Rahzel @ Bling 11/20/09—Vertict? Killed it.

This Side Over Here Is Focused

This Side Over Here Is Focused

“I like this side better, because this side is focused…” – Rahzel

This quote from Rahzel talking about the crowd, summarizes part of his show at Bling on Friday night (11/20/09)  in many ways. The live show was a great time, but it did have many different “sides”, phases, and moments and I’ll break down a few.

First and foremost, Rahzel is the world’s greatest beat boxer and DJ JS-1 a super talented DJ with very specialized skills when it comes to beat juggling with his hands, feet, back, and other tricks. To see them perform their live set in person was an honor and the crowd at Bling appreciated this fact.

The Park boys love it.

The Park boys love it.

Now for Bizzle‘s take on the night I ask you all bare with me, as I am going divide my commentary up into different sides, phases and moments of the night.

They are:

  • The Boom-Market Phase
  • The Diminishing Returns Phase
  • The Black Friday Phase
  • The Focused Side vs. The ADD side
  • Moments of the Blissful Hip Hop Head
  • Moments of the Awkward Turtle

Now, just follow me as I break it down…

Gettin love from the crowd

Gettin love from the crowd

The Boom-Market Phase: I think Economic Terms can describe parts of this show really well and can illustrate the “ebb and flow” of the Rahzel/JS-1 performance. The club was relatively packed when Sbazzo, DJ Zoubin and I arrived around 11pm. Once inside, I saw the stage had been set up near the DJ Booth, which was a concern for me since Bling usually has NO stage area for artists; props to them for setting that up well. Soon enough, people we completely surrounding the stage area in preparation for Rahzel‘s show. Once 11:45-12:00am got near, by the time DJ JS-1 made his way to the tables, Bling’s resident spin-master DJ J-Cue already had the crowd, including myself, dancing pretty hard and getting crazy to some of the usual hits like  “I Got a Feeling…“, which always gets the crowd pumped. The burst of energy when DJ JS hopped on the decks and got on the mic was the real beginning of the “Boom-Market” phase, when everyone’s attention and energy was focused on the show at hand. DJ JS-1 then introduced Rahzel, who came on to a huge ovation with video camera in hand, filming the crowd while the crowd filmed him, and he chose to remain quiet and behind the booth while JS showed off his turntable skills…see video for details on how awesome these skills are.

After that, Rahzel jumped into his set and started showing off his world-class Beat Boxing skills, and the crowd was eating it up! Everyone was cheering reaching for Rahzel to touch, him, every camera, camera-phone and any other electronic device was up and in use as he started doing originals songs, then remixing songs like “Drop it Like it’s Hot”, “React” , and in the later stages of the Boom-Market Phase, he even threw in Wutang Clan’s “36 Chambers” to the delight of all. This song certainly made for the Moment of the Blissful Hip Hop Head, as I saw cats in the crowd almost screaming their heads off as Razhel commanded them to sing the chorus of “Wutang Clan aint nothing to f*** with!” Word of advice: Neither is Razhel when it comes to beatboxing!!!

Lil' Ray reppin the Wu-Tang

Lil' Ray reppin the Wu-Tang

Soon enough though, after about 30-40 minutes of this HIGH energy and high volume performance, I found the crowd and the show together entering into the “Diminishing Returns Phase

Gettin' Busy on the Mic!

Gettin' Busy on the Mic!

The Diminishing Returns Phase: This phase of the show I’d say came about 45 minutes into the show, when certain members of the crowd who were not in the front areas or in the main dance floor started to “diminish” or retreat back to their tables, to the bar, or just into conversations in other areas of the club. With a beat-boxer who is taking small breaks in between verses, songs, etc. this was very, well, obvious to everyone, especially to Rahzel. While MANY in the crowd, especially the area I was in, were still 100% into what was happening, and dedicated fans were EVERYWHERE dancing, grooving, cheering, singing along, I have to admit that there was some  “riff-raff” going on as well, especially near the bathrooms and entrance way. This brought on the quote at the title of this article….

The Focused Side vs The ADD Side: Rahzel, after starting to perform “If Your Mother Only Knew”, took a small break for about 10-20 seconds (when he does this, realize there is NO sound, the DJ isn’t playing any records and no background music so you can hear the loud part of the crowd very easily) and pointed to one side of the crowd saying “I like this side of the crowd better, this side is totally focused…but this side [pointing to other side] is like…ADD or something, not focused at all.” This call-out got the crowd BACK involved in a big way, real fast!

He then went on to perform the full version of the song here is the video, unfortunately my sound isn’t good on the camera I was using, and you can definitely hear the “crowd riff-raff” I mentioned earlier:

The Black Friday Phase: After about 1.5hrs of Rahzel‘s amazing beat boxing and DJ JS-1 breaks and beats,  as far as I knew, the show was STILL going on. Then sorta suddenly, Rahzel stopped beat boxing and started posing for pictures with people in the crowd. GREAT IDEA, but I think ending the show formally first would have been better for some of us, as we didn’t know what to do now!  My group of hip-hop heads and I were standing there looking at each other, trying to figure out if the show was in fact over or not. There had not been a big finale, no announcement, and it was just not really clear what was going on.

This is also the Awkward Turtle Moment of the show, which features Bizzle trying to get up to the stage to get a picture with Rah and TOTALLY failing because I was pushed out of the way by a 90lb Asian girl who gave me the “Look of Death” to let me know she was getting the f’ing picture before me. After that, thinking I looked more like a groupie than a fan (or part of the promo team) and not to mention afraid for my life… I decided to retreat with no photo.

Rahzel breaks it down in the crowd...he is in there somewhere!

Rahzel breaks it down in the crowd...he's in there somewhere!

Now, before I get to far into a criticism rant, eventually I was reminded to leave the performance details to the professionals, because after a few minutes of posing, Rahzel got back on the mic, did some of his best vocal tricks and as part of his finale, he beat-boxed his way through the crowd, going from table to table, section to section, without “losing a beat!” CRAZY!!!!

When he did end his set, he got a HUGE ovation from the crowd and this much love for real hip hop in China was refreshing to hear. Calls for ‘encores’ didn’t win him over, but JS quickly threw on some old-school beats and breaks that got the crowd from the bar running back to the stage area to dance!

Show some love for the DJ

Show some love for the DJ

A great performance was matched by great energy from the crowd (at least most of it) and the show went off really well. I think it was a big step for Bling who had only dabbled in DJ’s for live shows, and might the beginning of more diverse live sets for their venue.

Shout to Rahzel and JS for being all around cool people and some of the most talented and authetic hip hop acts to bless Beijing with their skills, I really enjoyed the time I spent with them privately and watching the show. Also big thanks to Bling and YinEnt for their promotions and support for hip hop China, and finally a thanks to Kristen from LumDimSum for being a babe and letting me stand next to her in the Bling staff only VIP area during the set. Good spot for viewing, and standing next to her didn’t hurt…

Do I stand out much?

Do I stand out much?


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One comment

  • November 25, 2009 - 12:58 am | Permalink

    THANK YOU FOR THE SHOUT OUT!!! We were definitely on the “FOCUSED” side!!

    Favorite part of this entry: “LOOK OF DEATH” hahahhahahahhaha!!!

    I, too, wanted a photo with RAH ZEL & JS-1 but felt like a groupie standing around waiting for him to get past the mob.

    Where is the photo you snapped of us?? you forgot to post that one!! :)


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