CunninLynguists @ Fortune Sound Club

Is the South in the house?!

This past Wednesday, November 7th evening, southern rap group CunninLynguists visited Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver, BC. The anticipation for this show was already through the roof across the Vancouver area. Following a feat of superhuman verbalization from the flow master we know as Tonedeff, he delivered a sentimental introduction to the long-awaited hip-hop group. These sons of the Dirty South, hailing from Atlanta and Kentucky, swaggered onto the stage to the beats and scratches of DJ FlipFlop and the cheers of a roaring crowd.

Deacon the Villain was toting a fresh San Francisco Giants cap in honor of the 2012 World Series champs, and Kno, who was de facto frontman of the group, just pretended that he wasn’t Kno at all. He introduced himself as Asher Roth at one time, as Mac Miller at another, among several other disguises (Riff Raff was Adam’s favorite).

From start to finish, CL put on a masterful performance that was well-adjusted to the absence of their third amigo, Natti. They immediately set the tone for the show by opening with ‘Hellfire’, which we never considered to be one of their hits until we realized its full booming potential on the live amps. They then followed with the southern banger ‘KKKY’ off the album Dirty Acres. Their song choices henceforth consisted of their highly acclaimed hits, as well as hard tracks that could lift people and get them moving all about the dance floor. The result was people going nuts for every track that was dropped, whether or not they were familiar with it. Watching the scene on the stage was a sight to behold on its own.

CunninLynguists really have a stage presence like no other rap group. Despite Natti being held back in Canada by Border Patrol, watching the coordination on stage between present members and feeling that resonating energy ceaselessly made the night that much more of a success. So much of the their lyrical material is interchangeable between rappers, to the point where they could just take turns spitting one-liners after the other. On the stage, they were constantly moving and circulating that high energy. Even Tonedeff, who is not in CunninLynguists but probably one of their closest affiliates, had a great deal of participation in this hectic atmosphere. After his crazy opener, he popped in and out of the stage to take part in the tracks where he was a recorded feature, including ‘Love Aint’ and ‘616 Rewind’. Tonedeff managed to steal the show for moments in each song where his easily visible lyrical talents were featured in the beginning of the tracks previously mentioned.

The crowd’s response also played a huge part. During all the dope tracks that everyone knows (and wow, Cunninlynguists has so many), everyone went ballistic. From ‘Thugged Out Since Cub Scouts’ to ‘Old School’ to ‘Never Come Down (The Brownie Song)’, the house was nearly brought down. When they dropped ‘Beautiful Girl,’ the sweet, hard-hitting jazzy samples were almost euphoric.

It was easy to see the charisma and comfort in which Cunnin held on stage, and despite being without fellow rapper Natti, they still seemed incredibly juiced to be back; especially for the kush. CunninLynguists gave two separate encores: the first came after a scratch sesh with DJ FlipFlop, and the second incorporated fellow tour-mates Tonedeff, and Seattle-based rapper, Sadistik. They closed with ‘Lynguistics’, which drops some of the most majestic beats in rap history. It was without question one of the most indulging rap performances we have ever attended. We were honored to have finally experienced this rap group that has consistently amazed us for years.

-Martin and Adam