The Observatory in OC was home to the 4th Annual The Smokers Club tour, and I along with Out Da House Productions were in the building!
This edition of the Smokers Club tour included Chevy Woods, Cashius Green, Pheo, Black Dave, June, Minty Burns, Hefna Guap, The Underachievers, and headlining acts Ab-Soul and Joey Bada$$ along with the Pro Era crew.
This show brought out a large crowd; the line extended past the lot onto the main street and once inside, the entire venue was filled from the front of the stage to the upstairs balcony. The crowd enthusiastically greeted each and every act that hit the stage.
Undoubtedly, the Underachievers and Chevy Woods were the most anticipated from the minor act names on this tour. The Wiz Khalifa affiliate, Chevy Woods, had everyone chanting “Taylor Gang! Taylor Gang! Taylor Gang!” as soon as he stepped onto the stage. The Underachievers stepped in with their grimy-rhyme dropping, quick-witted demeanor. The duo, consisting of Issa Dash and AK, peformed tracks off their critically acclaimed mixtapes Idigoism and Lords Of Flatbush.
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"This is how we chill from 93 ‘til…"
Hip-Hop purists from all over Orange County came out to the Observatory in OC Saturday night to witness one of the most underrated, yet critically famed hip hop crews to step out the left coast during the genres golden age.
The Observatory alongside Out Da House Productions brought home Souls Of Mischief- the group consisting of emcees Phesto, Tajai, A-Plus, and Opio, hailing from East Oakland, California- who broke into the early hip hop scene in the early 90s. For those who have lived through the genres early years and for those of us who have arrived into the culture later on and dug into the history, it is an undisputable statement to say that this is a crew that is one of the pioneers of hip hop, that of legendary acclaim to the “real” hip hop heads, and this was a show not to be missed. (and why would you? when tickets we’re brought to you for only $5)
The night kicked off to good start, we had a nice little lineup to prep the crowd including Pro The Leader of American Poets 2099, City Dwellers, Emcee Classiq w/Dj Snoop, Dusty Crates, and Drewid of Speach Impediements- we also had InDJnous holding down the 1’s and 2’s all night, bringing nothing but that raw shit- from Wu-Tang Clan cuts to the smooth sounds of the Fugees . By 8:30 pm the place seemed light of a crowd than usual, raising the question whether heads had gotten the memo, or whether we hadn’t exposed the show enough to bring out a large enough crowd, or whether people even cared for Souls Of Mischief. Close to 10pm all doubts vanished, the venue filled with a a little more than half room capacity, and looking out the doors you could find a long line of enthusiastic fans, that curved half of the venues length, still waiting to get in.
The “93 ‘til infinity” phrase tees and the three-dotted-eye, straight-mouth logo was seen all around (in reference to the crews extended hip hop collective Hieroglyphics). Souls of Mischief hit the stage roughly around 11:25pm, the stage lit up, out stepped Tajai, Phesto, and Opio, and although fourth member A-plus was missing, the crowd went up into a roar of excitement.
They often say, “you get what you pay for” but in this case, Tajai, Phesto, and Opio gave hip hop fans all that and much more. Souls of Mischief took a full room into a nostalgic voyage with cuts like “A Name I Call Myself”, “That’s When Ya Lost”, “Never No More” and “Step to my Girl”.
Mid-way into their set Opio said "…We are hip hop. If you are here tonight you represent hip hop. and If you know about hip hop, if you know about Souls Of Mischief, then you know about Hieroglyphics"- the crowd went nuts and all three members broke into the Hiero track “You Never Knew”. But the moment it all became surreal was when the trio broke out into the sweet sounds of “Cab Fare”- one of the rarest tracks off a early Hieroglyphics mixtape to never get proper shine. Once the sound of that flute came on it felt like we were caught in a dream. Everyone raised their hands in the air, vibing to the smooth melody that flowed out the speakers.
Opio announced towards the end of the night that this date marked the 20th year anniversary of Souls Of Mischief. Souls of Mischief’s first studio album 93 ‘til Infinity was released September 28, 1993 under Jive records, and our city had the privilage to celebrate this 20 year longetivity.
Souls of Mischief ended the night in the most proper way, performing “93 ‘till Infinity”- as everyone recited along line-per-line until the hook hit, “this is how we chill from 93 ‘till…” - hands sprang up, moving in a up and downward motion and bodies swinging in correlating movement, showing mad love and respect.
It was another epic night for Hip Hop at the Observatory and for the Out Da House catalog. This was one of those shows that remind us why we admire the genre, why hip hop will never be dead, and why we do what we do.
