Canibus at Club Red Last Night

Club Red
Saturday, February 26


That's what the club was chanting last night as they waited for Canibus to hit the stage Saturday night, sometime after midnight. Eventually the rapper appeared and immediately launched into his performance. Just one track in, he had to clear the sweat from his brow. The perspiration indicated the level of intensity with which Canibus would work his way through his heady music all night.

In some ways the performance was the antithesis of what many hip-hop shows have become. Today, especially in small clubs, it's often the case that a live set is nothing more than a stoned emcee casually recounting his album. Supporting hype men might try and get the crowd rocking but the angst is generally missing.

Listening to a Canibus album, you can feel his hunger, which he prides himself on. He loses none of live. "I'll be in the crowd if you ain't controlling it," he shouted during "How We Roll." His energy was contagious and had the small crowd moving, especially during his famed LL Cool J diss track, "2nd Round K.O." Many tried to sing along, shouting out his compacted lyrics. A few kids in the front row actually kept up with his relentless pace all evening.

Towards the end of the night he brought local rapper Greydon Square on stage to perform their collaborative track, "War Porn" off of Greydon's The Kardashev Scale. The moment was two years in the making for Greydon who had always wanted to work with Canibus and was instrumental in brining the show to Tempe last night.

Roca Dolla, Mister Riot, Mr. Miranda, Knox and a few other emcees all contributed opening acts making for a local rap summit of sorts. It's quite possible however that the mini-break dancing kid Mr. Mase (he couldn't have been older than seven) stole the first act with his b-boy talents.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Canibus at Club Red

Personal Bias: I'll side Eminen if their beef ever manifested it self in a Club Red riot to the death

The Crowd: Hip hop heads anonymous

Overheard: "When I say 'welfare' ya'll say 'hell yeah!'" -Knox

Random Notebook Dump: Dear opening act whose name isn't worth knowing. Never get on stage again and read lyrics off your cell phone. Ever.

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Chris Piel
Contact: Chris Piel