N.O.R.E. and ¡Mayday! at Transit Lounge, February 19


With ¡Mayday!

As part of the Rising

Transit Lounge

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Better than: A XXXL Fatburger with cheese, some Swisher Sweets, and a PBR.

Remember when Victor Santiago Jr. (AKA N.O.R.E., AKA Noreaga) got busted at a SoBe burger joint for slugging some dude three times and throwing a few ounces of "yellow liquid" at him?

OK. Well, that two-year-old incident has absolutely nothing to do with his set at Transit Lounge last night. Except, a flashback to that greasy scene served as inspiration for a brief bit of drunken dreaming.

At about 1:11 p.m., the rap show still hadn't gotten going and I was wasting time, admiring Transit's newest vending machine. You feed the fat little black cube a few crumpled bills and it spits out your choice of two products -- Swisher Sweets or Pabst Blue Ribbon.

This is a highly desirable contraption. And if there are any novelty dealers in the South Florida metropolitan area who make a living peddling these things, please email sean.pajot@miaminewtimes as soon as fucking possible. I'd like to install one in my bedroom within the week.

Still, though, it isn't perfect. This particular machine would be improved immeasurably by the addition of a Fatburger chute. As any casual drunk would probably agree, a combo of smokes, cheap beer, and beef on bread is the ideal morning meal or midnight snack.

Would N.O.R.E. want a piece of this action? I thought about asking him. But he was nowhere to be found. I scanned the crowd through thick clouds of Swisher, cigarette, and weed smoke. And Transit's parking-lot party spot was packed with all kinds of thugs and thugettes. Just not the Superthug.

Meanwhile, I grabbed another beer, the clock clicked to 2 a.m., and a couple of unmistakable mugs, ¡Mayday!'s Plex Luthor and Gianni Cash, crept onto Transit's unlit outdoor stage, slipped behind twin key decks, and drifted into a moody ambient intro as the rest of the crew -- MCs Bernbiz and Wrekonize, drummer L.T. Hopkins, and bongo guy Nonymous -- filtered out from the shadows.

Then, like high beams on a black-and-white Crown Victoria, the stage lights suddenly flashed ... My brain screamed, "Cops!" The crowd just screamed. And ¡Mayday! charged into a new track, "Death March," and a version of "Lost & Found" off local rapper Wreks's recent album, before shifting into some classic shit ("Broads & Freqs" and "K2"), kicking out a few minutes of freestyle ("Killen Dem"), and digging deep into the discography for "Groundhog Day."

Up front, the diehards were wilding out in the usual way, humping each other and sparking sticky stuff. But away from the stage, people were indulging in stranger behavior, laughing nonsensically while piling trash and empty Corona bottles into the parking-lot party spot's potholes. As for me, I was empty again.

Luckily, though, Wrekonize was taking pulls off a jug of good whiskey between songs ("I'll Be Gone," "$nowbird," "REM," "Crossroads & Avenues") and he decided to share with the rest of us. He took a shot. We took a shot. Repeat.

Rattling off another three classic ¡Mayday! cuts ("Junkyard Dog," "Technology," "Starting Over"), the crew wrapped its set and called out the big man, N.O.R.E., for a stab at the collabo track, "They Told Me," from last year's Lords of the Fly. And Mr. Santiago swaggered out, snagged the mike, and strangled the motherfucker. For a couple of minutes, he, Bernbiz, and Wrekonize traded blazing verses. But the track got clipped short.

Right then, I got wise and realized that this was gonna be a quick and dirty deal. For some reason, I'd been expecting a half-hour show or something. Instead, we got 10 minutes.

No matter, though, 'cause N.O.R.E. came correct, dropping a double shot of his greatest hits, "Nothin'" and "Superthug." Rocking a memorial tee for Run DMC's late, great Jam Master Jay and a chunk of "Thugged Out Militainment" bling, he brought back that old street rap blast, spitting: "You hate the law, nigga/Break it, I don't care/And when ya get caught/ Remember that I don't care." And then the backing track cut out and Santiago did the same.

It was 3:04 a.m. and the party was done. Time to head home. I was tired. I was drunk. I was hungry. And I just kept thinking: Wouldn't it be rad if there were a machine in my room waiting to serve me smokes, cheap beer, and beef on bread?

That's called luxury, thug.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Real heads, Little Havana hotties, local hip-hop moguls, a few Brickell bores, and babes with babies.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Yo, dude. Let's go get a drink." "Nah, homie. I'm good. I got my own. BYOB, bitches."

¡Mayday! Set List:


-"Death March"

-"Lost & Found"

-"Broads & Freqs"

-"K2 (Wait a Minute)"

-"Lost Souls"

-"Killen Dem"

-"Groundhog Day"

-"I'll Be Gone"



-"Crossroads & Avenues"

-"Junkyard Dog"


-"Starting Over"

N.O.R.E. Set List:

-"They Told Me" (With ¡Mayday!)



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S. Pajot