Ain’t no party like a West Coast party, cause a West Coast party don’t stop!
The Observatory in Orange County was home to the biggest West Coast “party” to hit Santa Ana this past Friday night.
The Observatory in conjunction with Out Da House productions brought forth four of the most respected rappers to stem out the left coast for a one night West Coast Revue. So what do you do when you have Warren G, Mack 10, Suga Free, and none other than DJ Quik as the live band director for the entire event in the same place, for one night? You “call up everybody, and pitch in on a party”…
The venue filled up with enthusiastic fans early on into the night, everyone eager to get the best view in the building. The stage displayed a set of a instrumental-ensemble, covered up under black cloth. DJ Cali was on the 1’s and 2’s, positioned on the left side of the stage, keeping the crowd up and jumping throughout the night, and in between opening acts, with west coast party anthems that ranged from Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It” to Pac’s “California Love”.
By 10pm the entire venue was entirely packed from front-to-back, left-to-right. From the pit to the three tier levels of the venue, the bar floor, and the upstairs balcony- it was evident that it was about to be a successful and epic night. As we approached midnight hour everyone was steadily growing impatient by some of the chants amongst the crowd "DJ Quik, DJ Quik, DJ Quik…Suga Free, Suga Free, Suga Free…"
Roughly around 11:45 pm the stage lit up, the dark covers set upon the live band’s set dropped, musicians positioned themselves, and the roars of anticipation from the crowd heaved. The band began to play a funky medley, and in stepped Warren G!
The crowd went wild as Warren G took the stage. Warren G hit fans with cuts from his G-Funk Era album like “This DJ”, “Do You See” and the late-great Nate Dogg assisted, “Regulators”. Mid-way past his set the stage’s sidelines filled with an entourage and it was visible that it was a real party all around as they all grooved to the sounds. Mack 10 got second dibs on stage performing cuts like “Backyard Boogie” which had everybody in the building booging like G’s do, as well as “Nothing But the Cavi Hit”, “Connected For Life” and the heavy 1995 hit “Foe Life”. Mack 10 added that gangsta-rap appeal even through the live instrumentation.
DJ Quik joined both Warren G and Mack 10 at one point throughout their set as he two-stepped around the stage with a cup of what was probably hennesy, simply just enjoying his colleagues performance. The QUIKster took hold of the stage right after Mack 10, as he broke into those 90s throwbacks “Born and Raised in Compton”, “Tonite”, “Pitch in on a party”, as well as his late hits “Can You work with that?” and tracks like “Trouble”. But the most memorable and probably favorite track performed by Quik that night had to be the Originally feature with TonyToniTone “Let’s Get Down”. Quik picked up a white electric guitar and played the entire song with it in hand, joining the band- now that was a sight to see. Suga Free shortly after joined Quik on stage and together they performed collabs- “Down, Down, Down”, “Do I Love Her”, and “Inside Out”. Suga Free, with what had to be at least a 5 foot iced-out pimp cane, finished the show with cuts like “Don’t Fight Da Pimpin”, “If U Stay Ready”, and Street Gospel’s “Why U Bullshittin?” and “I’d Rather Give You My Bitch” which had everyone up out of their seat, pledging that pimpin’.
West Coast Revue was one of those ‘you had to be there’ events, there’s so much that went on on that stage and amongst the crowd that it really comes up short describing it in words. The atmosphere was just right- whether you were gone off that Henny, floating on a cloud of smoke, or completely sobered up groovin’ the whole night, there’s no doubt that this night went down in your book as one of the best. It’s safe to say that it is an epic night when you have four of the best that rep the west on the same stage in the same night. Warren G, Mack 10, Suga Free, and DJ QUik- That is legandary shit right there!
And if you missed it, well, you deserve to get a backhand slap to the face… in a real way!
"Ain’t no such thing as halfway crooks…"
The infamous Mobb Deep headlined the main stage at Orange County’s the Observatory, providing fans with a hip hop studded event from begining to end. It is safe to say that we began September off on a good note; Out Da House in conjuction with Ad Hoc Live and the Observatory in OC presented hip hop enthusiasts with a one-night event line-up that was sure to satisfy the admirers of witty-lyrical line droppers of the genre.
