Onyx at The Jazz Cafe (Review)

Last night the distinctive bald headed embodiment of some of the grimiest music this planet has ever heard descended on Camden's Jazz Cafe. OnyxSticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr returned to the UK some 20 years after they burst onto the scene and bought together all walks of life as their music sparked a trend of hip hop mosh pits.

After some time sat waiting trying to envision how they could whittle down the wealth of material across their more well known LPs into maybe an hour show a small murmur swept through the crowd with heads turning in all directions as Sticky announced their arrival with one roar before he and cousin Fredro launched into a swift call and response which I guess was to just see if London was ready, seemingly fully convinced that they were they got the show started for real with the short but sweet 'Bacdafucup'. This is where it gets hard to write like a journo or blogger as from the second 'Bacdafucup' came on I was caught up in my late teen years and loving it thinking "that's right this is that real hip hop shit!"

The level of energy the duo bought on the first track alone was ten fold what most acts feel they need to bring to a show and they'd certainly not peaked or tired themselves out yet. It is funny how time flies when you are really enjoying yourself and I struggle to remember what order shit happened in but as Fredro Starr kept whatever sanity there was on stage intact with little help from management who had to keep pulling Sticky out of crowd surfing attempts during 'All We Got Iz Us' in one instance when pulled from the crowd he flew into the turntables knocking the sound out.

Ahead of one of a few tracks from the forthcoming 'Cuzo' LP the Trayvon Martin situation was addressed in a way that only Onyx (or maybe Da Lench Mob) would, some may have seen it as inciteful but they were saying what anyone with the capacity to be angered about the situation were thinking. Pointing out that with the diverse cross section of society in the building that were wearing hoodies and it could have been any one of us and urged the crowd to rock that hood to 'Black Hoodie Rap'. The group also took time out to salute the rappers from the period they came up in, remembering those who passed and shedding light on their relationships with them for example Fredro's documented beef with Ol' Dirty Bastard and their love for passed Onyx members Big DS and X-1. Maybe for the sake of the Wordplay/Jazz Cafe street team Fredro gave props to Sonny Seeza noting that "he is my brother but I gotta love him from a distance" I fully understand, that I got a bunch of friends like that. On reminding us of how spoilt we were for that real hip hop in the 90's and maybe having caught their breath they dropped another new track entitled 'I'm so 90's' to a very good reception due to the monstrous beat and the fact that the 90's feel is the feel of much of hip hop's classics.

I remember the tales from friends who went to an Onyx show back in the day and knew that anyone who had seen any footage of any Onyx performance may have knew what these dudes might do but I don’t think the Jazz Cafe was prepared for the commitment, passion and energy Sticky and Fredro use to convey their feelings when performing 'Last Dayz'...

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This show tops my list of hip hop live performances I have seen by a country mile. First and foremost Onyx in my opinion are one of the greatest hip hop acts ever and are without a doubt the most raw and lyrical of acts in the no nonsense type of category that M.O.P. would join them in. What they did on stage feels like it is a dying art sometimes and I know what I witnessed at the world famous Jazz Cafe gave me what I expected of shows that I saw in the golden era. Whether you were in the room or you just watched the YouTube clips you have to agree... That is Hip Hop and I will judge may a performance against that from this moment and doubt very much that many performance will even come close.

Also in their set list on the night was 'Shut Em Down', 'Shiftee', 'and 'Throw Ya Gunz‘ all performed to this standard ending the night with their piece de resistance the mosh pit inducing’ Slam’... 

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*I also had the pleasure of speaking to or trying to interview Sticky and Fredro for the Jazz Cafe and Chocolate Bear Productions ahead of the gig stay tuned for that too aight!


Original Post @ | KidFury.co.uk