SHOWMANSHIP. Interplay. Creativity.
No push button dj’ing with explosions and gun shots all over everything. No safety net (the only safety net being the ability to improvise when something goes wrong… and something ALWAYS goes wrong on stage).
And I don’t mean a rap group with a turntablist who does his battle routine in the middle of the show. I’ll take the good ones over most modern day hip-hop shows but it’s not an integrated experience.
A DJ + an MC + a band + dancers. Hella rare in 2008. You definitely don’t need all of those ingredients but the most important part is actually putting some thought into it at the very least. Some personality & charisma go a long way.
Why do people pay money to see bammas walk back and forth across the stage shouting over each other and hardly engaging with the audience except to berate them or bully them? Is that supposed to be entertaining?
No wonder I rarely go to hip-hop shows anymore. And with record sales in the toilet, EVERYBODY has to tour these days, so the quotient of crap shows is shooting upwards.
And the “shows” that aren’t outright belligerent are really pep rallies. Most times if you hear that an act rocked their show, it wasn’t because their performance was particularly engaging. It’s because they have hits and everyone was excited to be in the same room with their favorite rappers yelling the lyrics at the top of their lungs. It’s a karaoke party. Admittedly, that can be fun sometimes (like the last time I saw A Tribe Called Quest) but in general I need a much more substantial experience for my concert dollars.
I guess I’m just old school.
And I’m fine with that.