With a collage of abstract images as a background, the legendary Cut Chemist of Jurassic 5 fame stepped to the stage of the Fillmore and spoke to the crowd almost apologetically for the funky rhythms he was about to lay down. “I am Cut Chemist, this is my video man and we’re a heavy metal band.”
With that puzzling statement, Cut began the show with a montage of images and video ripped straight from the VHS tape of old, all scratched in real time and in complete sync with the sonic waves from his four turntables. His assistant scratching the video never missed a beat, or an opportunity to rewind footage, only to have it start again, and in perfect sync with the scratch of the moment. The audience was treated to video footage of a man being kung fu-ed by a woman repeatedly ran forward to back and then back to forward in its play, all to the cadence and beat of classic b-boy rappers of old, kicking to the sound of a kick drum, and jabbing to the tinge of the snare. Such visuals could not help but conjure up corny memories of old poorly dubbed kung fu movies so genuinely loved by their own cult following, among them the Wu-Tang Clan.
It comes as no surprise then that when discussing emcees within the current rap game that still inspire him, Cut Chemist readily mentioned the Clan – “I like all the Wu-Tang shit.”
As evidenced in his quotes and in his sonic sequencing, Cut Chemist is a teacher at heart, like so many dorm room DJs, hoping to turn the masses on to something they might not have heard otherwise. Midway through his set Cut felt the need to get his teach on, playing an old science class era vinyl explaining the rhythmic evolution of ancient African tribes – “First, their music began with a simple beat.slow and simple in its form.” The lack of cadence and approachability of the sound clip eerily brought to mind old anthropology videos of the 1970s. From here, Cut continued to draw on his chalkboard of sorts, tapping on his turntables, and spinning them back emulating the beating of an African drum, completely on beat with the escalating drums ripping through the speakers.
Cut closed the set with a rousing melodic set in which he replayed breaks of different rock guitars and drums alike, all somehow in place and in pitch with each other, creating his own orchestra of sorts. Not to be left out of the multimedia assault of the senses, Cut’s video DJ spliced in his own powerful images of ancient rock and roll legitimizing Cut’s earlier statement, “I use everything.”
With this raw display of both visual and auditory, it became evident how much truth there was to Cut’s opening statement, “Let’s make this multimedia show happen, Heavy Metal.”
KCSU Urban Director Rory “Stringer Bell” Heath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.