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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?

Bizzle!

BeatBox Session with Rahzel

Bizzle, Rahzel and DJ JS-1

Old School (aka fuzzy) Photo w/ Bizzle, Rahzel and DJ JS-1

One thing I got to do recently that was cool for me, was to spend some down-time with Rahzel and DJ JS-1 as their “guide” and part-time caretaker in Beijing.

As part of the YinEnt squad, I was tasked with taking care of Rahzel and JS for one night, and we definately has a cool evening, mostly just chillin, talking about their experiences touring, hip hop around the world, and then we went to The Park boys’ studio to record an episode for their Chinese radio show.

Sbazzo met us there, and after everyone had a chance to meet, they got down to business and while recording  the radio show, unexpectedly, we got an improptu Beat box session from Rahzel, “live” on the air!

For the www.youcallthathiphop.com family, I snuck a lil video action in, so here you go!

Big Shout to The Park 嘻哈公园 for all their support!

Check out their site here

Bizzle!

Interview- Rahzel: Da Godfather of Noyze

Xiao Bizzle got a chance to ask Rahzel a few questions about his upcoming performance at Bling, his feelings about the global state of hip hop and what he does in case of a “hiccup” on stage…

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Bizzle: How would you describe your musical style or art form to someone who wasn’t familiar with hip hop?
Rahzel: Human beatbox, vocal percussionist, mcee… i do all styles of music [but] with my mouth…

Bizzle: Where do you get your inspiration?
Rahzel: I am inspired by all types of music and sounds around me everyday… by listening to many types of music and sounds… REALLY listening to all the layers of sounds… I am inspired when i go to countries around the world and see hundreds of other beatboxers. I have influenced them to keep this movement alive and that inspires me to keep going…

Bizzle: Being perhaps the first commercially successful BeatBoxer, what advice would you give to an aspiring Chinese (or any nationality) vocal percussionist?
Rahzel: First, do not copy or duplicate what i do. That is not the path to your own success. Many times kids want to show that they can do what i do by doing my routines. They cant. The best thing to do is to come up with your own style, your own beats, your own techniques, and that will make you stand out on your own and be able to start a career. Work on your stage presence and your stage show. Just doing fast beats 800mph is not good. Work on your sounds and learn to separate the different sounds and tones within the beats you make… Never give up or be discouraged… practice practice practice… I’m still learning and developing my own techniques everyday.

Bizzle: Would you be interested in working with any Chinese hip-hop artists? (Because, I can arrange that… haha)
Rahzel: Yes of course! Myself and DJ JS-1 REALLY want to record with Chinese Hip Hop artists! Seriously.. lets make this happen and make history!

Bizzle: As the “Godfather of Noyze” you have traveled around quite a bit with the Roots and on your own, and soon to be visiting China, so on a bigger picture, where do you see the direction of hip hop going Internationally? (Will it ever surpass or equal the movement in the US? )

Rahzel: It has already surpassed the US movement. In every country in the world there are now hip hop acts and groups who sell many many records and make very good music. If you add up all the countries and all the groups, it is a lot! The problem is the language barrier and promotion. All countries play and support US artists, but not every country, including the US support or play any music from other international acts. It is difficult for French hip hop to break into the UK, Germany, Japan, etc because of the language difference. Many people speak English around the world and that helps US artists. Plus, hip hop originated in the states and it will always be the “mecca” of hiphop, so obviously US artists will always do well, but we love a lot of international hiphop. JS-1 is now working on an international hip hop album with ONLY mcees from several different countries…

Bizzle: What do you expect the audience to be like for an American beatboxer/MC at a luxury hip hop club (Bling) in Beijing to be like?
Rahzel: We are not sure what to expect. Hopefully it will be a good hiphop crowd and not a commercial dance crowd. however, it does not matter, we bring our traditional form of hiphop, two turntables and a microphone, all over the globe, and people love and respect it. For those who know, they will love it and for those who are not sure what we are doing, they will get the ultimate lesson in real hiphop, turntablism and beatboxing.

Bizzle: What is one (or two) things you want to do in China while you are here?
Rahzel: Visit the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and other historical sites. It is not very often that we get to be here and take in the amazing culture and history of your country. China has one of the longest and greatest histories as a country and we are excited to visit some of these sites. And second, we hope to bring some good hiphop to the people and influence some more people to beatbox, scratch records, or just appreciate hiphop music.

Bizzle: What brands of hats, sneaks or other gear are you feeling right now?
Rahzel: I always love my new era hats. I have a huge collection. I am not brand specific. I go shopping and simply buy what i like. whatever catches my eye and i think looks good on me. So its not really about the brand name, but more about what i like or dont like. And DJ JS-1 is traditional old school Rock Steady Crew and loves his Adidas always!

Bizzle: Have you ever been beat-boxing on stage and had a major “hiccup” or breakdown? How do you handle that?
Rahzel: Yes once or twice. I am human, it happens. If i have to cough of hiccup, i find a way to fit it in the beat or pause and keep going. It does not happen often but if it does, i kinda like it, because it shows i am human. We are prepared to handle whatever happens on stage!

Thanks to Rahzel for the interview!

Don’t forget!

Rahzel@Bling

Date: Friday, November 20

Time: 9pm-late

Cover: RMB 100

Bizzle!

Rahzel @ Bling, Friday Nov 20th

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This Friday night at Bling, the Godfather of Noyze, Rahzel will bring his world-class beatbox skills to the Dirty Kapital. Rahzel has been the predominant beatbox artist for over a decade and the Youtube video of his performance of “If your mother only knew” has amassed millions and millions of hits.

From the CityWeekend event posting:

RAH ZEL – The Human Beatbox Comes to Bling

The undisputed “Godfather of Noyze,” Rahzel has re-defined the beat box. Probably the best known member of The Roots, Rahzel is a self-defined “vocal percussionist” who has perfectly mastered this quintessential hip hop art form…

To hear him is to be converted. Performing Exclusively @ BLING.

Date: Friday, November 20

Time: 9pm-late

Cover: RMB 100

Also, click here for a good interview with Rahzel done by TimeOut.

I just talked with Kristen from Bling / www.LumDimSum.com and she was saying its definitely going to be a sell out, so GET THERE EARLY!

I am headed to meet Rahzel at his hotel tonite to show him around town a bit, perhaps even meet up with my boys over at The Park. Then tomorrow night Yin T’sang is accepting an award at a Yoho Awards Show, and Rahzel will be rolling with them (you know I gotta be there as well!).

Holla to YinEnt for booking the show, big up to Bling and Yin T’sang Wan Sui 隐藏万岁!

Bizzle!

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