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Thursday, December 14

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« "Hiphop is in the building." "Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself..." »

Concert Tue Sep 25 2007

All the Ladies in the House ... An Estrojam Review

Silly me: I thought crotch-grabbing was a hip-hop move relegated only to the male contingent. I was proved wrong time and time again as the performers of Friday night's girl-centric Estrojam installment at the Abbey Pub grabbed said crotches, got sweaty and shirtless, and owned the stage as much any man.

Friday's set was mainly made up of hip-hop artists, topped with a swan song performance by legendary group ESG. While overall the night was full of energy emanating both from the audience as well as on stage, at times the microphones were plagued by squealy sound problems. Kicking things off was Chicago's own chemist-slash-rapper, Psalm One, who slyly beckoned the audience, "Come closer -- I'm gonna tell you secrets." The low, funky triplets of "Macaroni and Cheese" got the audience riled, while the hot-hipped "Beat the Drum" sealed the deal.

Psalm One's laid-back flow paved the way nicely for Bahamadia, whose tight set proved the Philly-based MC deserves a major comeback. Where her work in the '90s generally saw her as the kind of relaxed rhymer whose vocals made her an excellent guest on tracks by The Roots, Erykah Badu, Morcheeba, and Talib Kweli, this night saw a different side of Bahamadia. She delivered classics and newer tracks with a hard, rapid delivery, while her cohort, DJ Statik, kept up with her every step of the way. As he slowed down the pace, playing tracks by other classic b-girls like MC Lyte, Monie Love, and Rah Digga, Bahamadia just laughed: "Aw, man. This is senior hip-hop, right here."

By the time the dirrrty South's Yo Majesty hit the stage, the crowd's excitement was palpable: what to expect from one of the year's most buzzed-about hip-hop groups? Wild dance beats and wild dance parties were certainly on the roster, events that often culminate in at least one of the members -- who, to be honest, do not look unlike Lil' Wayne -- taking off her shirt. And while yes, this event did indeed take place, it's almost expected of them -- and should going to a Yo Majesty show become a Countdown to Breasts? Anyway, it only lasted about 10 minutes before the (wo-)Man came down on the shirtless hullaballoo. But you get the point: YM put on a super fun live show as-is, nipple or no.

The evening's star performers, ESG, earned their stripes during the '70s as their beat-heavy blend of funk, soul, and rock, which made them one of the most sampled bands to date. The night marked their last performance as a group, and the music geeks crawled out of the woodwork to witness it. Originally a quartet of sisters based out of the South Bronx, the latest incarnation includes original vocalist Renee Scroggins and what apparently is her daughter, Christelle, on guitar and percussion and niece, Nicole, on bass, while an unnamed fellow acted as drummer.

And you know what? The ESG groove is a good one. Their old hits are still fun and funky, and it's obvious that Renee was having a great time onstage. But it's also obvious the band is at its end, as the music was basically being held up by Renee's vocals and the Unknown Drummer's tight drum work. The rest was sort of a rudimentary mess, a weird funk circus, as Christelle got caught up in showboating. It certainly made for some interesting entertainment, but as she did a sexed-up tambourine act, one couldn't help but wonder if ESG should've simply stuck to what they've always done best: bring on the sweet, jam-worthy beats.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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