Re-Up Gang + Group Home
Thu Aug 7 2008
Photograph: Shane Nash
Highline Ballroom; Tue 12
As the lesser-known half of the Re-Up Gang, Philly rappers Sandman and Ab-Liva helped Pusha T and Malice of Clipse redirect frustrations over their label-imposed 2003–05 hiatus into the now-classic We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series. As Clipse-related hype is dying down (the long-awaited, critically lauded Hell Hath No Fury LP bombed in ’06; the duo’s Internet-driven fan base seems to have moved on to Lil Wayne and so-called hipster rap), Sandman and Ab-Liva are finally getting cobilling on a proper release, the freshly dropped Clipse Presents Re-Up Gang (Koch). While their lyrics have never commanded the same level of reverence granted to their Virginia partners (a fact that probably won’t be changed by this latest effort, despite strong performances from both), Sandman and Ab-Liva arguably achieve equality in the live setting. For the past few years, promoters who booked Clipse have almost always gotten Re-Up Gang shows instead, in which the four MCs stand side by side, often rhyming in unison, for the full duration of the set. The energy level is unmatched by most other postmillennial rap acts.
Given Clipse’s lyrical virtuosity, it’s ironic to find them on a bill with Group Home. The Brooklyn duo is best known for bringing simplistic and underwhelming, yet strangely appropriate, rhymes to what may be DJ Premier’s finest hour as a producer, the 1995 LP, Livin’ Proof.