Hip-Hop icons The Grouch and Scarub sell out Casanova’s
The line stretched out the door and halfway down the block. The air was thick with the overwhelming scent of booze, cigarettes, and perfume. There were long legs and high heels everywhere.
Ah, another Saturday night at Casanova’s in Makawao.
Not much of a bar-goer myself, I had been brought out to catch the event on everyone’s lips this week – a performance by world famous (now a Maui local) hip-hop artists, Scarub and The Grouch of the famous Living Legends.
The show was scheduled for 10:00, but by 10:30 the line had not budged, and there was a rumor circulating that no more people were going to be allowed inside. Not since the Sunset Strip in LA had I seen such a fuss over a show.
After a half hour spent watching person after person cut in line, (perhaps imagining that they were invisible to those of us patiently waiting), I wondered if I should just turn around and go home.
Just as i was about to, the line started crawling forward. Annnnd… at last! I was inside. The scene was chaos. Patrons crowding around the frantic bartenders, girls in mini-skirts grinding on one another and splashing their drinks all over you as you walked by.
Just another day in paradise.
It was all made worthwhile, however, when the opening act, MC Scarub, sauntered on stage to a roar of approval from the hundreds of cheering fans. A DJ behind him dropped the backing tracks, and he was off, spitting strand after strand of lip tricks and rhyme schemes.
At a certain point, you’d think he couldn’t possibly spit any more words out, and just then he would launch into another tirade of rhythmic cadence.
I had sung for a hip hop band in Los Angeles, and somewhat outgrown my appreciation of the genre, but even I found my jaw on the floor. How amazing to find such a gifted lyricist in the middle of upcountry, Maui! After Scarub’s last song, the crowd was hungry for more.
He was out of tracks, but – no worries – the host of the evening (local Hip-Hop guru, Goldawn Won) grabbed the microphone, dropped a fat beatbox, (in my opinion, better than the backing tracks) and they were off again!
Ah, freestyle. Now this, to me, is what hip-hop is really all about. Way more pure & organic, and entirely more fascinating. Scarub was spitting rhymes off the top of his head so fast and so impeccably that it was baffling to conceive that none of this was preconceived.
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By the time The Grouch approached the stage, the crowd was screaming. Heavy bass lines dug away at my bones while the beats blasted vibration to my core. All hands in the air. The Grouch had arrived. And the party was officially on fire.
Cory Scoffern (aka The Grouch) was a founding member of a 90’s hip hop group, Living Legends, that dominated the underground San Francisco/west coast scene. He and Scarab were visionary brothers in the 8 man group before it took off to national success and recorded over 100 albums.
After coming to Maui on tour, he fell in love and made it his permanent home. He and his wife had a child, and have been working to build the local hip-hop scene by bringing over their collaborators from the mainland.
In this rare local appearance, The Grouch was greeted with roaring approval from his neighbors and upcountry crew.
Although it was a crazy bar scene, to be sure, the night was dominated by the lyrical talents of these masterful MCs. You couldn’t help but ignore the alcohol splashing all over you, the nudging and pushing and shoving … and just grin & move to the driving rhythm as these poets took you on a journey.
Check out their music online at www.therealgrouch.com and www.myspace.com/scarubiscool
Article brought to you by local musician, Maesyn (www.myspace.com/maesyn)