Last Night: Chali 2na, Gift of Gab, and a Cameo from Lyrics Born at Neumos

Chali 2na played Neumos Thursday, November 19, with Gift of Gab, Lyrics Born, and Mr. Lif.
Some randoms plucked from my notepad:

- Having Mr. Lif open for Chali 2na and Gift of Gab basically just proved that he's at least as good as they are. Made me wish he'd come to the West Coast more often.

- It's been well over a decade, but when Gift of Gab says, "Smoke that shit! Light that shit!" everyone does. This one dude actually exhaled on cue, puffing smoke out up to the ceiling. It was the seed of what became a giant, all-encompassing fog of weed smoke. Thank you, Pete Holmes.

- I've been listening to Gift of Gab for a long time; Blackalicious' Nia was one of the first hip hop albums I ever listened to, and I still think that he's one of the best lyricists in hip hop. Only thing is, sometimes he gets going too fast and it's impossible to understand what he's saying. I'd rather have him slow it down a little and be able to digest the lyrics.

- There were more nerdy white chicks at this show than I have ever seen at any hip hop show in my life, most doing what looked like variations on the Napoleon Dynamite dance. I loved it and wished I was trashed enough to join them.

-- Actually, there were more females at this show than I've ever seen at any hip hop show, period.

- After Gift of Gab's set, which ended with an extended freestyle session with Lyrics Born, the MC, who was just supposed to be the evening's "host," picked up the mike and threw down a couple of jams between Gift of Gab and Chali 2na's sets. I've seen the guy a couple of times and have decided that I am pretty lukewarm on Lyrics Born, mainly because while his lyrics are great, they're also really hard to understand . Plus his delivery and that super confrontational, shout-rap thing he does kind of harshed my mellow.

- I did not catch the name of the guy onstage with Chali 2na, but I liked him. Someone know who he was and want to let me know in the comments? His and Gift of Gab's support musicians were all great, too; this one dude actually pulled off "I Want You Back." MJ had not yet hit puberty when he sang that song. This guy was a grown-ass man. It was impressive.

- Both Chali 2na and Gift of Gab did a bunch of songs from their former projects (though Blackalicious still technically exists, Jurassic 5 is officially broken up), which was great -- hearing Chali 2na do "Freedom" and "We Stay Golden" brought back some serious memories -- and while it's important not to neglect the classics, I actually would've liked to hear more new stuff, because what I did hear, I really liked.

-- If I had to compare, I think Gift of Gab's songwriting is better than Chali 2na's, but Chali 2na's delivery and overall understandability are superior to Gift of Gab's. Splice their genes, and you'd have the best MC on the planet.

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