While other rap performers are striving to expand the form by mixing a message with the meter, rap pioneer Kurtis Blow seems to have run out of things to say.
Blow's brief Friday show at the 9:30 club was a half-hearted affair that showed the 22-year-old "King of Rap" at his laziest and most uninspired, speeding through snippets of his big rap hits. In an effort to break his career out of rap's restraints, Blow crooned the banal ballad "Daydreaming," but failed to excite the audience.
When he turned off the automatic pilot and played with his patter, Blow was a one-man percussion pit, his hyperanimated voice stuttering and splitting syllables over the irresistible dance beat. But his words were scripted, not spontaneous, and even with an unbridled crowd ready to jump at his every word, Blow seemed bored by the repetition.
New York disc jockey Davey D., who provided the pulse for Blow, mesmerized with his mastery of his unconventional "instrument." He manipulated the wheels of steel like an orchestra of one, jumping the beat between turntables with split-second timing, and coaxing new rhythms from old records by "scratching," moving the record forward and back to the beat.