** (2 stars out of 6); July 6 at Cosmopol
Emerging from beneath the shade of the canopy on the darkly–lit stage, a DJ booth made a few flash green colour displays and began pumping out a series of ‘90s hip-hop hits. The master of ceremonies, DJ Large, much more ceremonial than the comically suited–up Danish hosts that we’ve seen introducing concerts throughout the festival, then went on to call on the bulging audience to show their appreciation for each of the four individual acts appearing on stage during the next four hours.
Action Bronson, a 130kg New York–raised rapper, was the first figure to emerge. Dressed in a lunar white tracksuit, he bossed the stage with the bulky presence you’d expect of a man of Bronson’s proportions.
Immediately breaking into reams of catchy couplets, the people skirted around the periphery of the tent grew curious as to what this guy was rapping on about so fast, so loud and so clear. Perhaps helped along by the general similarities between his own hip-hop style and the iconic Wu Tang Clan, it was apparent that the majority of his audience were already fans and knew his diction by heart. This he reciprocated by giving a live run-through of tracks mostly from his seminal album Dr. Lecter (2011).
The applause that met the arrangement one and a half hours ago had disintegrated midway through Flatbush Zombie’s set. The Brooklyn duo stepped off the gas pedal somewhere along the way and lost the audience almost altogether after a few technical issues blighted the final third of their show. Their philosophical, street–core, stoner rap seemed to somehow confuse the audience. Perhaps because they tried out the old call and response trick a few times but, given the majority of the audience had probably never even heard ‘Thug Waffle’, ‘Laker Paper’ or ‘Face Off’ before, it was a pretty tall order to expect any rousing returns.
The following couple of hours were played out by two more from this extended family of rappers and collaborators starting out with one Joey Badass, who quickly distanced himself from the Danes and the prewired Jante Law philosophy by screaming out "We don’t give a fuck, as long as we collect our pay!" after a group performance that had already proved lacklustre compounded by his gross egotism and hoarse voice that most Danes couldn't seem to forgive.
Then a chaotic mishmash of mix tapes, a few neat rap sections and cover numbers closed down the whole affair with few members of the original audience standing, or even nearby.