Sunday 24th September saw U.S. hip hop royalty grace Clapham’s The Grand, with the one and only Ghostface Killah of the mighty Wu Tang Clan.
Opening up proceedings and first to try to rouse the sleepy sunday crowd was High Focus Records’ Fliptrix, part of the Four Owls and a mainstay of the label that has been a major influence in the ongoing rejuvenation of the UK hip hop scene over the last few years. Backed by DJ Molotov, Fliptrix held the stage, spitting bars from a handful of the biggest tracks from his last two LPs including ‘See The Sun’ and ‘The High Way’. Fittingly repping for The Four Owls, he ended the set with his verse from the Preemo produced banger ‘Think Twice’.
Following Fliptrix’s opening set there were several short showcase cameos from artists that were part of Ghost’s entourage, most of whom were relatively unknown acts. This included female newcomer from San Antonio, Trice Hood, the UK based artist Paperz, Wu’s hard talking German connect Joe Young, and Brooklyn’s ShaneXSharps, who is one to keep an eye on for the future if the sound of his acapella on the night and his latest video ‘I Come From That’ is anything to go by.
Before Ghosts big entrance, his DJ named Technician let off a swift volley of classic tracks mostly made up of legendary New York bangers including ( the soon to perform in London with the Juice Crew) Biz Markie’s ‘Just a Friend’ and ‘Phone Tap’ by The Firm (who just celebrated their 20th anniversary). It is always a treat hearing your favourite bars over different classic beats so it was a joy to hear Killah Priest, although with a slightly gruff voice, totally smash the granny out of the mic with some of his best bars over classic beats such as Pharcyde’s ‘Passing Me By’ and Big Pun’s ‘Beware’, all delivered in his trademark dominant style and distinctive tone.
A quality show on a Sunday night is always a treat. However, most people are spent by Sunday after a rowdy friday or saturday, so anyone putting a show on on a Sunday would always do well to rouse a crowd up to full energy levels. And that is exactly what Ghostface managed to do.
When he did emerged on stage to the classic Badboy Entertainment produced ‘Special Delivery’, he spat his bars to perfection and soon we were thrown into a set filled with some of his most powerful tracks and some of the Clan’s greatest hits.
For a section Ghostface ran through a few tracks from the Wu Tang Clan’s first album, ‘Enter The 36 Chambers’. At one point there was even a call for onstage participation and a random female and male were plucked from the crowd to respectively spit Method Man and Ol’Dirty Bastard’s bars from ‘Protect Ya Neck’, with the random lady doing so well on the mic she drew a huge applause.
Spitting his verses from ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Mighty Healthy’ and ‘Tearz’, the crowd started to vibes and the energy peaked once that moody bassline and jarring sample from ‘4th Chamber’ dropped, with the crowd turning to a mosh like state while Ghost and Priest spat their time honoured bars. Ghost also squeezed in his verses from ‘Back Like That’ and ‘Cherchez La Ghost’ much to the crowds’ ecstasy.
There was even a moment to appreciate Al Green, with the crowd joining Ghost, Priest and Technician in bellowing out the sweet hook of ‘Love and Happiness’.
Its great to know that members of the Wu are still producing the kind of moments that help keep the fact in mind that Ghostface Killah always has and always will be regarded as a fierce live performer and a consummate professional. Nights like this show why Wu Tang is Forever.