Bad rap on rap

MIKE ROSS

, Last Updated: 4:39 PM ET

What the hip-hop community lacks in organization, it makes up for in the ability to shovel hype like pro wrestlers.

Examples are numerous, from Wu Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard (who has now changed his handle to "Big Baby Jesus") hijacking the mike at the Grammy Awards to Vancouver's Rascalz refusing to accept their Juno for rap because it wasn't on TV. You can hardly even listen to a rap record without hearing huge wads of self-centred, egotistical bravado. American rappers are famous for this, but Canadian rhymers tend to follow suit.

When I talked to the Dream Warriors in 1994, rapper King Lu bragged that "this group is now deeper than a group. It's a movement."

And I'm ticked off at this movement. I was supposed to do a phone interview to advance their show at Club Kaos this coming Wednesday, but Lu and Q (the movement is down to two from four) missed the appointed time and haven't been heard from since.

I'll just have to hope that they make the gig. Look what happened to the Puff Daddy concert that was supposed to happen last December. A little border delay and - puff! - it was history. Thousands of kids able to afford the $65 ticket price had to get their money back. It was typical. Outright incompetency, ridiculous routing, double bookings, cancelled shows and a lack of promotion are endemic in the rap scene. Rap has been around since, what, the mid-'80s? - and it still can't get its act together?

"It's still building," says Anyez Cheung, publicist for BeatFactory Music, a Toronto rap label that released Dream Warriors' latest album, Anthology: A Decade of Hits 1988-1998. "The infrastructure in Canada isn't very organized. That's what we're trying to do. It's still very young."

Well, by God, they're trying.

Take the two brave promoters from Vancouver putting on the LL Cool J show at the AgriCom on June 9. Even local music biz veterans are at a loss as to whether it's going to stiff or be a huge success.

Local hip-hop guru "Teddy," who hosts The Black Experience in Sound every Saturday at 10 p.m. on CJSR, suggests that $45 (the top ticket price) to see LL Cool J is too much, but the show should still do well.

"If he shows up," Teddy says, "the crowd will be there. The women will be there for sure.

"LL, he's from the old school: love rap, hey love and hey girl and hey baby and the women like him. The dudes will come, but they'll be hesitant: 'But this ain't Wu Tang!' Wu Tang can't even get over the border. They got too many charges. LL's a nice guy. He don't even use swear words."

Neither do the Dream Warriors, for that matter. And the price to see them is only $8. Now, let's just hope they show up.

DREAM WARRIORS QUICKFACTS

Who: King Lu, Capital Q, Spek, DJ Luv

Formed: 1991

Debut: And Now The Legacy Begins (1991)

Albums: Subliminal Simulation (1994), The Master Plan (1996)

Singles: My Definition (Of a Boombastic Jazz Style), Wash Your Face in My Sink, Ludi, Day in Day Out

Quote: "On this album we were just like -- you know what, we don't have anything to prove to the hip hop fraternity, we don't have anything to prove to the mainstream, we don't have anything to prove to anybody." Spek.


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