Mikey: Rap shows are a dime a dozen in NYC. Literally every night of the week you can see a number of familiar rap blog names taking the stage at SOBs, The Highline, Southpaw, etc, but when sneaker boutique ALIFE courts some hip-hop talent, it’s guaranteed to be memorable. Over the years, I’ve caught Nas there, Three 6 Mafia and Info was at Alife’s Drake session last summer to name a few.

This past Saturday they hosted Harlem’s ASAP Rocky and Detroit’s Danny Brown for their first backyard session of the summer. If you aren’t familiar with the setup, Alife is a tiny hallway sized boutique in the LES, with a backyard maybe half the size of a basketball court. And basically they just invite friends and friends of friends to come hang-out eat, drink, smoke and party with their musical guests of choice. My man Nation got the heads up, so we rolled through on time to beat the door f*ckery which is pretty much a guaranteed thing. The weather was perfect might I add.  Upon entering were greeted by the homies (too many to name) and had the pleasure of sharing an herbal treat with Action Bronson, who we’ve been listening to non-stop, since his album Dr. lector dropped. Nick Catchdubs spun the tunes for a couple hours as everyone got inebriated in anticipation of the weirdo rap pairing. ASAP went on first at around 8:00 pm….

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bringing what seemed like his whole hood on stage with him. The same rowdy, Harlem swag-ed out kids from the “Purple Swag” and “Peso” video were all there acting like maniacs. It really reminded me of Mobb Deep Shows. At times you couldn’t even see ASAP because he was being engulfed by his crew. His mic also seemed to go in and out at times and staying on beat sounded like an issue at times. I mean the energy and drive was there but the inexperience was also clear to me. You could see the hunger in these kids. They clearly just wanted to rep their set and prove that there’s no candy coating who they are.

The ASAP gang is about the life they portray in their music and visual, I don’t doubt that. Like when they felt they weren’t receiving enough crowd participation, they started a hip-hop mosh pit, throwing booze all over, “slam dancing,” and definitely enticing some attendees to want to fight. But things cooled off when Rocky grabbed the mic to speak his peace and offer his thanks to everyone who came to “support his talent.” Overall, his set seemed a little shaky and the audience really didn’t know how to react but I guess if you offended people, left some in awe, confused others and left at least some feeling fulfilled, your first show was a success…

But the downside to the ASAP Rocky’s spectacle was the crowd splitting effect of his set. It seemed like a number of people and definitely most of the females cleared out after ASAP turned the place out. Fools Gold’s Danny Brown was left to rap when everyone was still trying to figure out what just happened. His multiple unhinged flows and pyscho hip-hop bastard subject matter are pretty undeniable but without the full attention from the crowd, things didn’t connect all the way for Brown. Still, Danny’s a dope MC and I think  he’ll catch fire after his album, XXX, drops tomorrow.

Big thanks to Crook Robbins/Who Shot Ya for the photos.

Previously: Things I Love: ASAP Rocky’s “Peso” Video…The Glorious Excess of Harlem Accessorizing