When word hit the street that Hip Hop production royalty Just Blaze and The Alchemist were not only coming to the UK, but also were actually preparing to go head to head, the scramble for tickets and interviews was on.
Both have worked alongside the who’s who of Hip hop such as Nas, Snoop, Cypress Hill and Mob Deep (The Alchemist) and have produced some of the ultimate club bangers of recent times including T.I ft Rhannia – ‘Live Your Life’ (Just Blaze). Their styles of production and collaborations at times have been at opposite ends of the hip hop spectrum, in a sense it could be describes as underground vs. the over ground.
The intimacy of the basement level of East Village (complete darkness, other than a green strobe, and a multitude of disco balls) made it feel like the first time you went to a house party, the kind you'll be reminiscing about until you're old and grey. Considering that they had already played to a full house at the same venue just days before, the additional date due to public demand still had revellers packed in tight.
This was a musical bout that the UK Hip Hop fraternity were not prepared to miss. The crowd on both nights included DJs, rappers and producers in their own right including DJ Lok, Mr. Thing, Shortee Blitz and rising hip hop star Mangaliso Asi amongst others. The Doctor's Orders had certainly delivered yet again, not only in terms of the kind of promotion that any accomplished publicist would envy, but the fact that Spin Doctor took us back and forth through the hip hop time line and officially got the party started.
The Hip Hop production gods kicked off the proceedings with a salute the main man running sh** – Jay Z, which Blaze has worked with extensively. Then in was a back to back of both producer’s wide-ranging discography and possibly some of their all time favourites including Rick James ‘Super Freak’, which they proceeded to dissect to the point of cutting it to shreds on the decks.
Being both a hip hop and boxing fan, it was more of a case of back to back in harmony, opposed a battle or the rumble in the East Village basement as anticipated. Yet, I had been warned that if I liked music and hip hop I should “come ready to rock”, “expect a good time”, and apparently “wear waterproof clothing, fire proof attire and expect a lot of explosives”. And there certainly wasn't a dry body (hence the waterproof clothing) or disappointed punter in the place (without a doubt a good time was had by all). Quite simply, they came, we saw and they conquered.
By: Thuto Mali