Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fatlip & Tre Live Show

Long removed from their heyday as members of the West-Coast alt-rap group Pharcyde, Fatlip and Tre performed in front of a small crowd of fewer than 50 inside Emo’s on Thursday. The two have been scratching out solo careers ever since Pharcyde, an underground group that achieved crossover success in the mid-’90’s with hits such as “Runnin” and “Passin Me By,” disintegrated.

As the small turnout suggests, neither has been able to top Pharcyde’s success. And while they were clearly nonplussed by the initially drowsy audience, they still managed to put on an excellent show. It was old-school hip-hop at its finest: two emcees and a DJ moving the crowd with just a turntable and some microphones.

They opened with a medley of Pharcyde classics, but the biggest reaction came when they started playing their more recent work, in particular songs from Fatlip’s 2005 solo album “The Loneliest Punk.” The duo shared the stage well, alternating verses as the crowd sung along to underground hits such as “What’s up Fatlip” and “Today’s Your Day.”

And even though Fatlip had the more popular songs, it was Tre, aka Slimkid3, who stole the show. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat low on his head and a faded Polo shirt, his infectious energy made him seem like the bigger star. Alternately hectoring and praising the crowd, he won them over by bringing various girls on stage to dance and rap his verses: “I know that Fatlip carries a pack to cure the nicotine itch / because the only itch I have is for the indoe or ‘cess.”

The show ended with Tre passionately pleading with the audience not bootleg their music, a particularly widespread problem in underground rap, whose computer savvy fan-base has been on the file-sharing forefront. He told them if they don’t support their favorite artists, one day they’re going to wake up and wonder where those artists went.

After all, no matter how well Tre and Fatlip perform, if no one’s there to see it, his prophecy might come true.

Pharcyde -- Runnin

Fatlip -- What's Up Fatlip

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