Most people would flock to Chapel Hill on Halloween weekend to celebrate in the massive annual party that takes place on Franklin St., but I’m not most people.
No, I came to see the noise rap group Clipping play at Local 506, one of the Triangle’s most intimate venues. I had seen Clipping once before in 2014 at a severely under attended Hopscotch Festival set. Their first studio LP “CLPPNG” had just been released two months prior on Sub Pop records, and lead rapper Daveed Diggs was in the middle of rehearsing for a little known musical about the First Secretary of the Treasury. I think it was called “Hamilton” or something along those lines. I heard it won a couple of Tony awards.
In the two years since I last saw them, they’ve released another record, “Splendor & Misery”, a noise/gospel space opera (can’t make this stuff up folks) and an EP, “Wriggle”. To add to this, Digg’s role as Marquis de Lafayette had gained the group quite a bit of notoriety. The usually half filled venue was packed with musical theater obsessed teens.
William Hudson and Jonathan Snipes took the stage, winding up their synths and samplers to generate their unique blend of musique concrète and hip-hop. After a few measures of harsh cacophony, Diggs jumped on stage to speed rap his way through “The Breach.” Polysyllabic words flew out of his mouth at a superhuman rate, with both incredible ease and crisp diction. Even Busta Rhymes would have been impressed.
Next came “Wake Up”, a song which centers itself around the sample of an alarm clock. Around this time it became evident that most of the audience was more interested in filming a Broadway star on their Snapchat story than actually enjoy the music.
Diggs asked “Don’t you guys know how to dance?” referring to the stationary teens. He shrugged it off and continued supplying the bangers to the human statues.
The group ended their set with “Body & Blood”, “Bout.That”, “Work Work” and “Shooter”, which are probably their four most raucous songs in my opinion.
I was hell bent on enjoying these songs with my friends, even if the rest of the audience didn’t want to.
So, my pals and I started dancing. We may have been the only ones, and we probably looked like idiots, but it didn’t matter to us. Why go to a rap show if you aren’t going to move?
The show ended, and the flock of Hamilton fans made a mad dash to chase Diggs outside.
“Oh my gosh I just met THE Lafayette!” screamed a teenage girl.
A passerby asked my friends what was going on.
A teenager wearing light up sketchers butted in, “He’s in Hamilton!”
“Yeah but he’s also in Clipping…” my pal Nick retorted.
“You know, the band you just saw?” I added.
Clipping are an incredibly talented group who put on an amazing show, but this new found fame seems to be bringing in an unfortunately disrespectful audience.