The Scala, 11th January 2007
Despite being in the game for around 15 years now, reaching worldwide cult status in the process, Necro had never really toured outside of America and Canada. That is, until recently. For any hip hop head living in or around London, this wasn't something to be missed.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I went down there that Thursday evening at a remarkably early 7.30pm. Would I make it out alive with all the hardcore nutters I was envisioning in attendance? Would it be shut down at the last minute after the extensive media coverage dubbing it "death rap gig at murder sight" (a reference to the shooting that took place at The Scala last year)?
What I was met with instead was an hour of sick beats, verses and impeccable rhyme delivery, as the man otherwise known as Ron Braunstein became his alter ego and smashed it on the mic. The atmosphere was hyped yet contained, and contrary to what the papers may have you imagine, trouble-free. The venue was just the right size; small enough to create an intimate atmosphere and allow people to feel a part of the action, yet big enough to hold the many Necromaniacs present (excuse the pun). Everyone appeared in their element throughout, including Necro. He bigged up the UK crowd and slagged off the newspaper that vilified him the most, before chucking it into the audience.
Although the sound quality could have been better, the energy was tangible as the king of hardcore rap went through tune after tune, including 'Kill That Shit', 'Push it to the Limit' and a colourful version of 'Who's Ya Daddy?' complete with semi-clad girls up on stage, who had been picked out from the crowd. If you've seen the myspace footage then you'll know the deal. This was met with mixed reactions, with some observers calling it "distasteful" and "cheap entertainment", but all in all most seemed to be enjoying the view.
The only real disappointment of the show was how quickly it was over, leaving hundreds of fans waiting around aimlessly. Their dedication and refusal to leave was soon rewarded however as about half an hour later Necro emerged from backstage to meet and shake hands with fans, thanking them for coming along. It was then up to the VIP room for some quiet drinks, before he flew back out to New York the following day.
The biggest shocker of the night was that the infamous and darkly comical 'Dead Body Disposal' was left off the play list, along with some of his other more explicit work. This left a somewhat diluted but still satisfying slice of Necro genius.
Whatever your take on Necro may be, you can't deny he's got skill. His lyrical gift and outstanding production and delivery were all impeccable, making this the rawest and most energy fuelled hip hop gigs that the Scala has played host to in a long time. If you missed it, fear not, along with a new album scheduled for Summer release, he'll be back in the UK in April, playing the Astoria on the 7th.
Check out Anna Nathanson's interview with Necro and her behind the scenes exclusive with Plan B and Necro in the next edition of Big Smoke magazine, and www.annanathanson.blogspot.com for her Necro blog.