Stones Throw Records are probably best known for holding two of the biggest jewels of the hip-hop crown in Madlib, aka Otis Jackson, and MF Doom, aka Daniel Dumile. These guys are responsible for dismantling years of suppression by swaying many an indie kid from his tight trousers into some baggies and the rest. High on jazz and the personal touch, and less of an eye on the money shot Stones Throw Records has built up a large cross-over fan base since Peanut Butter Wolf first decided to set up the label following the death of fellow producer Charizma in 1996.
Hip hop has a habit of embracing meta-textuality in a way that completely disregards and dismantles the usual unspoken laws of semiotics. Cook some soul from the late sixties, pinch a seventies funk base line and lace it with some helium induced hardcore vocals and no-ones really batting an eye-lid nor is anyone saying you can’t do that it wont work. And so that curious mix of zeitgeist, beats and attitude was prevalent here at Koko with the death of label mate Jay Dilla still fresh in the memory and ten years of Stones Throw Records to celebrate. But boy, did the people at Koko get treated.
…Percee P’s stage presence was both vaudeville and sharply astute
Jay Rocc and Peanut Butter Wolf dominated the first quarter of the night at the helm of the decks, splicing together a mixture of mountains of white label and some pitched club bangers with Stones Throw records fresh from the vault. Moving from your mates bedroom — the only place you tend to here underground hip-hop like this — to an arena and system like the one at Koko had an emancipating effect akin to running around whacked out in a field. This refreshing taste was backed up by multiple beat juggling and turntable pyrotechnics from Jay Roc with what the fuck beats and scratching in equal measure. This set alone would have done, but up next came Percee P with a soliloquy of his own. Nowadays the term old-skool hip hop is kind of ostentatious in itself but Percee P originally beded down in the early 80’s and as he told the crowd “I’m gonna rap a cappella, ok?!” there was no other way of describing it other than old-skool. Percee P’s stage presence was both vaudeville and sharply astute, combining breathless monologues with sound-bite showmanship. Percee P’s set also highlighted the familial ambience to the Stones Throw night as a whole, which saw its players maintain a constant presence on or off the stage and left an adoring crowd like putty.
If Percee P represented Stones Throw’s throw back to decades gone by Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Meldra illustrated the diversity of Stones Throw’s catalogue with a soul set. Sandwiched in-between such prestigious company Dudley and Georgia’s set ‘plateaud’ a little. The least unknown out of those on stage they occupied the stage longer than anyone else and for longer than most would have liked but if anything this was just a case of added preservatives when we were already spoilt for choice. Digress…? Madlib popped up to do an emcee set halfway through.
…onder bled into the star-struck crowd that remained virtually silent through out Madlib’s time on stage
El Beat Konducta managed to be surprisingly punchy in delivery riding a flow of stunted quatrains a la Lord Quasimoto. From a purists point of view his set was curious above anything else to see the little professor come out from behind his stack of jazz vinyl’s, and SP 1200 to not only offer us some rhymes but also a little attitude. This wonder bled into the star-struck crowd that remained virtually silent through out Madlib’s time on stage. This volume of herbs nevertheless proved only to be part 1 as Madlib returned at the end the night to take to the drum kit that had sat like a sword in the stone unused for the whole evening.
Despite his exceptional pedigree Madlib is no jazz drummer, but self-taught and unconventional he is. With no back up, Madlib drummed for 20 minutes solid morphing between a massive range of styles. This at times verged on burping the alphabet on a drum kit but generally had the feeling of an artist, untouchable, painting on-stage, at will with an iron grip. If we were in any doubt, Percee P later backed up this impression, laying claim that the crowd had just witnessed “A true artiste”. Delirious, maybe Doom may have summed the gig up better, “I like ice cream, we could skip the wedding, have a nice dream”.