Words by Charles Rupare a.k.a Manifesto Shallah
Open Mind Sessions Volume 3
Our elders always say "a mind is a terrible thing to waste" and if you were not at this month's Open Mind Session then consider your mind static. The 3rd offering of Open Mind Session turned out to be a roaring success. The venue was the Bassline in Melville and it was packed to capacity.
The session started after sound checks and a freestyle session by 340ml. As ordained by the mechanics of Organix, Bhubesi and Zack hosted the session, which proved to be a winner with the crowd. Keish dropped a nice piece to set off the session. She seemed a bit nervous at the start but warmed up and set the lyrical course for what was to follow. A word-bender by the name of Shaka took the audience on a journey of family trife and the results thereof. His delivery was on point and the audience connected with him superbly. Bhubesi did his thang with a member of the Native Hearts All Stars, which was the beginning of vernacular rhyming for the evening. After a short intermission the hosts announced Native Hearts All Stars who proceeded to dish out ekasi-coated lyrics. Next on stage was the ever versatile Ready D and Ramone - who treated the audience to a brand of dancing which they call 'Pop knocking". As expected, Ready D's nimble fingers and Ramone's fluid body motions had the crowd twitching and gasping. It was refreshing to see the other elements of Hip-Hop being displayed at Open Mind Sessions. After a short interlude by Bhubesi and Zack, Dumani (a mellow poet) stepped on stage and blessed the people with a poem. Next up was Rasheed, a talented MC/poet who had people wide open with a poem called "Active Agents of Change". I was impressed with the delivery and the clarity of his words.
After a short break the show resumed and Twist, who was accompanied by Zack on the beat box, dished out his brand of poetry. His confidence and ability to interact with the crowd impressed me. Hot on the heels of Twist was a three-man squadron called Othello Crew. They resumed where the Native Hearts All Stars had left off and dropped their gems coated with ekasi wordplay. Although they had problems with their tracks they still managed to rock the crowd. Next up on stage was Influx, two seasoned performers and members of the infamous Basemental Platform. They dropped well-constructed words, which were positive and exposed the plight of disadvantaged people in our country. Although they used words that even I did not connect to, the rest of their delivery nevertheless left a lasting impression.
C4 Tupperware from Mars were up next - what can I say? True entertainers and crowd pleasers. These guys are turning out to be Open Mind Session favourites and judging by the crowd's call for an encore they are destined for greater things. All I can say is Mars is my next holiday destination! To close off the segment Lesipa kept the momentum going by lacing a tight piece for all poets in the house. My favourite performance for the evening. Palesa, a talented performer with a soulful voice who blessed us with a beautiful song over emotionally charged Guitar cords. Someone in the crowd shouted "Tracy Chapman!" and she quickly shot back saying she was not, but any one who listened to her song will agree with me that she has got what it takes to be in the same caliber as Tracy. Palesa is a rare find and I'm certain she will be discovered soon. To ease us back into reality was Mr. Bigga who did his thang on the wheels of steel as people took a quick blunted break (look out for Mr. Bigga's compilation called "Planet of the Tapes: 2001/10/01"). Paolo of 340ml set the snares for the next segment with a charged solo-drumming showcase, and was joined by a keyboard player named Moloko who couldn't resist the drum's energy. Next on stage was the ever shape-shifting, school ties and all Waddy of Max Normal accompanied by 340ml and DJ Sibot. As expected, the verbal assassin eliminated all tired minds in the house with clever punchlines and story telling abilities. True to those who remember where they came from, Waddy introduced a newcomer by the name of Kgotso who did tongue flips over what sounded like German and had the crowd cheering. 340ml set the stage for the main act with their interesting fusion of reggae and rock and as always, the crowd loved them.
After a short break to arrange instruments for the next act and when we thought it could not get any better, Optical Illusion stepped on stage to deliver a much anticipated performance. Romeo proceeded to introduce his squadron who lived up to expectations and delivered a complete sound mix intertwined with ill flows. Optical Illusion displayed potential and the ability to produce good music. Contact Romeo on 083 486 5223 to purchase their full length cassette called "Thoughts Illustrated".
Over all, Open Mind Session 3 was well received - evidenced by the caliber of the performances and the amount of people who turned up. The vibe was exciting and the mix of the crowd demonstrated the diversity of Hip-Hop in South Africa and the potential it has to create a unified youth culture. Big up to Bassline, DJ Kenzero (Kenny), godcomplex (Eric) and the Kollective behind the scenes for putting together an event that is fast becoming a permanent fixture on the Gauteng entertainment calendar. If you missed this one, Open Mind Session 4 is coming soon keep your eyes, ears and minds open.