MOP : London Stratford Rex

More raucous hiphop anthems from the mighty MOP...

If hiphop is a contact sport, then Mash Out Posse are its American football quarterbacks, who deploy sheer brawn, as well as street intelligence, in a battle for supremacy.

M. O. P. are from Brownsville, Brooklyn NYC and it shows. Whilst this particularly tough area has produced doctors, lawyers and engineers, it’s also notorious as a haven for hoods, thugs, hustlers and gunmen. Guess which side Billy Danze, Lil’ Fame and DJ Laze E Laze are on! The first family, as they also call themselves, are the rowdiest live rap performers on the planet, no question. To see them in the flesh is to witness people in their element, with numerous hype-men who are artists in their own right, and enough onstage electricity to power a generator.

No one messes around with M.O.P. From their days as Smiff-N-Wessun over a decade ago, before the US gun manufacturers forced a name-change, until now, they’ve kept it simple – songs have to be loud, raucous, energetic and anthemic. As massive rhythmic pulses that feel like having an extra, external, heartbeat hit you, it doesn’t matter that the rhymes at breakneck speed sometimes dissipate into thin air, leaving only chants of ”say M.O.P” audible. The feeling is all, and such is the level of intensity that Lil’ Fame and Billy Danze head for the wings after every two or three songs, and thus allow other posse members the chance to shine.

It’s a hiphop show, alright, in a way that stays completely true to the origins of the artform. ‘How About Some Hardcore?’ justifies its title with brittle sampled guitars and layers of noise; and the catchy ‘Downtown Swinga’ goes further in tracing the links between Manhattan and the extremes of Brooklyn. But then, all M.O.P. songs are catchy, as anyone exposed to the full-posse, OTT version of ‘Ante Up (Robbing Hoodz Theory)’, will no doubt agree. Even the unidentified singer who laces the audience with an acapella overhaul of ‘M.O.P.Anthem’ raises the roof off the house. Hard to fault and even harder to beat.

Dele Fedele