Monday, June 9, 2008

No Rival Represents at The Roots/Erykah Badu Concert

The KMEL Paparazzi snapped some pictures of a few folks from the NO RIVAL family at the Roots/Erykah Badu concert at the magnificent Paramount in Oakland on Sunday evening. The Cali-Speakers tee in black and "Sucka!" tee in white are pictured here. Be sure to hit up next week to pick up these shirts if you don't already have them. The Cali-Speakers tee is a tribute to West Coast Hip Hop and the "Sucka!" tee you will just have to see for yourself. I saw your cousin last week and he already has his. I even saw your grandmama and she's got hit up the web site while supplies last!!!

Oh! The show!? It was amazing. The Roots did more than warm up the crowd by ripping through a number of their hits and proving again why they are one of the greatest Hip Hop groups of all time. They flowed seamlessly from one song to another with improvisational jams that bridged the gap between their album track performances. I know that this conversation has been beaten to death, but Black Thought really is one of the most underrated MC's in the game. I love watching him spit it with his ability to move from a laid back tone to a more aggressive stylee. That is what makes The Roots so fantastic! They can soothe with a beautiful mid-tempo jazz beat or R&B track, and then come back and crush you with a bass heavy, boom-bap beat that makes you want to jump up out of your chair...remember we are at the Paramount. The Roots can be as gangsta' as they want to be. The Roots new album, Rising Down, is still in my ride and I think it will remain there for the rest of the Summer.

Erykah Badu was equally amazing. I respect her so much as an artist because she ALWAYS makes a statement...and not only that...she leaves an impact. She came out on the stage looking like a fierce, funky Sideshow Bob. She was fitted in a red plaid suit that she might have borrowed from her baby's daddy, Andre 3000 from Outkast. Her hair was in full Afro explosion mode. Do not, however, let the looks deceive you. Once Miss Badu opened her mouth and her beautiful voice began to fill the expansive space of the Paramount theater all eyes were on her. Her sound is so wonderful. She brings a sweet voice to a perfect mix of Hip Hop, Jazz, R&B, Funk, and even a little Rock. The comparisons to Billie Holiday are certainly not unfounded. In my opinion, it is rare to see a female artist that garners so much love and respect from both the ladies and the guys. I'm talking MAD LOVE. I might go to the Mariah Carey show with my girlfriend and enjoy the melodies from the songs I hear and the radio (although she is hot too), but I am not constantly nodding my head or up out of my seat screaming for more. Badu's bass heavy jazz beats always remind me of early 90's Hip Hop. She cruised through her set drawing on songs from all four of her albums. I also enjoyed the moments when she was just messing around on her drum machine. I could go on and on about the show, but since this is the NO RIVAL blog, I will keep it at that. In my opinion, there is absolutely NO RIVAL to The Roots crew and Erykah Badu. They are doing what they love and it shows. I hope that they continue to make wonderful music well into the future. Until the next show...

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