18 years ago today one of the most sizeable Hip Hop releases, if not mission statements, was released in America. Wu Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers launched with the intention of propelling solo careers and collaborations under its banner. Last night arguably the slickest, most prolific of the eight surviving members – Ghostface Killah hit the capital in an ever celebratory mood.
The task of warming proceedings fell first to Nasty P, Edinburgh’s own Paul Rutherford, to get the tins of Red Stripe in the air for the first time of the evening. His flexible, grinding grooves give more than enough space in the mix to air some local patter – however brief the airing of his wares from this year’s LP ‘Choosers Can’t Be Beggars‘ may have been. Easily the go-to-guy when the hip hop superstars are in town.
Not often enough juggernaut rap gigs have a main support worth paying little more than a passing glance at. Thankfull Kobi Onyame‘s hood up, head down approach to proceedings was backed with a mix of shiny hip-pop (‘Inner City Lights‘) numbers, his own celebratory numbers (‘Congratulations‘) and importantly enough wit and grit to keep the the swelling audience arriving from overcrowding the bar before the end of his set.
Before, during and after the prelimary MC’ing were beats ably provided by DJ Bunty and host DJ Prospect – but the backing of DJ J-Love, long time touring DJ and proclaimed ‘King of Mix-Tapes” for the main set really laid the Guicci shit down for The Iron Man.
After an anticipated late entry beyond the 9pm landing time, Ghostface strolled out with his Theodore Unit possé and into his Raekwon assisted fanfare, Criminology, sweeping the last 15 minutes of buildup under the carpet within seconds.
Thanks to his sheer prolific output, Killah leaves himself a lot of ground to cover. Thankfully the T-Unit stalwart Trife Diesel was on hand to help sink solid numbers ‘Be Easy’ and ‘Theodore’ even harder.
Unlike the visit of Raekwon back in March, Pretty Toney didn’t need to rely on touching base with Wu Tang cuts as when he hit midset – instead reaching backstage for the sizeable appearance of Killah Priest.
With the man responsible for the licks on GZA’s ‘Liquid Swords’ closer B.I.B.L.E. able to kick things into the next gear without breaking much sweat under his Manchester United emblazoned beanie.
The only person seeming to complain about the arsenal of material at his disposal was the maestro himself, baying the crowd into reminding him of 1999’s ‘Supreme Clientele’ album before launching into ‘Ghost Deini’. Rewarding himself with touching base on each corner of his career, reclines into a sway along rendition of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Distant Lover’ to give a bopping audience some deserved time to catch their breath.
Arguably the highlight of the set was snapped up by Wu afficinado ‘Hong Kong Louie’, who hopped on stage to kung fu an a capella lick to ODB’s slice of Protect Ya Neck, the biggest props coming from Ghostface himself.
The traditional gauntlet of Wu Tang numbers to close a Clan member’s set were, for once, received as loudly as the hour of solo material that proceeded it. A testament to the quality of material and skill on stage and the abundance of true Wu-heads worshipping it.
Coupled with the tighter than tight soundsystem now on show in Edinburgh’s premiere hip-hop bunker (just ask KRS-One of Raekwon from their Liquid Room performances) and the promotional strength behind these evenings – next time Wu are in effect in Scotland, a sell out show with these crowds behind them would make up for any airy Academy performance in a flash.