Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf and friends November 29, 2007 The Foundation Review by Jordan Selbo
The Stones Throw circus came through like a breezy wind Thursday night, wafting its peculiar brand of indie Hip Hop over an appreciative crowd that ran the gamut from nerdy rap head to slightly-cooler-but-still-not-that-cool rap head. All the pieces were in place--smoked-out beats that thumped and nodded in thick clouds of J Dilla’s ghost; a colorful cadre of flashy but ultimately one-dimensional MCs that did what they did well, and then let the beats speak for themselves; and finally, a goofy ringleader in Peanut Butter Wolf, nonchalantly running things with his absurdly random sidekick the Arabian Prince (of NWA semi-fame) … all off a fancy laptop, no less (fans hoping for displays of turntable virtuoso were sorely disappointed, as in addition to the digital soundtrack, the advertised master DJ J Rocc was not in attendance). In the predictability of its fantastical nature, perhaps, lies the Stones Throws appeal.
The roster of the seminal left-coast label reads like a random sampling of rap styles, unmoored from time or place. They are a motley crew, united only by their incongruities and the rich sonic bed of beats done by Madlib and his cronies (including Oh No, who is an equally brilliant and even more madcap producer as big bro, and the late J Dilla, who was recalled several times during the night).
Yet that’s more than enough for me and a swarm of other die-hard Lib fans. So MED came out to spit some solid flow, followed by Guilty Simpson, with his hard street tales and gully static sounds. Then the old-ass CD-hawking Percee P stepped out to flow with machine-gun precision and one too many a capella rhymes. By the time Madlib came on, the vibe was sticky and palpable, floating in the air along with copious plumes of coughee smoke.
The music never stopped, the squares never quit bobbing, and although liquor sales might have been slow, the show must go on, and it did. Stones Throw--the very name echoing something local and accessible--showed up and pitched their colorful tent, bypassing exhortations and heart-rending confessionals, settling for a status quo of satisfaction through familiarity. It was a grand old party and everyone was invited; only problem was, the people that showed up would’ve rather studied lyric sheets under a bed table lamp than two-step their way into a fine girl’s life. Hey, we’re not lonely-- we have our music to cuddle with.