Review: Onyx (@ONYX_HQ) Live At Jazz Cafe!

19.05.14  Review- Onyx

 The evening was irritably humid. Upon arrival to the Camden Underground station, the scene was quietly busy, with the usual hustle and bustle of North Londoners, tourists’ commenters and all in sundry engaged in their respective business. My stomach began to rumble, and that queasy feeling of hungriness resided in my torso. The falafel wrap and pizza slice I consumed from a local store hit the spot- leaving me nourished but slightly dehydrated. My friend had just stepped off the tube himself- there was no time to buy some water. The night to come at the Jazz café was imminent; there was no more time for stallin’. Police were stationed at the junction blockin’ off the road with their car as we walked by. We heard the sound of the crowd roar as we stepped in, hassle free after minor discussions with the doorman, and a quick search. The occasion before us commenced with no further delay, filled with no expectations as the Buddah himself once advised…

The arena was rammed, and the tension lingered in the environment throughout all present. They were already on stage- and the crowd went wild making sure everyone knew about it. The congestion was like being on the northern line at 5:30pm, sharp- cramped and barely any room to breathe. But the atmosphere was hyped like the Roman Coliseum two thousand years ago. There were no animals here though, but there were gladiators, with quick-fire vocal spears and lyrical shielding. The days challenge was “that bullsh*t hip-hop!” There was no contest… the winner was clear, but the war had been waged, and the fans too had one finger in the air saluting the common enemy. Next thing you know nuff people in the space are yelling “WakeDaFucUp!!” from the 2013 release.

Onyx were tearing the stage up, the collective energy was the mountainous as Kilimanjaro, all anticipation had been lost, immersed into a blaze of beautiful aggression, channeled through the intensified Hip Hop presence of Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr. “The real Hip Hop is over here!” followed by a rendition of Shiftee, for those shifty N*ggaz…

The cuts thrown in by the DJ wreaked havoc causing silence to linger amongst the heavy breathing 500 people listening in great contention; “Over 30 years ago these people in Germany were making this sound… this Boom Bap sound, like KRS-One! Boom-Bap, Boom-Bap!” referring to Kraftwork, and other similar musical sounds of the era. Following in quick succession, it was gun fingers in the air, almost mimicking a salute to the sky — “when I say buck buck, ya’ll say Buck Back!” The room increased the decibels in explosive progression! “BUCK BACK!” resonated across the acoustics of the Jazz Café with immense momentum.

The audience understood with grace and clarity, what was being witnessed was no attempt to incite violence amongst us. Years of oppression and the need of self-expression accumulated into what was fun and overstanding. We understood the lyricists rippin’ the stage before us had opened an amazing Hip Hop Appreciation Week by maintaining positive, non-violent lifestyles. People to the center of the stage were frantically pushing, raging and even vaulting on top of each other in a sweat-filled testosterone fire. But it was cool. Why? Cause Fredro Starr shouted out many Hip Hop Emcee’s we miss and remember; 2-Pac, MCA, Big L, Jam Master Jay, Big Pun, Nate Dogg, the Notorious BIG, Easy E, Guru, ODB and X1… many styles of self-expression that are no longer physically with us but in sound and memory. We even did a tribute to Wu Tang! With our hands illuminating the ‘Wu’ in gratitude. “Slam!”… “Da duh duh Da duh duh”; we was rockin’ that!

The evening was topped off as Onyx performed almost an entirely new set from their newest album release. Sticky Fingaz did a crazy stage dive and those up in the center threw him back on stage, also bringin’ in that dopeness of seeing Sticky Fingaz climb some rails towards the upper tier from the DJ’s table and spittin’ whilst hangin’ off the side. It was nuts, but that sh*t was heavy. “Fuck the police!” got everyone roaring again. “London got that good weed, if you got sommin’ to smoke, light it up now…” People were hazing out the joint and the room was fogged in a mist, everyone still pumped to hear some more tunes. Onyx blared a last song in mad grandeur, shouting; “Come up and smoke some with Onyx!” before leaving the stage. People up in da house weren’t satisfied! We wanted more! But the show was over after a electrifying hour and a half…

It was one of the best of 2014 so far, no doubt.

Sh*t… BIG UP I Am Hip Hop magazine for lettin’ me review that show… I’ma definitely see Onyx again. That show was off da hook.

By Emcee ShivaOne

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Editor / PR Consultant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.

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