Sunday, September 30, 2007

Q-Tip and Common rock Amos'

In an Aug. 20 blog entry, after I announced that Q-Tip would open for Common at Amos’ Southend, a reader commented that it should be the other way around.
During Thursday’s performance, Q-Tip made a strong case that he could be the headliner. The crowd, which stretched from the front of the stage past the sound booth to the rear bathroom, re-lived the glory years of rap as Q-Tip delivered both new and old tunes. (Hear my interview with Q-Tip on the Paid to Party Fo’ Yo’ Ear podcast on Wednesday afternoon.)
He opened with a funky tune reminiscent of a Parliament-style groove. Then he tested his chops singing on another number. By the midpoint of his 45-minute set, he and the crowd performed “Check the Rhyme,” “Bonita Applebum” and “Electric Relaxation.” He also performed his solo hits, “Vivrant Thing” and “Breathe and Stop.”
The best part of his set was “Scenario.” He invited two audience members on stage to rap lines from the song with him. Q-Tip started a verse, and each audience member had to finish it. The woman from the audience who joined him on stage got crazy love from the crowd. She rapped her parts correctly, confidently and then stopped. The guy who followed her mistook the concert for his own personal showcase. Along with rapping lines from “Scenario,” the guy freestyled and was quickly booed off stage. (Dawg, people paid to see Q-Tip and Common, not you.)
Common delivered a similar show to the one he did at Grand Central in May. He hyped the crowd, jumped around, and wooed a woman on stage. He performed more cuts off his new album, “Finding Forever,” such as the title track and “Break My Heart.” He gave fans a mix of old and new. The best part was “The Light.” It’s a song about love, and to hear nearly 1,000 people sing, “There is a light that shines…” was crazy-cool.
I was disappointed with Common’s treatment of “Misunderstood.” The track, on his new album, has a Nina Simone sample. It’s about people, such as a drug dealer and stripper, who make bad decisions trying to achieve their dream. The band slowed the song down so much that I barely recognized it. At the end, he gave shout-outs to all the people he says are misunderstood, such as Simone, 2Pac, Malcolm X and Michael Vick. Yes, Vick.
Yes, Vick made a bad decision, but throwing him in the same list as Malcolm X and even 2Pac is a stretch. They at least tried to uplift people with their words. Vick hasn’t -- yet. Maybe Common is just hoping Vick is misunderstood.


Anonymous said...

Actually Q-Tip performed Check The Rhime with the girl in the crowd...not Scenario. Scenario featured Leaders of the New School and Q-Tip only performed his verse and a piece of Busta's.

Tonya I thought you knew your hip hop.