Show Review: Kharbish Bilsanak (II) – Obros (December 23, 2009)

Alright, this is not really a “show review”, but actually more like a “yo, check this shit out!”

 I heard about this via Fareeq el Atrash and it sounded very interesting.

 Heard of pictionary? The game were a player is given a subject and must draw it (without writing or saying any words) and one or more players must guess what it is he/she is drawing.

 So here, artists were to draw subjects assigned to them, and selected individuals were to guess them.

 But this wasn’t a “Pictionary Party”, no no no. What happened here was that rappers, among which are the Fareeq MCs, Edd and Chyno, were to guess what was being drawn with… freestyle rap! They must toss away regular speech and make freestyling their sole method of communication.

 This was the creation of Karma Hamaday (bringing it here all the way from Australia). It was done once before in Zico House around July 2008 I think. This would be the second time this takes place.

 Again, this wasn’t exactly a show, but I’ll call it one regardless.

 -Before the Show: I showed up at the Obros restaurant/ bar 9:00-ish, and there wasn’t that big a crowd. The place is quite nice by the way, very modern. I paid the 10$ fee which was a wee bit steep (10,000 L.L would have been fine really), though I did get a free drink (though I like keeping myself alcohol-free, so it was just a Pepsi, and I could’ve gotten one of those anywhere else without paying the fee, but it’s my choice, so yeah…)

 The artists were sitting at the table killing time, making some incredible artwork. There was plenty of paper and markers, and the action going on at the table was being filmed by a camera, and which fed that fed into a projector, which projected the action onto a screen for all to see.

 John and Chyno of Fareeq el Atrash were there and so was their close associate DJ Stickfiggr.

 Some time passed and still not that big a turnout. Stickfiggr was getting us all fired up with some true hip hop (he played Aesop Rock. Nuff said.) Edd eventually showed up and I was happy to see Youmna Saba present too. After some chatter, jokes, and time killing, it was 10:00 and Karma decided that they had waited long enough.

 -The Show: Stickfiggr put on some instrumental beat for the rappers to rap to. It was very smooth flowing actually. Karma would give the artists their topic and they would make their sketches as quickly as they could. When they were finished, the sketches would be collected in the middle of the table for all to see clearly. The rappers would freestyle everything they had to say, even if it wasn’t an attempt at guessing the illustrated subject. They basically switched off their ability to speak without rhyme. When they were guessing, they rapped it, and when they were completely confused, they’d rap that too.

 And they couldn’t have picked funnier MCs. Chyno, who is quite the skilled freestyler, would slip in a wisecrack or two every now and then (“Everybody give it up for Stickgfiggr *crowd cheers*, no not him, the dude in the picture”). Same goes for Edd, though he doesn’t see himself as that a good a fresstyler, with his Arabic verbal craftsmanship. I didn’t believe it at first when I saw it, but John, bassist/ beatmaker John, he freestyled too. He was actually pretty good, though he said it’s been five years since he last did something like this. There were a couple other rappers too there, though I wasn’t familiar with them.

 I don’t remember every single topic that was drawn, but there was everything from “Santa Claus”, to “Grindizer”, to “Lisanoka 7isanoka”, to “Mdawwa raso”.

 Around 11:00, they took a short break and Stickfiggr played some more tunes for the crowd that actually got a bit bigger. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay till the very end, but what I saw was more than satisfactory. I was told that the previous edition of this event had a bigger turnout.

 Ramcess showed up right about then. He was earlier praised by Edd and John for his freestyle skills, so I would have liked to see him in action.

 I watched one hour of this stuff. In the first one it went on for like… 3 hours.

 -After the Show: I was actually planning on asking to be a sketcher, but watching was so much more entertaining.

 There will be a third one in the future, and I’m telling you this from now: Whether you’re an art lover, a rap lover, a comedy lover, or just a fun lover, you should definitely stop by when the third one’s going down. DO. IT… DAMMIT.