voice and charismatic stage presence is a force to be reckoned with as he jumped into verses off of the 1996 album, Wrath of the Math. Due to technical difficulties he had no idea what order his set was going to play in, this was of no concern to him as he decided to take requests from the audience which added a freestyle element to the show further emphasizing the emcees prowess. After giving the audience a lesson in crowd participation, Jeru wrapped up his set by performing the 1993 DJ Premier produced, “Come Clean” which had the entire audience screaming, “Uh Oh, Heads up ‘cause we dropping some s***!.”
Next came The Beatnuts who are not only known for their antics on the mic, but for their hard-hitting funky flow and tight production. JuJu was quoted once saying, “We are all about the beat, that’s our formula when we produce shit, the beats gotta be hot, it’s gotta grab you”. With no DJ present the duo took the duties on themselves and managed to keep the party going with ease while Juju occasionally rocked verses from behind the decks. It’s clear why these emcees are touted as having one of the best live shows in Hip Hop. With 10+ studio releases under their belt, they had a large catalog to draw from and wasted no time calling on tracks from Hydra Beat, Vol. 5 all the way to their 2002 release, The Originators. After pouring the entire front row a glass of Hennessy, the duo finished up a set that will not soon be forgotten.
What seems to separate groups like The Beatnuts and emcees like Jeru the Damaja is not only their experience and craftsmanship on the mic, but their dedication to getting the crowd involved in the show and creating a more spontaneous and fully engaging atmosphere. Backstage JuJu insisted that he will always come back to Vancouver after having said, “I love it here.” The crowd at Fortune got a healthy dose of that golden age rap on Thursday night, which was refreshing for all in attendance given the over-produced trap beat world we live in. To quote The Beatnuts at the end of the night, “It’s the old school, don’t need your approval.”
Written by Armando Hernandez for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands for HipHopCanada
Photography by Jamie Sands