Jaguar Skills Hip Hop Odyssey, London (Gig Review)

Review of Jaguar Skills Hip Odyssey, August 2013

So last night, I had my latest Music Eyz assignment. The mission, if I chose to accept it, was to go to the Village Underground in Shoreditch, and experience a Hip Hop Odyssey, courtesy of Jaguar Skills. I chose to accept this mission…

See Jaguar Skills is part of my routine. Saturdays are football days. I’m usually either watching the 12pm game, then heading down the road to Stadium:MK to see the mighty MK Dons, or on the road with my best mate heading to see the Dons play away from home. Away games are always great, the atmosphere is great, it’s good to see other grounds, and mainly, my mate drives everywhere as he’s a sports journalist! So the 3pm game finishes around 5pm, he interviews the players, sends off his report, and then we head home. We’re usually listening to Radio 1, checking out Trevor Nelson’s show, and at 8pm every week, Trev has a guest mix from Jaguar Skills. We love it, we play the game where we guess what old school tracks Jag is going to bust out from his immense collection. We love it, and thus, we love Jag Skills.

Jag Skills Hip Hop Odyssey

Jag Skills Hip Hop Odyssey

I’d also seen Jag the other year, at Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Boutique 5 at the Amex Stadium in Brighton. The thing that got me most was Jag’s energy. He was playing loads of stuff, mixing was incredible, and he was jumping around like a madman. For those who don’t know Jag, he wears a ninja mask, to say you can see how excited he is, when you can only see his eyes, is a big compliment.

So this hip hop odyssey, I was excited. See back in 2006, Jag did an hour long mix for Radio 1, taking listeners on a journey from 1979 (the first ever hip hop track, Rappers Delight) to 2006. It was downloaded a million times and gained world wide acclaim.

In 2009, he re-did this, to celebrate the 30th  anniversary of Hip Hop, playing 538 tracks in one hour, and I was going to a gig that would recreate this. I was excited. Doors opened at 9, and Jag came on at 11. He played for three hours, and took us on a monster journey. Supporting Jag was MC Lord Basis Supreme, flown all the way over from Chicago to MC the night. He was great, had the crowd hyped, great ad-libbing over the tracks, and knew it all. And the second he came on stage, I knew we were in for an old school, as he was wearing a red and black lumberjack hat, memories of Biggie!

The set started, and Jag threw out all the classics. Starting at the beginning with Rappers Delight, and going through people like Slick Rick, GrandMaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, he got the crowd moving. The vibe was funky, and good. Everyone was in a good time. As we went through the 80s and got some Beasties, some LL, some Afrika Bambaataa, Whodini, it got even better. The crowd was feeling it. If it was a track that everyone knew the place was on fire. As we got into some of the more deeper Tribe Called Quest tracks, some of the crowd wasn’t as familiar, but they still were rocking out. In fact, the mix of the crowd was odd. Average age was 23-ish, and I’ve never seen so many Guns & Roses or Nirvana t-shirts at a solid hip-hop set. Actually, the t-shirts were evened out by the fact that Jag gave a free t-shirt to all 500 people in attendance! What a gesture! I suppose that’s the appeal of Jag, he’s a household name now, that people know they’ll get a great set, regardless of whether it’s their bread and butter music selection. The 80’s got great, and went through some De La Soul, Public Enemy, Kane, MC Lyte and of course some Cube and NWA. Brilliant stuff. Every time Run DMC were playing, I (already wearing my Run DMC t-shirt), took off my Adidas Shell Toe, and raised it in the air as a sign of respect! I got a fair few high 5s! It was about this time, I realised we were 2 hours into a 3 hour set, and I was worried we were going too slow.

Jag Skills Hip Hop Odyssey with MC Lord Basis Supreme

Jag Skills Hip Hop Odyssey with MC Lord Basis Supreme

The 90’s started quite slow, we had loads of Wu Tang to get us going, and huge amount of Biggie. Slam by Onyx got me going, as did the West Coast G-Funk section of the set. Warren G, Snoop, Dre, Eazy, it was great. And to the head honcho here at Music Eyz, yes, he’s played some Mobb Deep! (Ed – love Mobb Deep, so big respect to Jags, was there any Jeru?)  The 90’s finished up with some Bad Boy (Puffy, Mase, Blak Rob), and some Ruff Ryders with DMX leading the charge. We started the 2000’s with Big L, MOP’s Ante Up, and one of the biggest tracks of the night, Gravel Pit.

And that was it…

Yes, I think Jag ran out of time. The place was advertised to shut down at 2, and it did. They ended the set, and that was it.

But, as they were saying their thank yous, Lord Basis Supreme said that they had a surprise, a 5 minute mix showing the history of Drum & Bass. OH GOSH!!! THE PLACE WENT MENTAL!!!

And we were going nuts! We had some Pendulum, some Adam F, some Sub Focus and some Shy FX and some other stuff I didn’t recognise, but loved!

So overall, it was a brilliant night. But it’s such a shame that he didn’t get further into the 2000’s and bring it right up to date. And some of the tracks were a touch too obscure for most of the crowd. But overall, really good fun night, and the energy I’d seen with Jag before was definitely there. Oh, and the village underground, is a great little venue. Tiny and intimate, just what I like.

Anyway, were you there too? What did you think? Leave a comment below, or tweet us @phatslates and @musiceyz.

Review by Dan Slater

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