By Daryl Lim
I grew up a fan of Mobb Deep. I had tapes of The Infamous and Hell on Earth, and I had to hide those from my mom, seeing as that they had what young rap fans dreaded back in the days of tapes and CDs; the Parental Advisory sticker. Still, I listened to them on my Walkman late at night, imagining the dark, grimy stories painted by Havoc and Prodigy over the dark production they used for their songs. Fast forward to 2016, and I never expected to not only see them perform live on Philippine soil, but to also meet them beforehand.
Havoc and Prodigy were cool, really low key, well spoken, and stayed true to their art. As evidenced by their performance that night, even more than 20 years into their career, they still knew how to definitely rock the crowd. Running through classics such as “Give Up The Goods,” “Hell On Earth,” “Temperature’s Rising,” and “It’s Mine,” people definitely loved the energy that came off them. The place absolutely went bananas when they performed, arguably, their biggest and most well known classic, “Shook Ones pt. 2”. When that Herbie Hancock sample hit, everybody knew what was going down. Their tour DJ, Ski Beatz, also knew how to control and rock the party, and it was a huge plus to have a legendary DJ and producer to grace the stage with them.
As big a highlight as Mobb Deep and Ski Beatz provided, Toronto’s Skratch Bastid also put on such a dope DJ set. Even with a torrent of rain coming down, people still stayed under the night sky to enjoy his style of party rocking, and, most definitely, everybody came out impressed by what kind of musicianship he provided as a DJ.
The biggest highlight of Urban Jam 2016, however, wasn’t Mobb Deep nor Skratch Bastid, but our local talent who came to truly steal the show. A long set by the Uprising Records crew showcased numerous talents from rocking the mic, to turntable artistry, down to live chopping on an MPC. Skarm and Curtismith held their ground and proved to be more than capable of helping carry the torch for our local stable of MCs. DJ Red-I performed a great MPC centered set, while Aryan Magat brought out some dope, old school flavored classics during his DJ set. Stalwarts such as Denmark and D-Coy also greatly contributed towards making the event what it was: a tribute to a culture that we all know, revere, and love.
Speaking of tributes, the event also became a showcase to show love to a Filipino rap OG, Francis Magalona. The love people showed during the tribute to him just proves one thing: Filipinos know how to truly revere the heroes and forefathers of Filipino Hip-Hop.
With the announcement of Urban Jam 2017, one has to wonder what kind of bigger tricks RandomMinds have up their sleeves, but one thing’s for sure: If they brought the heat in 2016, get ready for summer 2017 because if this was just a taste of what’s to come, the Philippines is in for a bigger and hotter Urban Jam real soon.