SOUL POSITION at the Horseshoe, April 13. Tickets: $13. Attendance: 310. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
My expectations weren't satellite-high for Columbus, Ohio, duo Soul Position , despite the hotness of their new LP, Things Go Better With RJ And Al (Rhymesayers). The last time I saw member RJD2 noodling around on a sampler and keyboard at the Phoenix a couple of years back, while 1995-rave-style 3D animations played behind him, I was completely bored.
But as soon as wide-eyed MC Blueprint hit the Horseshoe stage, breaking an impassioned artistic mission statement over a loop of Corey Hart's Sunglasses At Night, it was clear that RJ's live sensibilities are much sharper when he's got someone to work with.
While Blueprint ran through the attention-grabbing words from the new album and old faves, brightly dressed RJ's wacky presence relieved the MC's intensity. The stuffed crowd was kept hot with the blunted-up Inhale from 8 Million Stories, the movingly sharp No Gimmicks and the hysterical Blame It On The Jager from the new disc.
This culminated with the nerdy DJ cutting in the ill but kinda obscure beat from Memph Bleek's and Jay-Z's It's Alright, which features samples of Talking Heads' Once In A Lifetime chopped in as well. Not long after, RJ came out to double-dutch dance with Blueprint over the beat. They faced off with a nonchalant two-step that won them plenty of crowd love.
A couple of the night's themes re-emerged when the Superman-T-shirt-wearing MC kicked Priceless over the Billie Jean break. He did the brilliant Verizon Wireless lament I Need My Minutes, instructing the whole crowd to do the simple I Need My Minutes dance. For this number, RJ changed into his alter-ego, Hella Buttons (a play on Halliburton). Wearing a beat machine like a platinum pendant in front of his 1s and 2s, he played the beat live.
After sparking some screams by rocking Final Frontier, RJD2 asked warmly if anyone had bought the new album. With the same tone, he asked if anyone had downloaded it, and some courageous kids cheered.
"Yeah, yeah, downloading, that's cool. Really," he said. "Yeah I'll just download my family some diapers."