High hopes go limp for Members

By Lawrence Bailey

“Tradin’ in respect to push a fat Lex / Puff rhymin’ on the remix, what’s next?”

–Binary Star

It had such promise. An up-and-coming hip hop act out of Vancouver taking the stage with labelmates from the West Coast of both the U.S. and Canada. It had such promise.

Damn you, Heineken.

The long, drawn-out and ultimately drunken affair at MacEwan Hall featured a stellar opening set by world-renowned local turntablist DJ Pump. Pump showed why he is one of the world’s best, switching up mad scratching with crowd pleasing tracks and setting the whole place off. Hopes that this would
set the tempo for the rest of the evening were dashed shortly thereafter.

Los Angeles’ DJ Murge followed Pump and within 20 minutes, the atmosphere was no more. After the high-octane opening set, Murge’s laid back style and approach
had people flooding to the beer gardens and the washroom. Not to fault Murge-it was a great set-he just didn’t hit the stage with the same intensity that characterized Pump’s set.

With the early enthusiasm all but wasted away, Abstract Rude hyped the place up again. With dreads a-flying and bass a-pumping, Abstract was a treat for all the heads who made it out and they responded in kind. A relative unknown in the world of commercial hip hop, he had the whole place into it by the time he was done.

Then the evening took a noticeable turn for the worse.

With a cocky bravado and a drunken swagger, Moka Only traipsed onto the stage. Best known for his work with Swollen Members, the Vancouver-based MC wasted the crowd’s time. Sloppy rhymes, incoherent rambling and a minute spent lying down on the stage really summed up Moka’s contribution to the night.

When Moka mercifully left the stage, the main event got underway and the crowd went off before Swollen even appeared. A brief but bumping set whipped Mac Hall into a frenzy. Madchild was his regular rowdy and raunchy self while Prevail set the place off with his uniquely infectious energy. The duo spent half the night either
in or on the crowd-rhyming all the while.

At that point the night degenerated. What began as a night of hip hop fell apart, becoming a scene straight out of a second-rate rap video. With Code Name: Scorpion (comprised of Moka Only, Prevail and Abstract Rude) on stage to close out the show, Moka began ushering girls out of the crowd and onto the stage.

Aside from Prevail, who actually attempted to continue performing, the rest of the nights’
MCs proceeded to chat up the ladies and pound back the seemingly endless supply of Heineken. Shameful.

Over 1,000 people showed up to see some MCs doing their thing. Prevail aside, those same people saw nothing more than a bunch of rappers.

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