An Evening With Blackstar


Written by Ganesh Senthi
Photos and illustrations by Fabrice Bourgelle
07 Monday 07th April 2014

Last Monday I went to a pure, truthful, and downright inspiring gig at the Coronet in London to groove to the legendary Yasiin Bey (a.k.a Mos Def) and Talib Kweli as Blackstar.

It has been years since my last hip hop gig, and I will admit, I fell out of love with the whole genre 10 years or so, but not before it had changed my perception of life. Yet there remains those who have been around since the beginning who have kept it so real that their gigs are a romantic reminder of the beauty of the ‘golden age’.

Prior to the show itself Mr Thing was dropping some classics, setting the atmosphere of the night with tunes from the Wu, MOP, Gangstarr and many more. Bodies were bouncing 2 hours before the main event.

J Rocc then stepped up with a whirl of bopping and diving, hand movements perfectly in timed with drum beats. He provided a journey of Dilla songs with their original samples being seamlessly mixed into the legendary beatmaker's version before dropping some dirty Soca. Always a pleasure seeing J Rocc.

Then they appeared, Talib Kweli in a tiger print shirt (Loved it) and Yasiin Bey with his infamous red jazz mic. The chemistry between them is probably the best I have seen, flowing in and out with each other perfectly and instantly, you knew they still love performing like it was their first Brooklyn show. They played it all from Thieves In The Night, Definition and Brown Skinned Lady to their solo hits from all their albums. To see the lighters up for Umi Says and everyone singing along to it, was a special moment that I thought I would never get the chance to witness. Seeing Blackstar has been ticked off my musical bucket list and it didn't disappoint.

Best. Monday. Ever.

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