The Liks : London Ladbroke Grove Suberania

We're subjected to the drink-sodden tales of South Central Los Angeles' finest drunkards tonight, and it's great...

Some are born alcoholic, some achieve an alcoholism, and some have alcoholism thrust upon them. We’re subjected to the drink-sodden tales of South Central Los Angeles’ finest drunkards tonight, and it’s great. To say MCs Tash, J-Ro, and DJ E-Swift are a fine advert for irresponsibility would be to do them a disservice. If anything, the trio formerly known as Alkaholiks, whose extended Likwit Crew family includes Xzibit, should actually have turned into bottles of liquor by now, given their prodigious intake. But there’s a madness to the method, and in terms of sheer quality, live, not many hip-hop crews can touch ’em.

It’s a West Coast vibe, and over the last ten years, Tha Liks have progressed from basement beats to full-blown and intricate productions, from 40 Ounce bottles of Malt liquor to top shelf Hennessey.

Tonight, their intricate wordplay is a thing to be marvelled. There’s also the way the crew’s antics mask a deeper and more reflective overview of ghetto life, evident in the way lyrical wisdom is constantly foisted on the fun-filled songs.

‘Barcode’ finds the jesters metaphorically buying out the bar; the savage funk of ‘Sickness’ almost makes the room spin; and the classic ‘Only When I’m Drunk’ remains funny, offensive, and truthful. For sure, Tha Liks are aware of the downside of alcohol, its just they choose to celebrate the highs outright. Now that Xzibit‘s crossed over to the mainstream bigtime, it would be most unfortunate if the self-styled drunken funksters were denied their full level of respect.

Dele Fadele