Bernie’s once held a special place in the hearts of Columbus hip hop heads. Covertly located in a basement, it was the battle ground for the Weightless and Mhz crews. Quite unexpectedly, a last minute booking of Li Po Lounge in Chinatown of San Francisco felt like an old stomping grounds with new friends.
From this night forward, if I can’t punch dents in the ceiling when an MC asks me to make noise, I’ll feel like I’m not substantially doing my part to aid in igniting the party. The basement of the Li Po Lounge was described as “opium den-like” and while it lacked tapestry and a smokey haze I associate with dens, its low ceiling and underground vibe spoke to the degenerate in me. A Chinatown location was rad enough, but feeling as though you were part of an illegal house party in the basement of a bar sealed a permanent storage spot of this night in my memory.
Headliners Greenhouse, now comprised of Blueprint and Illogic with DJ Rare Groove on the tables, spoke glowingly of the low key vibe and its relativity to Bernie’s. No ventilation kept the crowd agitated enough to either move or lash out on the soft ceiling, a cigarette was occasionally smoked with a “fuck it” demeanor and beers stowed in backpacks were drank without worry as the show went down like a house party. Openers Cloud City from Sacramento, kicked it off with a strong set that hopefully earned them some new fans.
Timmy Wiggins is a full-blooded East Coast dude that looks like he’s more concerned with aping out on creatine and red bull than spitting rap flows, but don’t let the look fool you. Wiggins won the crowd with silky flows over Toni Braxton’s “You’re Making Me High” and an assortment of classic tracks to reel in the heads and break down those first impressions. I also wouldn’t be surprised if dude is/was an accomplished drug peddler – just a hunch. Dez & Nobs brought the shenanigans as the hip hop show turned into a no-pants party. Dez was a primary instigator in punching dents in the ceiling to show appreciation, so it was no surprise that he and Nobs stirred up the party. Blueprint & Illogic traded banter like a comedy duo when they weren’t homaging the golden ages with songs about the neighborhood weed man over “Ain’t No Half Steppin'” and performing standout cuts from Blueprint’s 1988. Greenhouse would have kept going until it was out of songs if the bar-back hadn’t come down to flick the lights to signal a wrap up.