Reflection Eternal w/ Actual Proof
Friday, June 11, 2010
The Deal: Hip-hip duo hits Charlotte in support of their studio first album together in a decade, Revolutions Per Minute.
The Good: 9th Wonder jumped on the turntables for his group, Actual Proof, and the duo out of Raleigh was awesome. High-energy and engaging, they tore through their set with the flair of hip-hop veterans — but it was actually their first show ever. Unbelievable. Can't forget their female labelmate, Rapsody, who was the best female rapper I've seen in some time.
Talib Kweli's personality will never come off as high-energy but the low-key star was on the cusp of what could be described as that, ripping into a mix of old Reflection Eternal material from their previous album, Train of Thought, and incorporating new material somewhat seamlessly (the benefits of being one of the last tour dates). The only thing that could've gotten the crowd more excited about the Black Star tracks he performed would've been the actual presence of Mos Def.
Kweli also had fellow Brooklynite and Charlotte transplant, Special Ed, come up to perform two of his hits, rocking "I Got It Made" with him. Watching 9th Wonder's reaction to this, standing side stage, is one of those moments that make live shows worth it.
Always interesting to see Hi-Tek on the mic, because production is obviously his strong suit, but the hit maker was extra excited to get into verses from his album, Hi-Teknology and Train of Thought and rocked them admirably.
The pro-Black images displayed behind Reflection Eternal during "Get By" during the encore made me want the march on something like right that second.
The Bad: Transplant culture bit us in the ass once again. It's always sad when an artist has to stop the show and question how really into it the crowd is but in our defense, you're asking people who aren't from Charlotte to scream for a city they didn't want to move to and have even less pride in.
For those not familiar with the new material, it was a forced smile-and-nod situation rocking the songs they didn't really know.
Other than one guy having to be removed from the venue for his drunken exploits, the only other annoyances in the crowd came from fans under 5'5 trying to reach up and take pictures or record shitty footage on their phones. Grow 6 inches or come on time! Thanks.
The Verdict: Cool show, nothing legendary. Great to see hip-hop be hip-hop and the joy it brought people. Eagerly awaiting new material from Actual Proof now and hoping more people take a chance on Revolutions Per Minute.