Diamond D at Revival, February 12
Gigantic New York producer/MC Diamond D made his first Toronto appearance last Thursday to a Revival crowd that consisted of hiphop heads and hiphop nerds. Diamond D is an pivotal figure in the early-to-mid-90s rap renaissance thanks to his consistently inventive sampling, hard drums and contributions to the work of Brand Nubian, Lord Finesse and the Fugees. Anticipation built as D took his time arriving onstage. But when he came out decked in a red velour tracksuit, happily exchanging high-fives with everybody in the front row for the first few minutes, then blazed through faves like Best Kept Secret and Pass That Shit from his classic 1992 Stunts, Blunts And Hip-Hop LP as well as work from his upcoming Grown Man Talk album (available at www.sandboxautomatic.com), the wait was forgotten. Some people felt that for a $20 price tag he should have played longer than 25 minutes.
After the set, Diamond said he was impressed by the turnout and the crowd participation, noting, "Places like Europe and Canada are great because the fans aren't fickle."
Juice at the Rivoli, February 11
Homegrown rap magnate Rochester , aka Juice , puts on a better show than most of the crusty old rap veterans ever could. How do we know? Cause we peeped out his li'l industry showcase (celebrating his recent signing to Maple Music) last Wednesday at the Rivoli . Straight bananas, duke! With more charisma than Will Smith in his prime, Juice cracked and snapped on the crowd between tracks about his mike prowess and first experiences with love. The highlight was his own version of hot instrumental du jour Slow Jamz, 'pon which his flow definitely proved featured-guest-on-the-remix-worthy. Kanye West, holla up north!