September 17, 2011
Better Than: Old school hip-hop Serato DJ sets we've seen lately.
Though the sound and style of West Coast rap music has evolved over the years, the lyrical bravado and the boldness of beats has stayed constant. The meshing of electro and rap was huge both in L.A. and New York, the latter, of course, was where Afrika Bambataa established the foundation for both turntablism and hip-hop culture. In Los Angeles, Egyptian Lover was similarly seminal, his hybrid of robotic rhythms and smooth flows an undeniably seductive soundtrack to SoCal's club and cruising scenes in the 80's.
The flashbacky fun(k) of it all was in full effect last night at Freak City in Hollywood, when Mr. "Egypt, Egypt" (real name Greg Broussard) served up his classics on stage both behind the decks and on the mic. He was joined by another L.A. legend, The Arabian Prince (of NWA fame). With dance circles and killer poppers busting out moves on the floor, plus a dope DIY art show (and Freak City's colorful graffiti'd décor) as backdrop, L.A. old school vibes were on display.Earlier in the night, favorites from Debbie Deb ("When I Hear Music"), Newcleaus ("Jam On It"), and Technotronic ("Pump The Jam") set the mood, when DJs including Peanut Butter Wolf rocked the decks, while live acts like B.C. brought modern house and Afro-soul to the party. By the time the Lover and the Prince took the stage (well after 1 a.m.) the party was in full bounce mode and the tempestuous twosome did not disappoint. Giving the hipster youths in the crowd a little history lesson, the Lover explained how he helped create the West Coast rap sound "with a little help from my friend," lifting up his beloved 808 box and playing it against his chest. The Roland TR-808 drum machine is not only one of the artist's trademarks, its deep boom-boom-boom bass kicks and tinny, cowbell-ish tap-tap-taps are pivotal to the 80's/early 90's dance music in general. Egyptian Lover led the crowd in a chant to the "Eight-Oh-Mother-Fucking-Eight!"
His rhymes are mostly about his prowess with the ladies ("Freak-a-holic," "I Need A Freak"... perfect songs for the venue, eh?) and he probably was quite the playa back in his Jeri-Curled heyday. Donning a satin dress shirt and shades, the 48-year-old's come-ons felt charmingly retro, if not exactly lust inspiring. Still, the synthy-sexy sounds of his "little friend" were a turn-on all by themselves.