Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel Music: Wu-Tang's GZA Slangs Liquid Swords at The Stage, December 3


The Stage Miami

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Better Than: Waiting for anyone who wasn't GZA.

He arrived about two and a half hours late. We should have known -- Wu-Tang is notorious for being tardy to shows. In any case, GZA, the Genius, one of the founding members of the Clan, finally showed face at The Stage Miami around 2:30 a.m. with his entourage in tow.

The place was filled to the brim with the Wu generation -- those who more than fifteen years ago (before MP3s killed the record industry) hit up their local music store to cop GZA's Liquid Swords CD.

By 1 a.m., the crowd was buzzing, warming up by rapping each word of every classic track that the opening DJ whipped out. There were A Tribe Call Quest's "Bonita Applebum" and Nas' "Made You Look," among others. But the amateur lyricists' words were quickly replaced with boos when the DJ dropped Rihanna's "What's My Name."

Rumors had it that Method Man, who was booked at Cameo, would be making an appearance at the show. Everybody was hopin that the long wait meant they'd be catching not one, but two members of the legendary rap group.

By 2 a.m., though, the crowd was losing steam. Everyone was hot, sticky, and itching to smoke those pre-rolled joints brought just for the occasion. A man with dreads took the stage to tell us that GZA was finally in the building.

But before getting to see the Wu crew member perform, the dreaded dude gave us a 20-minute taste of his own beats and rhymes. Pretty good, though we were a tad confused when he started rapping in a fake English accent, and then about needing a "dubstep girl." Dubstep? Did we miss something?

Finally, GZA made it to the stage, and the people threw up their Wu-Tang wings. Grey Goose and cranberry juice was flowing through the Genius's entourage. And shit got throwback as the MC ripped tracks like "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and "Animal Planet." Revived, audience members kept their hands in the air, pumping along with the music.

Less than 60 minutes later, though, he was gone, much to the disappointment of those who had waited more than two hours to see him. Plus, no Method Man. What the fuck?

The venue cleared almost instantaneously, patrons leaving with mixed feelings. Some were annoyed with the short set. Others were satisfied with the decent dose of old school hip-hop.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: The Wu-Tang generation.

Overheard in the Crowd: Chants of "Wu! Wu! Wu!"

Random Detail: A guy right at the foot of the stage didn't open his eyes once throughout the entire performance. His hands were laid out on the speaker, picking up the vibrations. We concluded he was either asleep, in a state of trance, or maybe blind and deaf.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Gabriela Izarra
Contact: Gabriela Izarra