Cali rap rages

"Sweet pop with shades of Neil Young." Rating: NNNNNA notice posted at the door is never something you want to.

“Sweet pop with shades of Neil Young.” Rating: NNNNN

A notice posted at the door is never something you want to see at a club, particularly when there’s a hiphop show scheduled. In this case, the tersely worded announcement that the challenging Anti-Pop Consortium had cancelled was a big disappointment, though fortunately a beefed-up Blackalicious were ready to rip.

After an hour of the Lifesavers’ tedious room-splitting shtick, the beatheadz in backward ball caps, hoodies and fat pants who filled the Reverb to shoulder-bumping capacity were primed for some genuine entertainment. Blackalicious were happy to oblige.

Even though they blew up the spot a few months back, DJ Chief Xcel and the Gift of Gab apparently didn’t think their performance had been all that. So this time they came with the additional firepower of mike-wrecker Lateef and DJ D Sharp to ensure their business was right and tight. With MCs Lateef and the Lifesavers’ Versatile volleying verses from the left and right, the Gift of Gab could choose his moments to unleash devastating verbal attacks from centre stage, then step back to reload.

They may have a conscious rep, but make no mistake: the Gift of Gab — flowing with auctioneer-like velocity and changing cadence in a blink — is a formidable presence.

As a gag, he wound up the crowd, asking, “Are you ready for some hardcore shit? Some ghetto shit? The real gutter shit?,” then dropped a Sesame Street-ready rendition of the Alphabet song followed by a mind-roasting race through A2G that descended into a tongue-twisting blur all the way down to Z.

Like that wasn’t enough, they came back to flatten the place with Bomb On Y’all. Now, that’s a show.

BLACKALICIOUS, with the LIFESAVERS, at the Reverb, October 14. Tickets: $19.50. Attendance: 500. Rating: NNNN

TRAVIS The Man Who (Epic/Sony)”Sweet pop with shades of Neil Young.”STEVIE WONDER Innervisions

(Universal)”Pure genius.”PINK Can’t Take Me Home (LaFace/BMG)”Hot, girl-positive R&B.”

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