New York’s own Crooklyn Clan held it down at Santos last night for what turned out to be an intimate affair. DJ Riz and Sizzahands–party DJs known for their old-school style of mixing hip-hop, party breaks, and dance music of all stripes–are easily among the most revered mash-up DJs out there. (They produced Fatman Scoop’s “Be Faithful”, one of the most famous party tracks in the world.) Riz’s career started as a college-radio DJ on Hofstra’s “5” Hip Hop” and Adelphi’s “The Hip Hop Spot” (the same ones that broke Ed Lover, Dr. Dre, and Public Enemy) eventually becoming an original member of Funkmaster Flex’s Flip Squad. Crooklyn Clan was born in 1994 when Sizzahands joined Riz; together, the two teased out the crossover between hip-hop heads and mainstream crowds. Their second EP, Coffee Breakz (with the hit “Is New York in the House”, the one the Knicks use) was a huge success. Oddly billed right after a Wavves show on the same stage, the duo was scheduled to perform a 4-turntable set featuring “surprise guests.”
The event opened to an audience of twenty or so in a room with a capacity of 500. Undaunted, Sizzahands went through a quick mix of Kid Cudi’s “Day N Night,” Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me,” and Kenny Dope & The Bucketheads “The Bomb,” followed by an instrumental of DJ Class’ “Tear the Club Up”. Meanwhile a group of girls arrived decked in shiny dresses and stilettos:
“It’s probably empty because this club is new.”
“At least the music is okay.”
“Let’s all go to the bathroom.”
By 2 a.m. the audience had swelled to a scant 30 people. The girls in shiny dresses formed a dance circle in front of the stage. Riz, nevertheless, was going strong–“Thriller” into some weirdo dubstep into Akon’s “Right Now.” Crooklyn Clan devotees huddled by the stage, confused as to what exactly was going on. (“So these guys sell out clubs in Vegas and played the Superbowl and shit…”) It’s fair to say that most of the attendees had wandered in on the event, and those that hadn’t were genuinely embarrassed that these celebrated DJs were performing to a vastly indifferent audience.
We left a half-hour later, partially because it didn’t seem things were going to get better. There was no “surprise DJ” appearance, and a LaboutinLouboutin -wearing lady had begun dancing awkwardly up on the stage. Crooklyn Clan were kings of the ’90s, but beyond your run-of-the-mill event listings and a post from the venue, there was hardly a peep about the DJ’s scheduled performance in the weeks that preceded it–a surprise, as many fans would have jumped at the opportunity to see the duo at a laidback downtown venue. Where once word-of-mouth was essential to a successful event, internet flyers, blog buzz, and Facebook invites reign supreme. CC’s performance was decent, but the event – barely promoted, even more scarcely attended–turned out to be a time capsule in more ways than one.