Jeru the Damaja / Creative Control
The POD, Dublin, 18th March 2001
The venue is full of rich kids, decked out in over-priced baggy clothes and huge logos, in attempt to look more "street". It can only be a hip hop night in Dublin.
For a town so starved of this genre for so long, it comes as a nice shot in the arm to see acts of the quality of Jeru the Damaja grace our shores. But before he can be sampled, however, we must again endure. This time, in the form of Irish hip hop. Or do we?
Opening act Creative Control, made up three Dublin bred-and-buttered members, to whom talent, has become something to throw on the fire. It is abundant. Yes, they have the usual jibe of razor-sharp beats and all the aesthetic phrases that journalists like to spawn but it's more than that. It is a white Irish hip hop act not trapped by the crass clich? of their style. Tracks like 'Battlicious', 'Between the Sheets' and the epic 'Bloodrush', will provide you with enough belief that this artform can survive the R'n'B coated pop thrown at us by commercial music television. Go see now. The "I was there before they were big" boast is inevitable.
Jeru the Damaja is welcomed to stage but one cannot be sure if he wants to be here considering that he is, and has confessed to being, drunk. Since his appearances with the Gang Starr Camp in the early 1990s, he has become an important influence on hip hop in his own right.
Classic's like "I'm the Man" from the Gang Starr album "Daily Operation" and "Da Bichez" show Jeru using his back catalogue to win over the crowd before launching into more recent tracks. The new material, a venture form his previous albums all produced by DJ Premier show a change in style with the more lush sounds of "Blue Jean (Safe Sex)" and "99.9 per cent".
Before the end Jeru manages to visit the gents and talk us through, ahem, his MOST recent release, before he receives rapturous applause.
He takes his leave then somewhat the worse for wear. Tonight we had fresh faced Irish youngsters vs. a pissed up
American old skooler. You can't say fairer than a draw.