Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Jay Z sticks it to the music snobs
The degree of music snobbery which surrounded Jay Z’s recent
gig at Glastonbury was astounding really. The likes of Noel
Gallagher, and many more, have been quick to weigh in with
predictable sound bites dismissive of why hip-hop should be
headlining a rock festival.
Jay Z himself was uncharacteristically restrained
for a rapper, and preferred himself to let his show to the talking.
He answered Gallagher in the best way possible by arriving onstage to
the Manchester mans best known anthem, and proceeding to up the ante
with the intro to “99 Bitches”, a veiled dig at the Oasis
has-been. Oasis, basically a Beatles tribute act even in their
heyday, were a good band in their time but the comments of Gallagher
were highly disrespectful, though I suppose these days it is becoming
increasingly difficult to keep his profile up.
Jay Z has no such problems and carried off his show with
a swagger that silenced most critics, after all, most well admit that
hip-hop is virtually rock n’roll in both attitude and profile
at this stage anyway. It took an Aerosmith sample and video
appearance back in the day to get hip-hop any MTV recognition;
soon-to-be media darlings Run DMC were ignored before Steve Tyler and
co came along. Now hip-hop is everywhere, and even though the sad
music video gangster caricature of the genre is the pervading view
for some, it deserves for one of its greatest performers to be taken
seriously. Jay Z proved at both Glastonbury and Cork, that he is as
relevant and cutting edge as most mainstream rock acts, so I
don’t see the problem in his being there as a headline act.
Jay Z performed with a full live band and
delivered a varied set packed full of both hits and less well known
moments, in a show that was aimed at both hardcore rap fans and those
with a passing interest in Jay Z and his music. His professionalism
and ability on the mic were excellent, indeed last week in Cork he
delivered a top notch performance. The excellent sound quality
captured his vocals perfectly, and his rapping sounded as good live
as on record. Anyone who has seen a lot of hip-hop live will agree
that this is quite an achievement.
The genre that brought us Run DMC, The Beastie Boys,
Public Enemy, De la Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, and many
more, all of whom would not have looked out of place on the bill at
Glastonbury, deserves a bit more respect. Well done also to the
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who followed their impromptu performance on
Patrick’s Street with a blistering set in the Pavilion after
the Jay Z show. His band were at the event and were well impressed,
and I can confirm that their will be a few similar acts heading back
this way soon. Next up on the horizon it’s Lupe Fiasco, again
accompanied by a full live band, who is in the Cork Opera House tonight!
Photos courtesy of Rory Cobbe and his excellent photoblog at http://www.jpgmag.com/people/frenchsvilla
Check him out at too at http://www.secondhandculture.com/
Peter Bowles also has loads of good photo's up at
This article first appeared in Downtown of the Evening Echo July 3rd
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- I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays http://www.pavilioncork.com also you can catch me at http://djstevieg.podomatic.com