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From The Crates: Cappo LIVE

February 22, 2011

Cappo, Ruddington’s MC extraordinaire, dropped in to the Maze this Tuesday to continue promotion of his latest release, the Directors Commentary mixtape. Mixed, scratched and cut up by the legendary Styly Cee, the album charts a strong rap career, with production spanning from the late 90s to brand new exclusives and freestyles.

The Ruby Kid, a young Notts rapper who has recently relocated to the Steel City, got things underway. Having never seen him perform before, he proved to be something of a revelation; shame that a mix-up on the door times didn’t ensure the crowd he deserved. His confident delivery and clever wordplay with the dynamic of a live bassist show why his gig diary is filling up.

Second on the bill were the always captivating Ill Citizen. Rhythmically monikered MCs Canni B, Tom G and Allergy made sure the floor filled, with their up-tempo, infectious beats, rhymes and commanding stage presence. Well-established tunes such as Brainwash Policy and newer cuts like Respect thy Neighbour were run through at break-neck speed, with no pause for breath. Due to time constraints their set was limited, but this only enhanced the party vibe and good-time feel that is the original hip-hop ethos – a quality that Ill Citizen maintain with every performance. They finished with the excellent Now What. Its refrain of ‘I don’t wanna work right now / I don’t wanna hurt right now / Now what?’ certainly resonated with the midweek crowd.

By now, even the prospect of an early rise could not dim the atmosphere, and the audience were in the mood for more. Luckily, one of Nottingham’s finest was on hand to give them just that. The ‘self-styled one-man industry’ delivered a solid set of new and old material, showing that all the hard work pays off. Favourites from the brilliant Spaz the World LP from 2003 like Learn to be Strong, a Cappo classic, brought the Heavy Bronx sound of the P Brothers’ production, with its deep bassline testing the Maze’s sound system. On the ones and twos was DJ/producer/rapper and epitome of Notts hip-hop, Styly Cee. Styly has left his alter ego behind for some time to concentrate on producing quality hip-hop such as One in a Million from Directors Commentary, the tune from which the above and below quotes were taken.

Capps also spat a couple of verses over The Format by AZ (Nas’s mate) and his gruff yet clear and visceral articulation demonstrated how he can easily hold it down over the finest quality New York beats, such as this one from the king, DJ Premier. The behatted one was also joined on stage by his crew, Midnyte and Rukus Regardless, who ably coped but frustratingly never quite managed to produce much of a spark. On wax their flow is assured and exciting, flecked with accent and cheeky puns, but they never quite seem to transfer this energy to a live performance. The headliner, who by now had definitely fulfilled his promise to ‘for better or worse leave my clamp on proceedings’ then finished with a trio of new tracks from his upcoming album, leaving me eager for the date it drops.

Cappo played The Maze on March 11 2008

Originally published at LeftLion.co.uk, March 14, 2008.

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