Krooked and Bentby Rob Cockcroft / 10.08.2011
On Monday night I went to the new Platinum Lounge in Shortmarket Street to check out local rap stalwart, Isaac Mutant, and fresh straat-taal crew, K.A.K (Koloured Ass Krooks). It was a fitting venue to watch the Mutant, whom I’d last seen perform at the 2005 Fire on the Mountain festival, as it holds a lot of history for Mzansi hip hop culture and a lot of nostalgia for me personally. Back in the day it was called The Base and was host to some of the most groundbreaking crews coming out of the Cape Flats such as Prophets of the City, Brasse Vannie Kaap and Isaac Mutant’s previous crew, Plain Madness. Later it became Uhuru International, a Rasta-owned club well known for showcasing some of the finest hip hop and dancehall acts close on a decade ago.
I arrive, grab a beer and try wrap my head around the venue’s new look. What was once a giant dancefloor and an almost non-functioning bar where weed was sold from a glass cabinet, is now a faux-larney joint with posh seating, plasma screens and a huge projector playing Kimora Lee Simmons’ reality show where she’s doing tantric yoga and getting botox injected in her ass. I sit and try mellow out, easing my way into the night, but soon I’m on the edge of my seat, bobbing my head furiously to hard boom-bap tunes provided by Kato and DJ Roach, counterpart to heavyweight dj, Real Rozanno, that bring us the Best of Ekapa shows every Thursday. The selection is tight and it gets the small crowd going. The best part of his set for me was getting to listen to the myriad of Cape Flats artists like Garlic Brown, Scallywag, Remy-E and a shit load more I can’t even identify.
My main man Moorosi, AKA Big Space, is playing a set down the road at the Shelflife Puma X Sneaker release party and there’s free booze, so I have to go. In an hour and a half I’m getting steadily bent on Peronis and Jameson and lime, doing the ironic nerd dance to the galvanising tunes of Big Space and Blotchy from the Cold Turkey clique and find out about some new arty soft porn called shriimping. The vibe is right and I don’t want to leave, but I have to rush back just before Isaac Mutant’s set.
Back at Platinum Lounge the crowd had at least tripled in size. With disdain I fork out the R18 it cost for a Black Label and eagerly await the headline act. Isaac Mutant steps up resolved and ready to fuck the mic up like a UFC champion, his menacing stage presence is reinforced by an enraged-looking grill. From the get-go, his rhymes are angry and infectious, filling you up with a brewing, violent energy. You can expect to hear a lot of “fuck yous” and “poese” during his set. Backed by bass-heavy dubstep-infused beats and supported by one of the krooks from K.A.K as hype man, Isaac gets us jamming as well as participating, throwing back repeat words and inciting us to raise our middle fingers in the air. The set was mind-blowing for Kaapse rap fans, I had to go up to mumble incoherent praises to the man after the set.
The final act was Koloured Ass Krooks, a crew that captured my attention at a recent Youth Day concert. Although a considerable couple of notches down from the intensity of the previous performer, K.A.K killed it with their choice of down-tempo, chilled-out beats and crew dynamics. K.A.K rarely rap all over the same track at once and some performed their own tracks solo, which allows them to explore all styles from triple-time Twista-esque raps to uplifting, soul’d out tracks with an incredible, unknown female vocalist.
Sated with my dose of rap and unable to take another drink, I hand my beer to the person standing closest to me and stumble back to the car from a good night out.