Smile Politely

Clipse: a good evil carnival

So…did you know that Virginia rap superduo the Clipse rocked a block party on Wednesday? If you didn’t, don’t feel bad…. it was only the most random event to occur in the Champaign area since the earthquake in 2008. What those events have in common is that they were both free.

On behalf of the crazed shock humor television network Adult Swim, Clipse took a stage built in the parking lot of Station 211. Walking towards the address indicated on the event poster, you might not have been prepared for the carnival-esque block party taking place on 3rd street between Green and John. Yes. Carnival.

It was a very weird scene, to say the least, and in the hours up until the show it was quite awkward to be there. “Try your luck” games, a 500 ft. line for free t-shirts, one of those “grab as much fake money as you can in this telephone booth” things, and of course, a beer garden-all were suddenly found right outside of your neighborhood Niro’s. And I noticed a phenomenon: It’s funny how a carnival setting can completely change your comfort level, even your visual perception. With the likely exception of some townies, all patrons were clean, bright-eyed students that I probably saw on the quad yesterday while walking to class. But because this was an eerie, random, Adult Swim carnie extravaganza — sans Tilt-o-Whirl — everyone there looked very trashy and well… like carnies; too many neon trucker hats, balloon-darts and tattoos in one place. San Francisco based DJ Motion Potion, who is on the Adult Swim tour, had the same mustache as the guy who works the Pharaoh Boat at every carnival, every year, in every state since the dawn of time.

Oddities aside, The Clipse put on a show that definitely ends the school year off correctly — call it a bookend to Jay-Z’s set first semester — and if publicized properly and tacked with an opener, could have rivaled it in hype level. They played nearly ALL of their classics — rare for a free show. Virginia’s own Pusha T and Malice came to the stage with big-time energy, blasting the modern gangster rap classic “What Happened to That Boy” (and because Cash Money rapper Baby was not present to make the song’s distinct pigeon sounds, they left that to the crowd). Along with tracks from their new album, Till’ the Casket Drops, The Clipse went through their previous album Hell Hath No Fury, a modern day classic, and did not leave fans without tracks such as “Keys Open Doors”, “Mama I’m So Sorry” and “Mr. Me Too”. The group took it all the way back to October 2002 (I think was taking my 8th grade constitution test then) with songs from their debut album Lord Willin’, and blasted the track “Grindin’,” that one beat that everyone at lunch tried to recreate by banging on the cafeteria table.

It might have taken a while for the “free” factor to set in because the show was so well done and the free t-shirts were actually real pressed shirts that wont collapse after one laundry run. I laughed when a friend told me about a free Clipse show at an Adult Swim carnival at Station 211. The moral of the story is—you better believe it.

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