Bruiser Brigade, Flatbush Zombies and Kitty Pryde at The Paper Box

Post Author: Rafe Baron

On Wednesday, September 19, Scion A/V presented Open Mic at relatively new Brooklyn, NY venue The Paper Box. Performances were from Kitty Pryde, Flatbush Zombies and Bruiser Brigade, a Detroit rap group that features DopeHead, Chip$, Skywlkr, Chavis Chandle and Danny Brown.

I took serious issue with Scion A/V's editing of the Bruiser Brigade EP. I wrote about it, complained on the radio until it became a “theme” to the Bieber Side Boob Hour on Newtown Radio, and may have tweeted concerns for the Paper Box show. But Scion A/V is cool with unadulterated curse words and gratuitous hand gestures so long as you provide the proper ID at the door, if only that courtesy were available in a free download EP.

Like most, I was stoked on the unveiling of Danny Brown's Bruiser Brigade crew that week and attended to determine whether they were the next Outsidaz or the next D-12, the difference being one is a dope crew with stand out members, the other were lackeys and weed carriers except for Proof. By the end of the Bruiser's set neither comparison truly stood up. The Bruiser Brigade take equal cues from Wakka Flocka Flame's mayhem trap stylings and the sword-swinging lyricism of crews like the Outz and D-12. Detroit rap is suffering in a post-Dilla era of nostalgia and old ways. While the Bruisers are looking towards Lex Luger thunder and the druggy mash out aesthetics of touring cohorts Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky. While the rest of Detroit shrinks into an insular state, Danny and his hooligan posse are on the road trashing stages and making cunninlingus gestures to white girls in the front row. New York can skew the perception, but my estimation is that by the end of the Schoolboy Q and A$AP Mob tour, the Bruisers will be inching towards those Odd Future decibels of live set mania that incites crowd-surfing and heavy mosh pits.

Oh, to be Kitty Pryde. Adored by Fader, adored by 20-something women, lusted for by 20-something males, best friend to Danny Brown, and newest member of the Bruiser Brigade, according to her announcement after her opening set. As an adult male with testosterone, blue collar Midwest sensibility, and a stern criticism for female MCs, the championing of Kitty Pryde causes me distress. I hear it and feel old. I heart it and wonder how anyone over the age of 15 can find it within themselves to discuss its merits publicly. I cringe mostly. Her set at Paper Box though brought ease to my old man bitching. Her style is simple and cutesy, but she commands it on stage and displays awareness. She won't be Kitty Pryde the teenage Internet phenomenon who raps diary entries about Skype boyfriends forever. Her opening track boasted the chorus, “I'm Kitty Pryde. I don't know shit.” She's heard our old-ass complaints and she's got rebuttles for those of us who don't think she's in on the joke or has the chops. The new songs she performed were laced with the sweet sting of venom. She addressed her past music, her critics, and turned a middle finger towards it all. A 21+ crowd gave her little comfort or encouragement, but who's truly brave enough to be 25 and throwing their hands up for “Okay Cupid”? I still won't listen to Kitty Pryde for reasons I've already shared (even if her entire album is produced by Beautiful Lou), but I do admire her rapid growth to not linger on the teeny bopper schtick. There's a chance, her rap fame lasts longer than Kreyshawn's did. There's a chance she does better than 3,900 first week sales.

To the Flatbush Zombies… I'm in. Someone referred to you as “a best kept secret” and it's time the word got out.

Bruiser Brigade plays a free and explicit show Brooklyn thanks to Scion A/V.