Despite DOOM currently residing somewhere in London, it’s pretty rare that he actually plays shows here and it’s even rarer to see the real him actually turn up as opposed to one of his imposters. What you will almost never see, however, is the real DOOM playing alongside another legend of the hip-hop world, the mighty Ghostface Killah.
The 100 Club was packed out within minutes of opening their doors, and as you took the stairs down to the venue the sheer heat hit you like an uppercut to the face. Opening the proceedings was Bishop Nehru, the 16-year-old NYC protégé who instantly wins the audience over with his slick, boom-bap flow that’s frighteningly good for his age. He quickly steam-rolls through tracks from his debut mixtape, Nehruvia, as well as keeping the crowd pumped with a few New York classics that he claims influenced him when growing up. It’s clear that both DOOM and Ghostface are key influences to Nehru’s sound, and for him to share a stage alongside these two at just 16-years-old must’ve been nothing short of a crazy dream come true.
After a 30-minute wait it was time for DOOM and he was uncharacteristically on time, wearing a pair of spectacles over his infamous metal mask. Maybe it’s because his buddy Ghostface is present or maybe he’s feeling smitten with the hyperactive audience, but he’s obviously in a great mood, running through tonnes of Madvilliany and MM…Food material and chucking water into the crowd like a little kid with a super soaker. Tracks like “Accordion”, “Beef Rapp” and “One Beer” keep the crowd buzzing, but it’s “America’s Most Blunted” that causes everyone to completely lose their shit. It’s as much of a greatest hits set as you’re ever likely to receive from DOOM, although he still refused to play “Rhymes Like Dimes” despite the guys next to me shouting it at least 27 times (seriously, I counted).
By the time DOOM leaves the stage, the venue has reached sub-tropical conditions and there is barely room to breathe, but no one dare go outside to take a breather for fear of missing Ghostface. After his DJ getting the crowd warmed up – although the last thing anyone wanted in an overly-humid basement was to be “warmed up” yet again – the Wu-Tang man appears, joined by Sheek Louch, the other half of Wu-Block.
Considering how infrequently Ghostface performs in London, he seizes the opportunity and follows in a similar vein to DOOM with a set full of bangers, ranging from Wu-Block tracks, solo material including stuff from his new record Twelve Reasons To Die and classic Wu-Tang stuff. The highlight of the night comes when Ghostface gets two people to hop up on stage and spit Methodman and ODB’s verses from “Protect Ya Neck”. Much to the surprise of the crowd, a skinny white kid called Louie runs through Method’s verse with ease, which is received with deafening cheers and applause (unfortunately the same can’t be said for the guy who mumbled through ODB’s verse and was cut off short by Ghostface himself).
The last five minutes consisted of Ghostface spitting around eight bars of as many songs as was physically possible to fit in, just in case anyone needed confirmation that his discography is arguably one of the best in all of hip-hop. Ghostface and Louch take their leave at about 11:15 p.m., and the crowd dispersed onto the dark and dingy streets of central London, drenched in sweat and sufficiently schooled by three incredible hip-hop talents.
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