This week’s TOT comes a little later than expected, partly due to forgetting that it was my turn to write, but mostly to the recovery period required from last night’s gig, Yo! Majesty at Cargo in East London. Yo! Majesty are a lesbian hip hop duo, and if that wasn’t the nichest category since ‘feminist electro-punk bands that have featured Kathleen Hanna’, they’re Christian to boot – though riffling through the lyrics book to the CD I bought last night I can’t see much mention, let alone laudation, of a putative Grand Omniscient in songs such as ‘Leather Jacket’ and ‘Booty Klap’.
The pair hail from Tampa, Florida, and it’s clear that they are accustomed to audiences who express their appreciation of gut-shaking basslines and precision rapid-fire bullshit-blasting verbiage by means requiring considerably more energy than an on-the-spot shuffling of feet and a nod of the head (not too vigorous, less one’s carefully-coiffed ironic fringe should make contact with one’s half-pint of shandy). The atmosphere of a “fucking karaoke” bar was picked up by the pair repeatedly during the gig, not unfairly given the rivulets of sweat pouring down their faces after numerous displays of “rolling” and general freestyle acts of liberated ass-shakery, including the occasional, quasi-political flash of boob (our minds, we were told, were “not in the space for anything more”).
The audience’s unduly underwhelmed reception aside, the band proved themselves fairly devastating as a live act, with songs like ‘Don’t Let Go’ and ‘Booty Klap’ causing a collective front-row hernia, and levels of bass the effects of which can only be described as ‘vomititious’. The band comprehensively fulfilled their Myspace manifesto of “smashing against the sonic perimeter”, my hearing having only just returned to normal after a day of high-pitched screeching in my head (if I listen hard, I think I can still make out the occasional chorus of “rub your monkey” in amongst the chimes of tinnitus). While an unabashedly sexual pair of angry lesbian rappers may (for shame) stay out of reach of the tastes of the mainstream (I dream of the day when a politician admits to a bit of Yo Maj on their iPod), this should be only the beginning phase of Yo! Majesty’s sonic enlightenment, and ought to be a considerable blast to their arch-enemy “captain misogyny” in the process.