A beat before the curtain dropped on their show last night, OverDoz's de facto leader, Kent, addressed the audience soberly, “We did this shit all by ourselves.”
He could have been referring to any number of things: building the group and its reputation from the ground up; creating a playful concept complete with costume changes for their set that night; packing The Roxy with not just friends but also folks in those tell-tale A&R suits; having more girls than guys crushed against the lip of the stage. Most likely it was all of the above.
While the country has been focused on the other Los Angeles young rap crew, the boys of Inglewood's OverDoz — rapper/singers Kent, Sleezy, Joon, Creamie, a couple of producers and a photographer/director — have been steadily polishing their raw & bangin' act, dropping a string of videos that look more like very slick shorts. It's all getting so good that Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes was heavily courting them this summer.
Live For, Die For, their latest album, was released early this year, and covered pretty much two topics — smoking out and stroking girls down. Perhaps it was due to this being OverDoz's first major headlining show in L.A. and their pouring themselves into both the planning and the performance, but the songs sounded even better live than recorded. Rare.
Comedy is a big part of what the group does. Creamie could fall back on a career in stand-up if the rap thing doesn't work out. And just go listen to “You're Blowin' It.” So instead of entering from the wings, the guys emerged from a large dumpster in the middle of the stage (check the cartoon depiction). Dressed to resemble a pimp-like bum, one of their crewmates slumped against it with a bottle of Hennessey that singer/producer Iman Omari slugged from occasionally. The core four hopped in and out of the dumpster for shirt changes, and hands waved intermittently from its depths.
Mainly they strutted and bounced around the stage, but they did employ bouts of choreography for songs like “It Girl,” a poppy track that wouldn't feel out of place in a John Hughes movie. Decidedly less innocent was the routine for bluntly titled “Come First.” Kent, who sings as well as he raps, has a voice that smacks of the freakiest '90s R&B pleaders — think Jodeci or H-Town — and two swiveling-hipped female dancers came out and helped the guys give life to the lyrics.
OverDoz have no shortage of friends. Kendrick Lamar and Casey Veggies are on their album; last night, Dom Kennedy dropped by for his verse on “Counting My Money.” More unexpectedly, Kurupt showed up and performed “Ain't No Fun.”
As “DESTED” came on, the stage was swarmed and everybody looked just so … happy. While we know it always involves pinching and pulling up the shoulder of your shirt (a literal interpretation of Three 6 Mafia's “Poppin' My Collar”), we're still not sure exactly what being “dested” is. But as OverDoz sang, “She's never had fun in her life, she wanna get dested tonight,” we're pretty sure everybody was.
Personal bias: I still listen to Jodeci.
The crowd: Ever wonder to which hip-hop shows pretty girls who dress well go? OverDoz's.
Random notebook dump: Joon just walked out in the Donnie Darko bunny costume.
Set list below.
Before We Go On
Don't Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
Ain't No Fun
Come and Talk to Me/Wanna Know Your Name
You Got Me Fcuked Up
The 4 Heartbeats