Last week The Bird hosted some high quality hip hop. The Short Notice lineup featured four Perth emcees – FG, Wisdom 2th, Empty and Mathas – with Silence manning the decks at intervals throughout the night. Although the crowd was small, it was appreciative of the diverse content, energy and style displayed by the artists.
FG kicked things off, his tracks showcasing a rhythmically pleasing flow coupled with introspective lyrics. His God sample was amusing, as was the line about rappers who boast about ‘swag’ and throw around the ‘fag’ comment. One of his final songs, ‘Last Train’ was particularly impressive. It somehow conveyed the sensation of being aboard an actual train – slowly building up momentum, shifting through surroundings and inching closer towards some final destination, all the while implicitly reminding passengers of their shared experience… Nice, to say the very least.
Next up was Wisdom 2th who lightened the mood with his ‘FroBot 2th Thousand’ cardboard companion. A natural performer with brilliant comedic timing matched by a broad grin, Lenny had the crowd constantly cracking up with ease. His track about nightclubs, which saw him don a shiny red jacket and execute some vigorous pelvic thrusting, was a humourous yet affecting insight into social behaviour. Wisdom 2th seems to react to his beats, rather than simply rap or sing to them, which is refreshing. He rounded out his set with a collaboration with FG about the daily grind that had heads nodding.
With DJ Silence in the background keeping things running smoothly, Empty took to the stage in double denim. A solo rendition of his band The Empty Cup’s latest single, ‘Riposte for JL’ was followed by an astounding array of freestyling. ‘Almost a Masterpiece’ and ‘Relapse’ led into an instrumental beat that will feature on the Community Beats compilation out next month. More tracks from The Mixtape – ‘Hard to Believe’, ‘Multiply’, ‘Alter Ego’ and ‘Love Isn’t a One-Way Street’ were peppered with further freestyled lines, (seriously…how?) before Empty’s set ended with an earnest ‘At Arms Length’.
Rounding off a line-up of premium Perth hip hop was recent WAMi award winner, Mathas. With his usual props in place and bare feet brushing the floorboards, he did some limbering up as the crowd edged in closer, like spectators of some exotic creature. Watching Mathas is like watching a lava lamp – it’s strange, it’s mesmerizing; you’re entranced without knowing what the hell is going on in front of your eyes. The figure of him in a crouch, rocking from side to side with a restless energy as if poised to leap from the stage, rapping hard and fast about politically-charged topics… Well, three things are clear: he’s a keen social observer, a deep thinker and a skilled communicator. Tracks from his 10lb Hairless Sasquatch 2009 release – ‘Doctorshopping’, ‘Nicotine Junkie’, ‘Interplanetary Relations’ and ‘Plasticate’ to name just a few were innovative yet horrifying in the way they reflect the worst of humanity to spectators. After rapping a poem over fellow Community member Vishu’s beat, Mathas ended on crowd favourite ‘White Sugar’, leaving Silence to spin some wax into the midnight hours.
Head to The Bakery on August 10 for the launch of the ‘Community Beats’ compilation EP – you won’t regret it.
By Lisa Morrison.
Photography by Daniel Craig.