Jeru The Damaja raps to a dozing crowd at Cabaret Underworld

Hip hop heads everywhere know how to be fashionably late. Though he took the stage more than three hours later, doors opened at 9 PM at Jeru The Damaja’s show at Cabaret Underworld last Thursday.

The audience practically slept through the opening acts even though they were pretty decent. Still, to the delight of his ardent supporters, Jeru stepped on stage around 12:30am. In spite of being an old veteran of the mic, the top billing was unable to lift the crowd out of its slump.

The man who was once associated to the widely influential Gang Starr had an obvious off night. He looked wearied like he hadn’t had a jolt of adrenaline in years.

The show had its moments though. Jeru tried to tug at the audience’s heartstrings as he recalled fond memories from the Golden Age. He also showed great generosity when he let a disabled kid onstage.

It struck me that he looked absolutely bored with the level of involvement of this young crop of rap fans. He repeatedly attempted to shake them out of their doldrums by coaxing them to scream on top of their lungs. But it all had little to no effect on the show. Since he was so unenthusiastic about his own performance, how could he expect the public to create excitement on its own?

Frankly, Jeru The Damaja seemed completely out of step with this new generation. It’s like he has lost his mojo. And as his golden years in the industry dwindle down, I doubt he’ll ever be able to gain it back.

Jeru the Damaja. photo by Shaun Michaud

Jeru the Damaja. photo by Shaun Michaud

Jeru the Damaja. photo by Shaun Michaud

Jeru the Damaja. photo by Shaun Michaud

Jeru the Damaja. photo by Shaun Michaud

Jeru the Damaja. photo by Shaun Michaud

 

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