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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

On the Fugee Frontier:
Lucid grooves, wicked metaphors and turntable gymnastics highlight Fugees' show

Touring with Spearhead must have taught the Fugees some live tricks. During a pass through the Catalyst in Santa Cruz last Thursday, the Fugees "phattened" up their live dynamic by incorporating old tracks into new ones (Run-D.M.C.'s "Rock Box" and Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours"), going multi-instrumental and sustaining a lucid groove throughout. Fans of metaphors were in heaven during the Fugee freestyle session. Wyclef claimed to "rock microphones like college students pay off student loans" and ingeniously bit Joan Osbourne's hit single. Praz "silences lambs like Jodie Foster." Lauren? She believed "misogynists can't get with this" and didn't deserve to "lick her clitoris." Damn!

The Fugees' DJ (didn't catch the name) performed some side-splitting tricks. He transformed a new beat out of two copies of Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill a Man" while walking around his mixer--very tough to coordinate. He wavily cut up an "underwater" sample, doffed his shirt, sunk down beneath his decks and reappeared with a wet head. To top the bit off, he spit out a fountain of water. He finished with a cool remote-control gag. It wasn't anything on the level of the Invisible Scratch Pickles, but it was a good introduction to top-level turntable skills.

The Roots were without their beatboxer Black Thought, yet again. If he's out of the group, I wish someone would say so. Still, lyricist Malik B. rapped fiercely. I watched the annoying Catalyst digital stage clock blink five straight minutes without Malik B. stopping for air. He even unscrewed an Evian bottle without ever taking a sip because his verbals were on overdrive. The Roots hip-hop history lesson (where they play snippets of classic rap songs) stretched 20 minutes. I love that part of the show, but don't they have anything new?

Got You All in Check

Also on the hip-hop tip, downtown San Jose's Cactus Club's Sunday hip-hop night, Plan B, grows larger every week. I chatted with its organizer, Aiko, who knows exactly what the crowd likes and doesn't. Underground rules here--Hobo Junction, Hiero, UHB--and none of that "G" stuff. Some dope groups are passing through: Persevere, Dave Dub, Mic T., Twisted Mind Kids, Aesop, Eclipse, Peek-a-Boo, Soulclap, Dereliks, Homeless Dereliks and do I have to remind you about Mystik Journeymen blowing up the set two weeks ago? Check out Rass Kass and Soulclap on April 14.

Dancing Kings

The best dance night going has to be Groove night at the Usual on Wednesday nights in San Jose. It features a good positive crowd, with massive funk and disco spun by DJ King Raffi. ... The downstairs area at San Jose's Agenda Lounge, the Speakeasy, is open and running. Julius Papp and Harry Who? spin acid jazz, soul and Latin on Thursdays. Saturdays are reserved for local jazz trios.

Kick Out the Jams

You think next week's SFMX2 is all that? Wait'll you hear about the other Metro Community Fund benefit concert scheduled for May 17 at the San Jose State Student Union Ballroom. Check this space next week for the full lineup.

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From the April 4-10, 1996 issue of Metro

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