Monday, October 27, 2008

M.O.P. Show

By: Brooke Middlebrook

You know you're not supposed to cry over spilled milk. Monday during M.O.P.'s show at Warehouse Live it was clear you don't have to cry over spilled Patrón, even if it gets on your turntable.

The night got off to a quiet start in the Studio room while openers Connie Price & The Keystones tried to get the sparse crowd moving with their Sugar Hill vibe. Unfortunately there's only so much a tight horn section and bass funk can do when the place is half empty. Percee P roamed the bar area promoting his latest album Perseverance and chatting it up with the people on the couches. It was a casual evening; when I asked Percee if he was still on to perform he said he'd jump on stage in a few, after he finished walking around. And ten minutes later when he did, it was like a whole different person was on the mic. His quick angular movements were in perfect sync with his rapid-fire rhyme delivery. By the end of his set it looked like more people had arrived and everyone was getting a bit more fired up for Mash Out Posse.

And then at last, with barely an introduction, M.O.P. came out guns blazing. With Connie Price & The Keystones to back them, all hands were in the air as Billy Danze and Lil' Fame belted out Cold As Ice. Giving a shoutout to Houston native DJ Premier, they performed tracks from as far back as 1996's Firing Squad; it was hard to believe watching them do their thing that they've been around for nearly fifteen years. And they're as loud as ever, which is the way their mix of hip hop and rock should be. It was a crowded stage with a full band, hype man, and a DJ, so not surprisingly it wasn't long before someone's Patrón ended up on the equipment. But that definitely didn't stop the momentum. In a minute they were back on it with their remix of Jay-Z's "U Don't Know" that had Bun-B standing in the back nodding his head. And there was no better way to end the show than with the classic stick-em-up theme song "Ante Up", to get literally everyone jumping and yelling the words.

After the adrenaline rush, I talked with Billy Danze, who summed up the night: "This is what hip hop is all about: it's about truth, it's about creativity. You gotta follow your own path. Don't do what this guy's doing, you have to find your own way and do your own thing." Words to live by in hip hop, and certainly good advice for life in general. My own advice for anyone who's forgotten or has never heard of M.O.P. is to make sure you catch them next time around, because they're still putting on a killer show.

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