Friday Night: El-P & Killer Mike at Warehouse Live
A small but lively crowd packed into the studio at Warehouse Live on Friday night for performances by two polarly opposite yet complementary artists, who together have created two of the most adventurous and innovative rap productions to be released this year. First, Brooklyn beatmaker and lyricist El-P joined forces with the hard-hitting Killer Mike from the ATL to produce R.A.P. Music, an album that showcases El's-synth-and-bass auditory assaults with Mike's no-nonsense political criticisms and country-rap tunes.
El followed with Cancer 4 Cure, which is an overtly adventurous rap album, sounding much more like a Trent Reznor-esque movie soundtrack and giving fans of indie/underground/alternative/intelligent rap enough fuel to burn for years to come.
The Into The Wild Tour also showcases the stylings of up-and-coming indie rappers Despot and Mr. Motherfuckin' Esquire, who are also as different lyrically as they are visually, yet somehow all four rappers provide an altogether fun, cohesive, and brilliant show.
We step into the venue just in time to catch the tail end of Despot's set. The diminutive fireball of a rapper is in the middle of one of his run-on-sentence, chaotic yet structured raps, and we wonder if he's gonna take a breath as he pushes forward and warms up the crowd.
He asked the audience for suggestions as to what he should freestyle about next. Shouts of "pirates!" and "summer!" are hurled from the crowd, causing him to laugh uncontrollably. He ends with the track "Crap Artists", a driving and ominous song that proclaims "I get paid to breathe, hooray for me, hooray for me!" Living the life for sure.
Quickly afterwards, without any time to catch our breath, a caricature of a rapper dressed in a tiger print vest and multiple chains bounces to the stage. Mr. Motherfuckin' Esquire is indeed a motherfucker of a rapper, spouting rhymes and verses with a ferocity and playfulness that causes the crowd to cheer and applaud to his antics.
He looks and sounds like mixture of Biggie, Andre 3000 and O.D.B. He ends by asking us to raise our middle fingers to the sky and say "Fuck You!" to the boring life. "Who has a day job? Who hates their boss? I used to make $8/hour, too. I make much more than that now". Definitely also living the motherfuckin' life.