Last week, a flyer started appearing online about a mysterious show at a mysterious location. I first saw it on Lee Spielman’s Instagram account. It listed three bands- Ho99o9, Trash Talk and Lil B and an RSVP link from event organizers and sponsors, UNIF clothing and HAM on Everything.
That RSVP link displayed ominously and intriguingly, inviting all to show up early to an undisclosed location. What could go wrong?
A line started forming around the Regent Theater in Downtown Los Angeles almost as soon as the location was announced. By the time I got there at 9pm, there was a snake of people, 20 deep, that wrapped around a square block of Main Street, around 4th, down to Los Angeles street and up to 5th street and back up to Main. The VIP line was also about 200 deep. For an hour, understaffed security wouldn’t let anybody in as the crowd swelled and the line kept getting longer and longer. I fought and burrowed my way through the middle to land on the coattails of young Mr Fucktard as he and his crew penetrated the threshold of the doors to the Regent Theater. There is no way I would’ve gotten in if I went through proper protocols to check in as Media at the melee they called a VIP list. The crowd started getting restless as we passed through the doors. People were throwing shit, chanting and trying to crowd surf their way to the front of the line. As I transitioned from the unrest outside to the more momentarily tranquil confines of The Regent Theater, I started to hear a chant swelling, “Based God, Based God, Based God”. I was almost positive that some poor bastard would get shot by the police tonight.
While I was caught off guard by the scene that was developing outside the venue, I can’t say I was completely surprised. The lineup of artists on this bill was oddly perfect and the open ended nature of a free show, with the uncertainty of entry of an online rsvp link could easily cause a volcanic anxiety, especially amongst the uniqueness of hardcore Lil B enthusiasts. I was most excited to see ho99o9 do their thang.
ho99o9 finally took the stage at 10:45 and immediately filled a gaping, Death Grips sized hole left in my heart by the cruel game playing and disappearance of one of the most innovative acts in hip hop. Drawing parallels between ho99o9 and Death Grips might be a stretch. Ho99o9 and their music are much more diverse and dynamic than the orgasmic dissonance left in the wake of Death Grips early demise. Hip Hop, a music built on the sampling of previous works often tapped into jazz, rare groove, funk and soul music to draw inspiration as well as the baseline for beats. While h09909 aren’t necessarily trying to change that premise, they are definitely changing the vibe and the sum of the parts. TheOGM and Eaddy are the creative force behind ho99o9. They were joined on stage by an unnamed drummer. TheOGM unleashed his beats and hardcore punk samples from his digital console and the floor of the Regent exploded into a swirling mass of arms and elbows. Eaddy, also known as Yetti999 screamed his flow though his Hannibal Lecter mask in an amalgamation of DMX meets Kelvin Morris era Discharge. TheOGM would interject a smooth, deep vocal texture, fed through a series of octave and chorus pedals as Dead Kennedy’s, California Uber Alles provided the foundation for the banger in the background. The songs that weren’t based in that hardcore techno style that the Death Grips made infamous all had a hardcore punk theme to them. Other samples that were used were Rise Above by Black Flag as well as an outright cover of Seeing Red by Minor Threat. It’s hip hop, hardcore, gut grinding, soul defiling, generation defining, Haitian Voodoo. Lil B fans didn’t quite know what to make of ho99o9 while Trash Talk fans soaked it up like a hardcore, hip hop biscuit with a delicious digital gravy. ho99o9 is a band we are going to pay close attention to in 2015. You can’t really put them in any classification of music which oddly, makes them fit in ALMOST anywhere except a psych fest, or something.
What more can really be said about Trash Talk? They are really the only young, newer band that has experienced any type of success that are the real deal in hardcore and thrash. They play a D.R.I. style of hardcore yet they co headline bills with Lil B. That sums up the beauty of today’s young music lover. While hardcore kids used to be separated from hip hop heads and ravers would be doing their own thing in another location, those type of labels and separations are irrelevant today. The only thing that matters now is authenticity. Lee Spielman, front man for Trash Talk is both the most unlikely and at the same time, the most logical ambassador for the modern music scene. He wasted no time in urging everyone to come and dive off the stage. Lee conducted most of his business on the floor of the Regent rather than the stage. His deep, snarling voice continuously encouraged and attracted aggression as Trash Talk blazed through their set. Adrenaline kicked in and the pit reached another level. The level in which you can no longer feel pain or fists and elbows smashing into cheek bones and abdomens.
Even though the event was almost shut down by the rabid crowd outside, the Regent was surprisingly, not at capacity- a development that would make unsuccessful and angry patrons of the event boil at the fact that they had to be dispersed by police. I would suspect that the majority of those dispersed were there to see Lil B. By the time he took the stage, the crowd had shrunk, but only slightly. Everyone packed in tight to get as close to The Based God as they could. Lil B kept saying that they were making history tonight. I wasn’t sure quite how but it was impossible not to be swept away by his sedated enthusiasm in each proclamation. When I picture Lil B in his quiet moments, I imagine him to be like the main character in Pink Floyd’s, The Wall, Floyd Pinkerton– a caricature of fame and excess. His mind lost in his own legend while drowning in drug and vaginally induced psychosis. I personally, have never gotten the appeal of The Based God but that is not important. What’s important is that there are a legion of fans that are obsessed and overcome by him and his underwhelming lyrics and droning beats and that makes his fame as justified as Mick Jagger’s.
After last night, I am thoroughly convinced that Lil B is a government, psy ops operative constructed by the NSA to hypnotize and control the downtrodden, hopeless youth of America. The passion for the Bitch Mob might make one perceive themselves to be hostile antagonists in society while in fact, their penchant for droning, bangin 808’s is really just a precursor of indifference to the chemtrails raining down on their heads. Anyone with an internet connection, access to Youtube and a bag of Molly is SUSceptible to the trance that the Based God emits from your speakers, which penetrates the cerebral cortex and gets lodged in the brain stem to be activated in the case of Marshall Law. I finally figured out that SUS doesn’t mean “suspect”, it really stands for “susceptible”.
I love nights like last night. There was a feeling in the air like anything could happen- Love, Death, Human or Animal Sacrifice. There was a palpable sense of danger emanating from and around the Regent Theater last night and in this child proofed, anti depressant ingesting world, fear of bodily and emotional injury is a good reminder that you’re actually alive.
Words: Danny Baraz
Photos: Taylor Wong