23
Apr
12

I ♥ Tuesdays Vol. 19: The Art of Storytelling Edition

Over my four years in Taiwan, I’ve played witness to several groans about the lack of quality hip-hop acts bringing their performance capabilities to the R.O.C. While pop icons and electronic DJs make regular visits to a wide variety of venues, there exists a glaring absence of emcees and big-name hip-hop DJs who touch down in TPE during tours of Asia.  Sure, we’ve been party to a few treats: Three 6 Mafia coming through for NYE a couple years ago was a good look, the Snoop and Dre show was derailed only by inexcusable set-up, and by all accounts, DJ Shadow shut shit down at Luxy back in September.  But in comparison to other major Asian cities, the frequent complaints are justified.

Thankfully for heads island-wide, the domestic scene remains as strong as it’s ever been.  While a burgeoning generation of hungry young emcees has been making noise with some inspired beef rap, other Taipei veterans continue to round into form via diversification of material.  Meanwhile, resident DJs at some of the city’s clubs and lounges regularly display an impeccable ear for both new and classic material (led, of course, by the Blast crew, who hold hold it down at Primo/M Bar on weekends and Marquee every Wednesday.)  And on rare occasions, two generations of DJ royalty engage in a symbolic torch passing that lives on forever in the annuls of Taiwan hip-hop lore. That is just what went down on Saturday night in Tainan, as the South’s reigning acetate heavyweight DJ 2Hands welcomed Taipei-by-way-of-Chicago noisemaker DJ Serpico to Tin Pan Alley for Make Room 7.

Sidenote: As the party reached a fever pitch, things got so violent that I intentionally smashed my own camera in the mayhem.  While the destruction was both necessary and justified, it means that we are only privy to artists’ renderings of the evening.  Thankfully, I’ve been assisted by the best in the business with hopes of truly bringing the party to life for those unable to attend.      

The atmosphere was electric as the raucous crowd prepared for 2Hands to get behind the decks.  As drinks began to flow and folks eagerly awaited the arrival of Mr. Lambert, we were informed there would be a short delay: 2Hands had thrown out his back while lifting his crates in from the van.  While we wondered if we would still be able to witness his display of vinyl vandalism, event organizers  assured us that the show would begin once Dan had his favorite turntable in place.  It wasn’t long, then, before 2Hands rolled (literally) into the booth to a chorus of cheers.

Needless to say, 2Hands wasted little time in setting the tone for the evening with a string of classic New York jams.  The mixed crowd vibed along with Dan’s seamless blends and buttery cuts, climaxing with a well-constructed mix of Keith Murray and Das EFX.  Folks were going ham when suddenly 2Hands dipped off the stage, leaving the awestruck crowd to be entertained by Tin Pan Alley’s house DJ.  Had there been some kind of emergency?

Before long, our fears were put to rest as 2Hands reemerged to unrestrained applause.  Now back in business, Dan continued to dole out classic after classic, inspiring the inner-emcee in all who attended as we rapped along with the lyrics of the Golden Era soundtrack.  Dan rarely broke from form, only crossing into the new millennium to drop a longtime favorite, Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair.”  By mixing well-known favorites with treats for true diggers, 2Hands displayed the qualities that make him so revered and well-respected among Taiwan’s vinyl junkies.  After nearly two hours on the wheels of steel, there was little doubt that this was Dan’s night; as he removed his headphones, chants of “2Hands” could be heard throughout the venue.  I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to the man on the night he celebrated his 75th birthday.

Though Serp had a tough act to follow, he quickly proved that he was up to the task.  With a few of The Blast faithful in tow, Big Serp warmed his new audience with a string of East coast anthems and his precision cut game.  In what was later described by fellow headliner 2Hands as “committing an act of murder,” Chi-Town’s premier export submitted Exhibit A as to why he is mentioned among Taipei’s DJ elite.  As he ran through a barrage of classic Chicago joints, Serp surprised everyone and snatched the house mic.  

“What? Ya’ll thought I was gonna come to Tainan without the homies in tact?” Serp asked the crowd, sounding like he had just chain smoked an entire carton of Marlboro Reds. “Ladies and gentlemen, Common and Kanye West!”  As the packed house went cray, the two legendary Windy City emcees graced the stage and delivered a barrage of their hit records, much to the enjoyment of every head in the house.

Believe it or not, Serp had yet another ace up his sleeve.  He briefly halted the Chicago onslaught and once again grabbed the mic to recognize Mr. Lambert’s birthday.  “We have prepared a very special birthday gift for 2Hands tonight. Ladies, bring it out!” The crowd waited anxiously as a pair of scantly clad female assistants escorted a man onto the stage, hands bound behind his back with a black sack over his head.

“In honor of your born day, we have decided to make a sacrifice to the Hip-Hop Gods in hopes of preserving that REAL shit. The shit that’s heavy in the STREETS.” Serp then turned his attention above. “Gods, in the interest of that REAL HIP-HOP SHIT, we offer you this stain on the game as a sacrifice.” With that, Serp removed the figure’s black mask and revealed the hideous visage of none other than The Kitten Whisperer, Drizzy Drake.

Without warning, the frenzied crowd rushed the stage and began to assault Aubrey with whatever was in sight.  As M.O.P.’s “Ante Up” blared from the speakers, 2Hands and Serp exchanged satisfied head nods.  Though their crusade to preserve THAT REAL HIP-HOP SHIT was far from over, success on this night was undeniable.  While the crowd dragged Drake’s remains into the street, the two DJs dipped behind the scenes having further solidified their status as protectors of the old guard.

Truly a night to remember.  For any of you unable to attend, I feel sorry for you and any children you may have.  After all, you have stripped them of the opportunity to hear your first-hand account of the now-legendary event known as Make Room 7.  

But rest easy; there are further Make Room events to come.  Tainan will play host to more musical mayhem in the future.  Your biggest mistake would be missing the Make Room magic a second time.

Until then, I hope I’ve provided some degree of insight into an evening that will forever be scribed in Taiwan’s hip-hop history books.  Make room, MC HotDog. It’s The Blast

— Noakes

Originally published March 13, 2012 at theblast-blog.com

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