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Video Review: Camp Lo Boom Through ATL

Camp Lo Rains Luchini in Atlanta

By Ismael AbduSalaam

Last Friday (June 5), New York’s Camp Lo brought their unique, 70’s influenced style to the club Cenci venue in the city of Atlanta.

Unbeknownst to many, Camp Lo has been making regular appearances in the A since their breakout, 1997 debut album. With Atlanta being a transplant city full of northerners, westsiders, native ATLiens, and others, the tandem has never had an issue having an audience for any booked show.

The Cenci venue doubles as a restaurant/lounge on the main floor, and incorporates another full bar and stage in the basement. It was smart to hold the show downstairs, as the very dark lighting and intimate setting created the feel of the famous house party painting seen on the cover of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You, and Camp Lo’s debut. Concert-goers loosened up and danced while awaiting the headliners, and were treated to mid 90’s classics that spanned from Dr. Dre’s “Deep Cover” to Jeru’s “Come Clean.”

The 70s-styled Bronx duo was quite tardy for the show, not touching down until close to 2AM. Thankfully, Atlanta standouts Binkis Recs and Senor Kaos held down the venue beforehand with energetic sets that incorporated classics like Tribe’s “Scenario,” and breaks like the Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache.”

The Lo thanked the patrons for their patience before kickstarting their set with the Smokey Robison-sampling “Lumdi,” and “Dope Boyz.” The crowd was receptive to these offerings, but the excited murmuring made it apparent that everyone was ready to rock out to selections from the group’s seminal debut, Uptown Saturday Night.

Camp Lo soon obliged, receiving loud applause when the rhythms of “Krystal Karrington” hit. Unlike many 90’s acts, whose breath control and lyric memory have deteriorated in the new millennium, Camp Lo’s rhymes were as crisp and clear as their CD counterparts. Ironically, for all of Uptown Saturday Night’s acclaim amongst fans, not many could recite the pair’s dense, allusion-heavy elliptical rhyme schemes. The result was the crowd supporting Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede as defacto hypemen, chiming in at the recognizable words and for choruses.

The group mixed in tracks from their latest offering Stone & Rob: Caught on Tape like “On Smash,” and the dancehall-tinged “89 of Crime.” However, like true veterans they continually surveyed the crowd reactions, and improvised selections as needed. After starting their sultry love ballad “Ticket 4 2,” Camp Lo cut the track short after joking there were not enough females present for the track to be appreciated.

Back to Uptown Saturday Night, the duo finished strong with more up-tempo tracks like “Black Connection,” “Rockin’ It” and “Swing.” The audience’s energy became more frenetic when “Coolie High” hit, obviously knowing that there was one final classic single that was needed to cap off the evening.

With various chants for “Luchini,” and even a scattered smart fan asking for the “Luchini Remix,” Geechi Suede made a simple request while the DJ held off on any music.

“We going to do something special right now,” he stated. “But at the same time we want everybody from the front, to the back, to the left, to the right; I want to see every hand in the air in the name of Hip-Hop. I don’t want this to drop until everybody is with us. I’m with everybody no matter how drunk I am.”

And with that, the familiar lush horns of “Luchini” boomed throughout the venue. The crowd didn’t struggle with this one, easily finishing the lines of each emcee as they spit back and forth. Camp Lo did the track justice, not fumbling once and making sure fans that had waited since 10:30PM had received their money’s worth.

Although the show did not officially end until close to 3AM, Camp Lo made the delays worthwhile. And even going into yet another decade, the Lo has ensured their fanbase will continue to thrive in Atlanta.

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