Nearly ten years ago, in the sweltering July of 1999, New York and I made our acquaintance. Having successfully knocked off a second semester of undergrad, I pooled funds with a kid I’d known all of three weeks and headed to the Konkrete Jungle in pursuit of all things dark, urban, seductive and rhythmic (by which I mean hip-hop and drum-n-bass weeklies, record-shops and street art.) This was back in the pre-social networking internet days, when you could recognize a like-minded subcultural adherent on digs alone, because chances were, their style came from the same parties that yours did, not because they went to a website called “Raving 101.”
In July of ’99, New York was the kind of place where a couple of kids from Memphis could wander into a Tribeca bar (the now vanished Wetlands, to be precise) and happen upon Rahzel-the-human-turntable challenging the X-ecutioners to a scratch-war, and the next afternoon, see Canadian trip-hop band Esthero for free at Central Park’s Summerstage, and then, that night, wander to some remote, industrial location in Brooklyn, and get buzzed into an illicit Jungle Sky basement-weekly and at some point, end up in the DJ booth chilling with Odi. And the Village was the type of scene where MC TC lounged in Washington Square Park, and the record shop was as common as the corner bodega.
A decade later the “alternative” urbania of both Williamsburg and the Lower East Side seem intolerably bogus to me. I don’t want to go into another long “helL-train” rant (didn’t those play out by 2003?)—if the kids living there are happy, great. But for my-freshly-sprung-from-grad-school self, I seek something where, in addition to selling their fuckability, people are actually offering new sounds and new perspectives. Or at the least, throwing killer parties.
Happily, this Friday I discovered Todd P.’s Monster Island Basement.
The song in this second clip is AMAZING!!!