When Maanumental and Newman hit the stage, minus their Japanese crew member Chikaramanga, the crowd weren’t too sure what to expect. It was clear that they were there for Ugly Duckling when the MCs attempts to drum up some crowd interaction fell largely on deaf ears, but by the end of the set, LA’s Giant Panda had the crowd shouting back and boogying on down thanks to their energetic set and catchy songs from their album Fly School Reunion.
Digging In The Tapes, Super Fly and Grand Prix whipped up a small frenzy with the pounding drums and brilliant dance moves provided by the two rappers, who were clearly out to enjoy themselves before finishing off with the superb One Time which followed the intro that exclaimed “Everyone knows they’re no fools because everyone knows the hip hop rules”. The smile on the face of Maanumental were obviously very genuine as he hand slapped the front row of the crowd and danced around to his crew’s beats. And it was this show of having fun that set the tone for the main event of the evening.
Young Einstein followed quickly and broke out some funky jams to lay the sonic red carpet down for the giant frame of Andy Cooper to jump down the stairs and introduce himself and his partner in crime Dizzy Dustin. They ripped through new track Yudee before scorching the crowd with old favourites Pass It On and Eye On The Gold Chain which featured, as ever, Einstein hitting a fanfare and bringing out his dookie gold rope which he carefully placed around his own neck before getting down on the decks.
More new tracks were played from the Bang For The Buck album before the two best songs of the night caused a raucus reaction from the sell out Jazz Café. First off Rio De Janeiro was played, taking us to the land of the beaches, sunshine and tight units, before the anthem A Little Samba blasted out to a sing-a-long karaoke style playback from the crowd. Afterwards, Andy started talking about Dizzy’s money problems, prompted Diz to go off stage as Cooper explained that hip hop isn’t about guns, bitches, violence and money, but Dizzy returned, pushing his way through the crowd in rap t-shirt, platinum necklace and doo-rag telling the crowd to fuck themselves in the best parody of a gangster rapper ever. As Andy Cooper stated, it is dumb when people go “from James Blunt, to smoking a blunt”.
The only logical step following this was Mr Tough Guy which pokes fun at the gangster rappers of the day and then moved into a Beastie Boys style version of I Did It Like This and then asking the crowd to Turn It Up. When they returned for their much deserved encore, we were given perfect renditions of Smack and Journey To Anywhere.
Ugly Duckling make fun hip hop on record, but live it’s a whole other level. They don’t need to have personas to hide behind, they just go out and have a great time rapping for people who can’t help but dance and weave to the tunes. Your life is boring without UD in it, so get to stepping!
[Photos by Kim Norbury]