Review by Mass Dosage
Hulle naam is POC... Live!
Back in the country after a trip to Germany, with Ready D (the group's DJ) about to depart to the USA, Prophets of the City (POC) were in a state of transition. In-between these geographical shifts, the group found the time to pull off one of their first live performances on the Johannesburg club scene in a long time. 206 on Louis Botha avenue was the venue, with a stage just barely big enough to fit the group, turntables and mixer, with a patch of space left over for the b-boys to show off their fancy foot and headwork.
The evening got off to a slow start which was surprising considering how long POC have been on the South African Hip-Hop scene. One would think that all the years of paying dues would finally have resulted in them getting the recognition and crowd support they deserve - apparently not. Nevertheless, things picked up and by the time POC hit the stage the main club area was filled with expectant heads (and others) ready to hear some undiluted Hip-Hop from South Africa's Hip-Hop pioneers.
And POC did not disappoint. They put on a tight performance that showcased a lot of the new material they have been working on in recent months. While most of it was not yet "album-ready" there was evidence that the new album (when it comes out) may have the potential to bring them back to the culture's forefront. E'Smile, Shaheen and Ready D took care of things on the m.i.c. with Shaheen spouting noticeably-improved lyrics, the depth of which may even have escaped some members of the audience. E'Smile proved that his voice is still in top form, especially when it comes to contributing melody to a track.
Ready D ripped it (as always) and showed off on the SL's with a brand new turntablist set that rocked the house, proving that he can DJ even if cramped into a small corner with very little space in which to flex! He also kept the continuity going by providing the backing beats off both vinyl and DAT. Ramone and Grant(Tau?) worked their bodies on the tiny stage as they gave the Joburg crowd a little demo of what b-boying is all about. It was unfortunate that their moves were somewhat constricted by the lack of space.
The audience was very appreciative and seemed to be enthralled by a group that was not just singing, but also MC'ing, DJ'ing and breaking. POC successfully integrated most of Hip-Hop's main elements into their live show - some graffiti in the background was all that was really missing for a bit of extra visual entertainment. It was surprising that there wasn't any graf work, especially with Gogga amongst the audience. Surely 206 could have commissioned him to put a piece together for them?
Pervading the entire show were two things that are missing from too many live band performances - showmanship (with crowd interaction) and a sense of humour. Unlike a lot of bands, POC don't take themselves too seriously and were constantly adding humour to what they were doing on stage - even (heaven forbid) smiling and joking with the audience. Ready D's turntable set was not only skilfully put together, but had it's hilarious moments too. No one could hold back the cheers when POC caught wreck in gamtaal over Eminem's "My name is" - "my naam is, sy naam is, ons naam is.... POC". Top stuff!
It was a modest, but successful return for South Africa's premiere Hip-Hop crew. Now they just need to get together, focus their talent and put in some serious work on that new album and hopefully they will finally get the publicity and appreciation that they are worthy of.