Tuesday night’s Afro-Punk showcase transformed the Music Hall Of Williamsburg into a center of chaos. The Death To Hip-Hop showcase, curated by the popular website, featured sets from beloved proto-punk trio Death, thrash brats Cerebral Ballzy, rock-cum-hip-hop entourage Ninjasonik and up-and-coming hip-hop group Jersey Klan. Together, the four main acts stirred up plenty of mosh pits, making for one hell of a show.
Jersey Klan set the night off with its swag-heavy rhymes, set to both thumping backing tracks and a capella styling. Frontman Moruf Adewunmi’s flow was dripping with confidence as he led the group through a high-energy set, punctuated with plenty of stage dives.
Ninjasonik’s infectious mix of thumping house, rap and hardcore punk spawned the first pits of the night. Fan faves like “Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant” and “Art School Girls” provoked the biggest responses, with the former leading one audience member to toss a case of birth control pills onstage. “Holy shit,” said lead rapper Telli, picking up the package. “This hasn’t even been used lately. Somebody gon’ get pregnant.”
New York ’80s thrash revivalist band Cerebral Ballzy continued the fun, with songs about pizza, puking and being screwed over by the MTA. Lanky, goofy frontman Honor Titus was especially silly that night, in part because he was happily and completely wasted. “Come join the party,” he blissfully slurred in between songs. “I want to see a circle pit. Circle. Like the circumference of a circle,” he instructed, and the crowd was happy to obey, above a sea of thunderous guitar and relentless drums. Forget love, politics and the meaning of life—there was something intangibly awesome about seeing the crowd lose itself over a song called the “Puke Song.”
Legendary Detroit proto-punkers Death finished up the evening, dressed in spiffy suits and playing an even spiffier set of songs. The three Hackney brothers—David, Bobby and Dannis—worked in perfect synergy, combining slithering guitar riffs, crisp drum fills and rubbery bass to instill the mosh pits with a bit of Detroit soul.