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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Style Factory 2 @ The Knitting Factory
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Saturday night is a traditional night out and this past Saturday I headed out with a few friends to Style Factory 2 at The Knitting Factory in NYC. I’d been to shows at The Knitting Factory before, most recently to see The Square Egg, so I was familiar with the club. On this night my friends and I would see a lineup that included five acts and a freestyle game. The night started with a MC named Sentence.

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of Sentence until last night, but now I can’t stop talking about this dude’s energy. I seriously thought he was going to either explode or pass out at any second. Not only was he filled with this insane amount of energy, but his lyrics were also dope and understandable even with his rapid fire delivery. Sentence was a monster on the mic which was both a great way to lead off the show and a bit of a handicap for the next few artists.

Miss Angelina and TNT were definitely hampered by having to follow Sentence. Miss Angelina is a female MC who embraces the Lil’ Kim / Trina idea of strength through sexuality. I’ve never been a big fan of this so it should come as no surprise that although I appreciated that Miss Angelina was having a blast on stage, I was only eeh on her part of the show. There are only so many songs about ex-boyfriends that I want to hear. The ladies, however, loved Miss Angelina as her music seemed to reach them much better than it did me. For my money she was far better later in the show as a part of the freestyle games.

TNT also suffered from having to follow Sentence’s powerful opener. The duo of Vision and Mr. Phantastik were good, and when they spit a capella you could tell they have skills, but their use of jacked beats, and extremely popular ones at that, took away from their performance. Regardless of that they got the crowd hyped, which means they were doing something right.

Up next was the Who’s Rhyme Is It Anyway portion of the night. Freestyle games can either be fun or a disaster depending on who’s involved and for Style Factory 2 it was definitely the former with Rabbi Darkside, Bisc1, Tzo of Black Horde and Miss Angelina trying their had at four freestyling ideas. My personal favorite was the game where each MC was given a person to rhyme about then given five words they couldn’t say in regards to that person. Rabbi Darkside got Woody Allen and completely flipped it. Rather than talking about Woody he did his entire rhyme as Woody, which was hilarious and a sign of a truly dope MC.

After Who’s Rhyme came the two main acts of the night starting with the Mindspray crew. Eight people on one stage can oftentimes be confusing but Mindspray makes it work since each MC has their own unique personality and is obviously told to embrace their individuality. Having so many people in the crew does lend itself to some innately positive points, as well. The biggest plus is that there’s no stoppage of rhyming. During a lot of Hip-Hop shows you’ll have to wait for the MC to catch his breath, with Mindspray it’s the other way around as the MCs will occasionally have to wait for the audience to catch theirs. Everyone in the crew has skills and Mindspray alone would definitely have been worth the admission fee.

Closing out the show were Stronghold members Poison Pen and LIFELong. I’m a big fan of Pen’s but on this particular night, after the first song, his show disappointed me. When I go to see Pen I want to see PEN. I want to see the son of Kamala rip the mic and take over the stage. Unfortunately last night Pen let far too many of his friends on stage and it turned into a family reunion of sorts. Hey, it’s great that he supports his people, I respect that, but dude, I wanted to see YOU. Pen is truly one of the great performers in Hip-Hop and I love seeing him bring the house down, but on this particular night it was more like Pen’s Pals.

All thing considered Style Factory 2 was a blast. I saw some of my favorite MC’s and learned about some others that are most definitely worth my attention.

Sightings: Tons of underground celebrities were in the house for this show including MF Grimm, Pumpkinhead, WKPN’s Hip-Hop Director DJ Halo, Hip-Hop’s renaissance man Conscious, Mecca, High Priest from Airborne Audio, Core Rhythm, Phurius Stilez and of course yours truly.

Liks: Gotta love a New York City bar with a $5 drink list. It’s always nice to not need to take out a second mortgage just to get a beer.

Verdict: I think it’s safe to say that everyone who came to Style Factory 2 liked at least one of the artists who performed and probably learned about another they had no idea about. I know I came to see Mindspray and Poison Pen but quickly added Rabbi Darkside, Bisc1 and Sentence to my list of artists to check out whenever they’re in town. Finding another show this good for only seven bones would take a while, so don’t look any further, just hit up the next Style Factory show and check out some artists you may not know by name, but won’t be able to stop talking about for weeks.

For pics of the show click here.
posted by Adam Bernard @ 1:40 PM  
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