Ghostface Killah, DOOM, Chino XL @ The Enmore Theatre, Sydney (02/06/2012)

Gifting Sydney a line-up that consisted of Masta Ace, The Beatnuts and DJ Premier, Rap City’s inaugural event in 2009 was one to remember. It’s a credit to promoters Slingshot Touring that they didn’t just rush together any old line up the second time around to cash in on the success of the first event. Instead, we’ve waited almost two years to see the next incarnation of Rap City: and by all accounts, the line-up was worth the wait.

Local artist Sky’High handled the mic as the heads made their way into the Enmore. Although seats had been on sale, it looks as though not enough were sold to worry about opening the top level. A shame, as I had expected this one to sell out reasonably easily.

An imposing figure with imposing flows, Chino XL was the first international artist to hit the stage. Chino’s set was raw: there were no gimmicks, just the rapper, his DJ and a hype man. As to be expected, Chino re-worked a lot of tracks as he either changed up lyrics or freestyled over his original beats. 90 Bars of intervention and Wordsmith were the standout album tracks, but there were also a lot of great freestyle moments. Not only did Chino deliver a great set to start the night, he also endeared himself to fans by coming out and interacting with them after his time on stage finished.

Head on straight, mask on crooked: the unmistakable, and at times unbelievable flow of DOOM were the next sounds out the speakers. Opening with Accordian from the Madvillain record, he also delivered great versions of All Caps , Kon Queso and One Beer through the set. Doom didn’t exactly do a lot on stage in regards to “the show”, he pretty much just ambled his way from one side of the stage to the other, giving high fives to front rows as he went. Yet there is something about him which is strangely captivating – it’s hard to take your eyes off the guy. I put this remarkable pulling power down to his flow, the way he gets his tongue around his wordy and complicated verses is truly something to behold in person.

The room was full and the crowd were already hyped from the previous sets. Ghostface Killah didn’t have to do anything to win the crowd over, they were already his before the opening bars of Ice Cream even landed. Tonight GFK is sharing the stage with DJ Symphony, a hype-man and Wu Tang affiliate Killah Priest.

If you have been lucky enough to see GFK before, you will have a fair idea of how this went down. Ghost does his most popular tracks along with the usual array of Wu Tang classics, and as always an ODB tribute set. But while the set-list may lack the element of surprise, Ghostface’s energy and crowd working abilities cannot be faulted. He is everywhere you look onstage. Towards the back end of the set he stops the show to deliver a tirade on how long it takes to get here, but how he now feels spiritually connected to Australia after visiting us so many times, and promised to continue coming back. Let’s hope GFK keeps making good on that promise.

If the first two events are anything to go by, even if we have to wait another two years before Rap City round 3, it will no doubt be a line-up worth waiting for.