Son Raw wouldn’t suggest crowd surfing at a Dilla tribute night.
iPhone footage from last night’s BadBadNotGood tribute to J Dilla at The Belmont in Montreal won’t do the show justice but it’ll have to do for now. All you need to know? These kids are the real McCoy and they brought the jams in spades last night delivering high energy takes on James Yancey classics that landed somewhere between 70s Fusion, The Mothers of Invention and a particularly swagged out punk band. Wisely making the material their own rather than attempting to recreate Dilla’s angular drum patterns in a live setting, the show was all the more impressive due to the fact that they had to learn an entirely new repertoire in just a few days, forgoing the Tyler/James Blake/Zelda classics they’re becoming known for. While their calls for moshing and girls grinding onstage were unfortunately ignored by the true-school crowd, anthems like Woo Ha!, Fall in Love and Stakes is High still resulted in spontaneous chants, sing-alongs and soul claps, winning over a crowd for whom swag is usually the enemy. As for their chops, I have no idea how they rank up by actual jazz standards but who the hell cares when the band looks like they’d have trouble even getting into the club without fake ID. Like Araabmuzik, Clams Casino and Spaceghost these kids are tearing up Hip-Hop’s rulebook without forgetting what makes great Hip-Hop so great. The rare meeting of rap and live instrumentation worth getting excited about.