Critically acclaimed rap duo Mobb Deep, hip hop powerhouse producer/emcee The Alchemist, and Wu’s Inspectah Deck were all set within the nights line-up. The night began with DJ Daine on the 1’s and 2’s; The REC Room, Casino Gang, Tark, KGB, Rebellion Warfare, Sage One, along with a few special guests: Pawz One, Boldy James, and Boogz Boogetz, built up the crowd as we approached show time for the headlining acts. Fans were seen with hands up in the air, rocking from side to side, enthusiastically waiting.
Meanwhile, backstage something beyond the crowds anticipation was taking place. Surprise guests and well-known emcees could be seen mingling around, some preparing to hit the stage, while some merely in attendance to show support. Ras Kass, 2Mex (of the Visionaries), Killah Priest, and Evidence (of Dilated Peoples) were some of the few rap names spotted amongst the multitude that filled the behind-stage patio.
Ras Kass was one of the first to surprise the crowd, stepping onto the stage spitting fire acapella for a few seconds, right before a back-beat dropped. As opening-supporting acts continued to rock the crowd, behind the scenes preperation for an unfortunate announcement was taking place- unfortnately Inspectah Deck would not be performing that night.
Out Da House CEO, Carlos “Droops”, took to the stage to give news to the awaiting audience. “Who’s here to see Mobb Deep tonight, make some noise!…” he began, right before breaking the news that Inspectah Deck had to tend to a family emergency and could not attend the nights event. By the crowds reaction it was a dissapointment, then the noise of dissaproval changed as he continued, “We promised you an epic show, and we’re gonna come through, how many of y’all know Ol’ Dirty Bastard?”- the crowd went into an excited uproar. Shortly after he asked “How many of you know about YDB?- Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s son?”- the crowd continued to raise approval. It was only a matter of seconds when the instrumental to “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” dropped, and out from behind the black stage curtains stepped out Young Dirt Bastard. The audience went nuts as the young spitting-image of ODB ran from side to side on stage, performing his father’s most renowned track. The Wu “W’s” sprang up into the air as enthusiastic Wu fans recited line per line- “ooh baby I like it raw…”
Young Dirty Bastard’s presence on stage was a short and quick one, but nonetheless left Wu-Tang fans satisfied as Killah Priest then took to the mic as substition for Inspectah Deck’s performance. The interlocking double-edged sword hand gestures were held high with pride throughout both performances.
The Alchemist took the stage roughly close to midnight. Everyone greeted him with embracing screams. But undoubtedly, the highlight of the set was when Evidence walked out on stage alongside Alch, for a “Step Brothers” on-stage reunion. Both emcees rocked the stage as each performed tracks of their own, as well as those in which they pair up in duo.
It was a litte past midnight hour when the night’s main act was ready to give the crowd what they’ve been waiting for. “Who’s ready for Mobb Deep!?” was heard on the mic, everyone screamed. Then the “Survival of the Fittest” strings were heard from the deejay, everybody knew what time it was- Havoc and Prodigy stepped casually onto the stage. The audience went into an ebullient uproar at the sight of both members on the same stage. The duo performed the classics like “Shook Ones Pt II”, “Quiet Storm”, “Hell On Earth”, as well as more recent hits “Got It Twisted” and “Real Gangstaz”. The Alchemist hit the stage once again alongside Prodigy during the set, performing “Stuck to You” and “Hold You Down”.
Without a doubt it was an epic night and star studded event of hip hop at the Observatory in OC. Out Da House and Ad Hoc live once again served the people with the rawness. If you call yourself a real rap fan and weren’t in the building that night- we call yo’ bluff!
As if TDE wasn’t already part of the headlining topic in music as of late, they bring another reason to keep the industry talking.
Top Dawg Entertainment adopts it’s first lady, singer SZA. The young, beautiful, and talented songstress carries her See.SZA.Run EP and the S project under her belt, making her a presence to keep close ear to.
Now officially under the mighty TDE roster, the 23-year old is presented by the label with her latest work- “Teen Spirit” produced by WondaGurl.
This lovely young lady seems to step outside of the norm from what already makes up the TDE crew, yet seems perfectly fitting. She has a modernly sweet-sensual-angelic voice, something along the lines of Sade, with a little mix of an indie/alternative/pop influence to the likes of Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li (as heard on her previously released “Julia” track). She brings a refreshing sound that is inevitable to succumb to.
The New Jersey native is prepping her upcoming project which will be titled, Z. As soon as word circulates of the new TDE signee, I’m sure many will anxiously await such project, more-so a Kendrick collab.
Make sure you keep an ear open to miss SZA, listen to “Teen Spirit” below, as well as “Julia” if you have not done so already, and start getting familiar.