The Smoker’s Club Blazes Northern Lights

Every so often a collection of rappers amble up our neck of the woods, for some reason, and proceed to infuse an Upstate New York crowd with a culture shock. Wednesday night’s concert was no different.

The Smoker’s Club Tour showcased Southern freshman Big K.R.I.T., from Mississippi, Curren$y (a New Orlean’s rapper who has made a name for himself within the past few years on tracks with Wiz Khalifa, Ludacris and David Banner), an unknown weed-rapper Smoke DZA and the headliner Method Man, brought together for an incredibly eclectic and surprisingly hyper marijuana-themed vocal dissertation.

From the jump, it seemed that the opening acts were only on the stage to hype up the “Smoker’s Club” tour by constantly throwing merch into the crowd and yelling tone-deaf versions of weed-themed raps. The shtick wore a bit thin by 9:30 with Smoke DZA, but luckily Big K.R.I.T. took the stage and added some freshman Southern rap into the mixing pot. His set lasted thirty to forty minutes and was complete with posse in effect and DJ BombShell on the tables.

It wasn’t long before the lights were turned on and three large screens were unrolled and set-up as a background to the stage. These screens displayed images reminiscent of the interior of a living room. As soon as Curren$y hobbled on stage — he had a cast on his left food displaying green pot leafs on a black background — and took a seat in one of the couches set up for him, the lyrics became instantly more intelligent and artistic and less representative of constant, redundant, and played-out weed references.

He started his set by saying, “Doctor told me not to leave my living room, so we brought it to you.” His set, ending after a packed 45 minutes of guest rappers and subtle moves from the couch to the floor to posting up against the subwoofers that defined his youth and exemplified exactly how he had released six studio albums in the last three years and 13 mixtapes in the last five years. A youthful, yet slightly handicapped up-and-comer that was a perfect primer to the dope-ness (pun intended) that was Method Man.

In summation: He killed it. He stepped on to the stage to chants of “Wu-Tang” from the crowd and immediately thanked everyone for showing up. Classic tracks from the “Depths of the Wu” fueled by 90’s style crowd hopping and surfing brought Method Man’s energy to life. Out of nowhere, he orchestrated an Ol’ Dirty Bastard tribute in which everyone started chanting an ODB classic, “Got Your Money”.

With roughly twenty years in the game, Method encapsulated 90s emcee-ing and crowd control spackled pre- and post-millennium verses, rapid-fire cadences, and beats and mixing done by Allah Mathematics. We all received a quick lesson in 90’s turntable-ism when Allah Mathematics stood on his tables used his hands and shoe-less feet to mix and scratch tracks as Method Man danced around with Allah’s white Nikes in hand.

Tracks like “Ice Cream” and a “M-E-T-H-O-D Man” and a smattering of Wu bangers encouraged by the crowd kept Method Man ecstatic and happy to be on stage. Proving, indeed, what it means to be a Master of Ceremonies.

Culminating, in a grandiose display of thanks when, after constant pleas to turn his mic up, he told the sound engineer, “I’m not tryin’ to be a dick, but give these people what they came to see. Turn it up.”

Props to Method Man for thinking of us.

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