It was a weird combination of people who crowded into HQ for the first show of the Rap City tour last Friday night. It was nice to see not only the regular hipsters you get at most live shows in Adelaide, but also a few older punters who had obviously grown up listening to Wu-Tang Clan, as well as a large contingent of hardcore hip-hop lovers. Having this wide cross-section of people at a show is an unusual thing forAdelaide, but it shouldn’t be.

Despite doors opening early, it’s after 10pm when Chino XL finally comes on stage. The improbably buff rapper came out with great energy and an infectiously aggressive flow, stealing a fan’s camera to take photos of himself onstage, and even signing t-shirts.

Throughout his set, he took aim at a range of (fairly easy) targets like Rebecca Black, Jonas Brothers, Chris Brown and Nick Cannon, despite his tirades, his raps are pretty fun to experience. His set was punctuated by a few a Capella freestyles the the crowd lapped up, even if they stifled the rhythm of the set somewhat. He had great showmanship that belied his second-tier support act status.

After only half an hour, Chino headed off stage with DOOM tagging in almost straight away – a relief given that last time he played in Adelaide (at the Gov), he subjected his crowd to a two hour wait that was equal parts frustrating and hilarious.

Projections of DOOM mucking around with his MacBook webcam, along with fun comic-book style animations, were interspersed throughout the set and managed to distract from the fact that unlike the other rappers tonight and his tour last year, DOOM was alone onstage without a hype man or DJ. He looked a little lonely up there, even if he seemed like he was having a great time.

He also seemed to be in pretty good spirits, making fun of his weight – “I’ve lost twenty pounds, I’m still over two hundred though!” while he joked about crowd surfing and his lack of shoes. His set contained a lot of tracks off 2004’s Mm..Food as well as Madvilliany – the latter’s “America’s Most Blunted” getting huge love from the crowd. It was a great, simple set. DOOM isn’t a consummate performer, but he clearly loves what he does and his energy was contagious.

It was after midnight before Ghostface Killah appeared on stage. Along with his two hypemen and DJ, he jumped straight into set highlight “Be Easy” and managed to keep this energy level up for most of the night. Towards the end of the set though the Wu-Tang Clan member decided he wanted someone from the crowd to come up on stage and rap with him to “Protect Ya Neck”.

The guy he got on stage seemed to be enjoying himself, and thankfully, he had a pretty good rhythm with his rapping, but the whole process of selecting a crowd member would have been a lot more effective had it not stretched on for over ten minutes and ruined any rhythm the Staten Island rapper had built up.

After that his two hypemen got a few women from the crowd to dance on stage, and the less said about that the better. The whole thing seemed a bit unnecessary and awkward, even Ghostface himself didn’t really think that much of it. The last twenty minutes were particularly weird, but all the acts had built up enough good will across the night (let alone their whole careers) for no-one to really care that much – especially seeing Ghostface walked through the crowd after the show and signed merchandise for his adoring fans.

– Wyatt Lawton-Masi