I got a late invite to Southpaw in Park Slope to kick off my CMJ with an anti-CMJ event featuring Homeboy Sandman, Kooley High, Kickdrums, The Clubhouse, Hezekiah and Blu among others.
I arrived just as The Clubhouse was tuning up, which felt like perfect timing as I was unaware of their presence on the bill and hoped to catch the group during my visit. The bill booked them as The Clubhouse, but it was a pleasant surprise to see them rock as their side project Recess that includes Brooklyn rapper Sene. Recess brought the soul power, with a two-man horn section that set the jams off nicely. Thus far, I've only heard the heady-grooves of “Escalators,” which bury the horns in the recordings, but live you can't muffle the brass. I talked with Sene and his crew after the set. If all goes well for Recess, the project is deep in cataloged sounds that will seep out in movements. Sene spoke excitedly of the group's possibilities after the set. He also clued me in that he's still making music with his west coast partner in rhyme Blu.
I've heard nothing but mixed reviews on Blu in a live setting and last night the caution was confirmed, although I want to place blame on the choppiness of his set on the DJ who insisted on stopping the record between each song to shout, “ya'll wanna hear that new Blu shit?” We said yes to that three times already, stop fuggin' asking us!
Blu was resistant to performing familiar tracks from Below The Heavens, but delivered tracks like “So(ul) Amazin' (Steel Blazin')” and “The Narrow Path” with his liveliest of cadence. Southpaw did not seem prepared for “new Blu shit” as it sounded like it was culled from the rumored Flying Lotus and Blu collaboration project. Whatever the case may be, Blu's music is maneuvering through lower ends and feeding off the erratic drum pattern awareness of hip hop's spacier sounds – tough break for the Exile production fans.