Postcard from Hip-Hop New York : New York New York (various venues)

The sound is amazing...

NME.COM hip-hop expert Sarah Edwards (Blag Magazine) recently went to New York to go and see the Beastie Boys-organised ‘Stop The Violence’ concert. She also spent a week partying at some of the city’s hottest hip-hop nights. This is what she saw….

One of the first parties NME.COM attends sees hip-hop’s underground emerge en masse at the dauntingly cheesy BB King Blues Club in Times Square for the launch of ‘Underground Airplay Version 1.01’ – a compilation of new talent brought to heads by Lyricist Lounge and Ecko Unltd.

Lyricist Lounge has been responsible for the rise of some of today’s bigger names, including [a]Eminem[/a] and Rah Digga, with their ‘back in the day’ open Mic nights. First up was Oakland’s female MC Mystic. By way of freestyle she introduced us to soloist Tahir from the Dead Prez camp – then M of the duo makes a brief appearance. With beats by Hedrush – imagine Dead Prez anthem ‘Hip Hop’ meeting the Dirty South via New York – the sound is amazing.

Also billed are Obie Trice, Lord Have Mercy, The Outsidaz and former Arsonists member D-Story, one of the most over excited, entertaining and hyped MC for years. In the end, the highlight of the event is second host [a]Mos Def[/a] who held it down between the performances, freestyles and skits.

The next night then, and time for the Cali-Comm Tour. First up is Kut Masta Kurt with Motion Man, followed by Cali Agents. The Hieroglyphics Crew are in almost full effect tonight, minus Del, who is on duty with Damon Albarn’s [a]Gorillaz[/a].

It had all started off with Pep Love who breezed through his set with aplomb. The underrated MC warm up the stage nicely for his bosses, Souls of Mischief, who show that after dropping their classic ’93 to Infinity’ almost ten years ago, they still have what it takes. Souls are overwhelmed by the warmth and enthusiasm from their New York audience, as they admit to NME.COM that they don’t know what to expect.

Finally, it’s [a]Pharcyde[/a]

‘s turn to play. Imani and Brown take to the stage with long-time DJ M-Walk and band, and gracefully roll out the hits we all knew and love. The most hilarious event of the evening is overhearing ‘”How many more West Coast rappers do we have to hear tonight?’”. Erm, did you know where you were going?

Afterwards, luvvies gather at Hammerstein Ballroom for [a]Strokes[/a] and Moldy Peaches and scantily clad girls and guys argue their way into Lotus for Pete Tong.

NME.COM stays with the hip-hop all night long.

Sarah Edwards