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Culture Reviews
Guru
B2 Club 
By Micha Rinkus
B2 is spacious, but – and this is the point that I made to DYKO when they confronted me by email about a bad review – it can get full. Take last Thursday’s Guru concert, which was packed to the hilt with homeboys who paid 900 rubles a corn-rowed head for entrance. Cha-ching! Cue B2 rolling around naked in cash.

For the rare and happy occasion of a hip hop concert, my sidekick and I rolled in blinged out in the works: puffy J.Lo jackets, fat DSquared2 belts, dollar-sign earrings, skull-and-crossbones rhinestone necklaces. While “Jennies from the Block” were a big hit with the security guards, the dress code inside was less ghetto fabulous, with maybe only five full sweat suit ensembles. As it turned out, Guru blew us out of the water. Taking the stage on hip hop time, which is an hour and a half late, he emerged like the lost member of Run DMC, Bic-bald with gold chains and a “Hip Hop 4 Life” neck tat (!), accompanied by his associate MC Solar, so named because he’s “5,000 degrees, burning yo’ ass.” Solar’s role is repeating the last word of whatever Guru says on stage.

High points of the concert were a song with a chipmunk-voiced “Live and Let Die” chorus and Guru doing push-ups with his legs on the speakers, impressive for a 38-year old man. Actually, most of the show was a high point – I have not waved my hands like I just did not care since DMX performed at B-Club last fall. Two nine-year old boys won Guru’s contest of who could scream “Yeah, mothaf*cka, yeah, mothaf*cka, yeah!” with the most enthusiasm, and he brought them on stage.

There was, however, tangible friction between Guru and the Russian homeboy contingent, such as when the rapper asked the audience “Are any of you old enough to drink?” or singled out people in the crowd that he didn’t like. (Poor “kid in the sweatshirt.”) For what its worth, the crowd seemed to really dig him, although there were some bad apples. We found ourselves standing by the stage next to a drunkie throwing Sieg Heils. Concerned it would turn into a “situation” when Guru focused in on what the crazy white boy below him was doing, we returned to the rafters.

In his between-songs monologues, Guru expressed a preoccupation with the threat of people swiping his style and passing it off as their own. After enough of this, I too became paranoid. My friend started wearing skulls after me – did people think it was her idea? But a lot of this was lost in translation for the crowd. At one point, Guru tried to introduce a new piece of vocabulary to name these insidious identity thieves, “swagger jacker,” an expression found in no Advanced English Conversation textbook. It confused the hell out of everyone. Also, the traditional rap call-and-response (Rapper: “When I say ‘X,’ you say ‘Y.’ ‘X!’” Crowd: “Y!”) crashed and burned when Guru tried to get too sophisticated with it. E.g. Guru: “When I say ‘Jazzmatazz’, you say ‘Dropping a new album ‘Seven Grand’ in 2007. Ready? ‘Jazzmatazz!’” Crowd: “Uh, Jazzmatazz!”

But other than that, what a great show! We grew together as people. As Guru told the audience, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a rapper, a carpenter, an artist or a ‘Russian gangstaaaa’ – you have to work hard on your game.” And that’s it – the fuel to be the best Expat.ru culture reviewer that I can be.

06.10.06
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