Club Nokia is a moderate size venue in the third floor of a skyscraper in L.A. Live. Located adjacent to Staples Center, the Los Angeles Convention Center, and several other prominent businesses in the square, Club Nokia is nothing like any other venue I’ve ever been to before. I felt as if I were in the middle of New York, with classy attired individuals and skyscraper clubs being the place of interest on Saturday nights.
Upon arrival, opener and Funk Volume member Jarren Benton was mid-set. The MC spits goofy rhymes with tongue-twisting flow and “chopper” style lyricism. Additionally, the rapper sported his typical Davy Crockett raccoon hat with style.
The Georgia-based MC has the sickest flow of any of the Funk Volume guys, not to take anything away from Dizzy Wright, Hopsin, or SwizZz. Furthermore, the dude does not care what anyone thinks about him because he’s having the time of his life on stage; it’s his time to shine. The set ended with Jarren bringing up Demrick and also allowing around 20 people from the audience to turn up on the stage. Props.
In between each rapper’s performance was a DJ set by DJ Hoppa. The Funk Volume exclusive DJ brought hip-hop back to its roots with live scratching, several odes to old school, and an affinity to the originators of the culture; DJs. Hoppa brought the good vibes with his music choices and humorous commentary.
Next came Dizzy Wright. Dizzy is my personal favorite from Funk Volume because of his realness, intense love for marijuana, and an undeniable talent for crafting and perfecting songs. Dizzy performed a plethora of his songs ranging from his newest album, The Growing Process, to his earliest recorded songs. I definitely appreciated that. Too often artists only perform their newest material in order to promote it over and over again, and Dizzy was a breath of fresh air from that.
Another aspect of Dizzy’s stage presence that impressed was his ability to perform with energy all throughout the spectrum. Whether it was up high with cuts like “Can’t Trust ‘Em” or “Hotel Stripper,” or chilled out vibes with songs “I Can Tell You Needed It” and “Solo Dolo,” Dizzy brought passion to the stage. After his set and in an epic manner, Dizzy and DJ Hoppa stage dived and crowd surfed to a turnt crowd response.
Lastly was the headliner, Funk Volume figurehead and controversial rapper Hopsin. The MC came out with his bucket hat channeling his inner LL Cool J. The crowd turned it up one notch with his performance; many rapped along with his songs and started moving with more energy than previously.
I had never previously known about Hopsin’s beef with Ruthless Records, but boy did he make it known last night. It must have been 3 or 4 times the MC got the crowd to yell “Fuck Ruthless,” in addition to performing a few of his diss tracks towards the label. Very interesting.
A dope moment of his set came when Hop brought up a fervent Funk Volume fan to propose to his girlfriend on stage. This is besides the point, but I truly respected them for that one. It’s not everyday a famous performer sacrifices their own stage time to enable a once in a lifetime opportunity for a fan.
For real though, Hopsin has bars. The MC has gained quite a reputation for himself by complaining about the rap industry and mainstream hip-hop, but besides his sentiments the guy can rap. He performed songs like “Pound Syndrome,” “Ramona,” and “Ill Mind of Hopsin 5,” the latter to which made me chuckle.
Overall, the concert was pretty dope. It was nice seeing a large amount of people turning out to support an independent record label on their last date of a 61-day tour. Phew. Those guys deserve a break after that tour life grind. Despite the interesting reputation that the label has established among hip hop, it was nice seeing the collective push aside the “FV clique” stereotype in favor of progressing the culture of hip-hop.
I’d like to thank Phillip Grove for helping this article materialize.