(Photo by John Valenzuela). To the left is Joe Budden, in the straight jacket, and to the right is Royce da 5’9″ with the crazy mask on. This was before Slaughterhouse performed at the Paid Dues Festival. Besides Budden and Royce, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I are also a part of the hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse.
Each member was able to perform separate songs outside of their group material, their first song together was “Slaughterhouse,” but outside of the dramatic opening you see in the photo, the set sort of dragged and could have been rehearsed better.
Budden, who I personally like along with Crooked I, Royce and Ortiz, seemed to sadly overshadow the other members with what seemed like an extra long performance of “Pump It Up” and his ramblings about “I smoke too much” or what hip-hop means to him.
On top of this, the guy next to me in the crowd wanted more Crooked I and constantly shouted out “Long Beach,” “Crooked I” or “hip-hop weekly” when Budden, Ortiz or Royce performed.
The Crooked I chants were in reference to the Long Beach artist performing new freestyles over famous hip-hop instrumentals every week on the Internet for a year from 2007 to 2008.
(Photo by John Valenzuela) Brother Ali, as usual, brought the crowd to their feet with all of his material. Songs like “Forest Whitiker,” “Uncle Sam Goddamn” and “Truth Is” were all crowd pleasers. Brother Ali is probably one of the most charismatic, and honest, emcees today and why he is not more well known is beyond me because audiences love the guy and many Saturday wore his T-shirt. Ali later joined labelmate Slug for the early part of Atmosphere’s set.
(Photo by John Valenzuela) Murs, co-organizer and founder of the Paid Dues Festival, had to have been the busiest man of the night.
Besides taking care of all the business (behind the scenes with the artists and in front of the scenes as an artist), Murs actually ran the iPod of instrumentals for New York artist Cage earlier in the day. Cage’s stream of consciousness set did not go over well with some fans near me (one guy was loudly telling him to get off the stage).
During the performance, Cage refused to perform any of his older material (“You’re wasting your time, folks”) and said his DJ was stranded at the airport.
Nonetheless, thanks to Murs for getting him out there and also for freestyling with host 2mex when Blu and Exile did not show because of a car accident.
I wish the sets were longer (especially for newcomers Blu & Exile and headliners Tech N9ne and Atmosphere) but to get all of these acts on one bill is tremendous. Maybe Minnesota’s Atmosphere will have a longer Coachella set.
This is a new music-themed blog about the 909, to which multiple Daily Bulletin newsroom staffers will contribute.
Who’s playing where and when, especially at our major venues like Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena and Pomona’s Glass House and Fox Theater, will be the major focus. We’ll throw other stuff at you as well, including links to our interviews with performers, and we’re kicking around the idea of an occasional What the Newsroom is Listening To roundup — we’ve got eclectic tastes here.
Let us know what you think of Music Now as it develops and what you’d like to see.