Gift of Gab not so fab; Secret B-Sides bring heat to the ‘Shroom

Last night at Mellow Mushroom, Gift of Gab didn’t do justice to his often well-deserved name or reputation. Instead of high-powered hip-hop eloquence, the emcee delivered barely intelligible blather over iPod instrumentals.

Best known as half of the indie hip-hop super duo, Blackalicious, Gab came out dressed more like an accountant than rap star, and worked the stage like it was an office as much as an outlet for ecstatic expression.

Instead of flashy clothes and dance moves, his worthy goal was to let his sometimes astounding lyricism carry the show. But the problem, as is often the case with live hip-hop, was that his rapid-pace delivery, combined with a slightly distorted mic, made it impossible to understand most of the lyrics. Still, the sold-out crowd came to get down, and early Blackalicious hits such as “Deception,” “Sky is Falling” and “Make You Feel that Way” had peeps singing along and dancing on tables.

They were more than amply warmed up by a great opening set of soul-powered R&B and hip-hop from Asheville’s own Secret B-Sides. A range of local emcees joined smooth-swooning frontman Juan Holiday on the stage, including Chach, Foul Mouth Jerk and Adam Strange. The B-Sides’ sexy, laid-back grooves built a perfect foundation for the rappers, who on this night, proved tighter and more passionate than the evening’s much better known headliner.

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3 thoughts on “Gift of Gab not so fab; Secret B-Sides bring heat to the ‘Shroom

  1. Piffy!

    If you’ve ever seen a blackaliscious or Gift a gab show before, you would know this performance was normal. Nia and Blazing Arrow were very nice albums, technically speaking, but GoG rarely kills live in the same fashion his studio work does. In fact, this is often the case for the ‘conscious’ rap that so many non-rap fans canonize.

    Conversely, a group like the Secret B sides, and true, practiced MC’s like Chach and Jerk know how to truly Master the Ceremony, because they are actual rappers, not just studio legends.

    Blackaliscious was more about Cheif XL’s skills than GoG’s.

    support local, real hip hop.

  2. Trey

    GoG probably couldn’t concentrate due to the combination of the hippie stench and smell of bad pizza.

  3. g

    I agree that this was not his best show and wasn’t digging the i-pod musical back drop… but Caleb… truly.. you have no idea. There is tons of footage of GoG killing it LIVE on YouTube. Plus, he does freestyle like so few ever could. We’re talking about a cat who has performed Bonnaroo and with the likes of Galactic. This was Mellow Mushroom with a PA that is decent enough for a talent show. As a musician, your sound is half the game on whether your flow is going to happen. I thought it was pretty damned cool he played a pizza joint. But you know… everybody wants to be a critic. I’m just grateful for a damned good night!

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