Time may be money, but Money didn't get enough time at the last Final Friday of '05. The local hip-hop showcase's schedule shortchanged one of its biggest stars, Money Waters, leaving him only enough time for three songs. Too bad, because his tight set with live band Rubba Rode was rivaled only by Pikahsso's set to win Most Funktastic Performance of the Night (if such an honor existed), but at least he made the most of it--Waters closed with his painful, self-loathing story of stripper-loving heartbreak, "So I ...," with his molasses Southern drawl in top form.
The abbreviated time slot meant the big man didn't get to swap rhymes with Pikahsso as planned. And while everyone would have loved another shot of Pikahsso's "celestial brain phunk"--a mind-bending mix of confessional reality and spaced-out wordplay more sung than rapped--his set was enough to prove him one of the most original MCs out there. Straight-up rap was on point at Final Friday, too, and in particular, the "Bioniq MC" Steve Austin put on an impressive verbal display. Though his stage presence usually demands attention, a projector took some focus away, playing a photo slide show of jokes, lyrics and nude women. "Lick" gave the impression he likes to get his dick sucked; a hilarious "Gold Digger" parody that encouraged women to "Give head, girl, go 'head, go down" solidified it. Headkrack then joined Austin in an intense performance of the pair's "It's a Monstah," while Headkrack's solo set was almost as good, with the obvious highlight being the politically charged "Drug Wars." Another highlight was King Ashoka; a bottle-shattering fight between two ladies in the audience was the only thing that distracted me from his set. The a cappella ending to "Give Me Mine" was especially captivating.
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The same couldn't be said for David Chris--his performance was a parody of rap excess, with a single chrome 20-inch wheel propped on a stack of Sean John boxes surrounded by hype men and models tossing out $1 bills and pouring cups of champagne. He should have kept it and given out time instead--by cutting his set length--so that Waters, the Money I was more interested in, could've had a longer set.