“Renegades of Rhythm” is here to remind you what hip hop’s all about

After a brief break DJ Shadow (Josh Davis) and Cut Chemist (Lucas MacFadden) are back for another tour. As with most of their shows the tour is highly conceptual, and this year the theme is a tribute to Afrika Bambaataa.

With a full blessing from the man himself, Shadow and Chemist dug through Bambaataa’s Master of Records Archive collecting a library of originals to use during the live show. Many of the chosen records were beat up, scratched up, most are older than half of the audience and were chosen specifically on appearance which, according to Davis and MacFadden, served as a testament of a good mix: “It was pretty clear what he played a lot and what he didn’t. The sure-shots were covered with tape and the jackets were beautifully tattered; that made it easier after a while to pull records.”

“See,” says Shadow before going into the first mix, “this one has a hole in it,” holding up a record with a solid opening in it.

Masterfully mixed on six turntables, Bambaataa’s beats immediately came to life accompanied by stunning images of New York, record covers, and shots from live street shows.

Having just watched New York 77 and Scratch (yet another time) the weekend prior, my excitement was bursting out of Chuck Taylor’s like it’s Christmas. Most of the room seemed to be on the same page, if not for the legacy than without a doubt for DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist who, in their matching “Sure” and “Shot” t-shirts, seemed both nervous and thrilled to kick start the Renegades of Rhythm Tour in Toronto’s Kool Haus.

The crowd was divided into quiet nodders and straight up break dancers. A small opening broke out some time after the second track and a group of b-boys began throwing it down real time. This carefully organized mini-battle went on throughout nearly the entire show. People seemed to be torn between where to look – the DJs, the dancers, the wicked video? There was soul and salsa, there was hip hop and rap, there was calypso and even some dub. There was definitely a bit of nostalgia and a ton of love from the sweaty faces on stage to the sweaty faces across the room – no one was out for a smoke throughout the set.

So whether you love the classics, a good DJ, or a good show Renegades of Rhythm is a must see.