Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Aubrey Edwards

Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

Wave Rooftop, Thursday, March 13

You dream of showcases like this: brilliant, new, British. Too smart for America just yet but bang-on lyrically, deft and daft with the beats, and verging on the cusp of redefining hip-hop as we know it. Anyone who can reference Stephen Fry and Danny Glover in the same song deserves a cabinet post. (And they can spell "Guantanamo" without wincing.) American hip-hop has bottomed out on bling, buckshot, and Bun B's heavyset shadow: too much syrup, not enough cough. MC Scroobius Pip and ProTools superwiz Sac, whose backing tracks appear to be handwoven from the freshest front-page outrage, are the hyperliterate sound of post-9/11 sanity. Composing a "Letter From God to Man" – "It was you that invented terms like 'just war' and 'friendly fire'; it was you who didn't know when to stop digging deeper or building higher" – they pulled off the impossible in under an hour: making Yanks drink, blink, and, with their perfect, sorrowful single "Thou Shalt Always Kill," think. You couldn't ask for more without breaking the Geneva Conventions.

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