Ninjasonik walked in the door, onstage and were in your face the whole set. They rocked the tiny Middle East Upstairs Saturday opening up for local band Bad Rabbits. The indie hip-hop group consists of front men Telli and Jah Jah and DJ Roofeo. Local DJ/rapper Jasmine Solano, who has toured with Ninjasonik before, replaced Roofeo for the show.
Ninjasonik sounds like hipster Brooklyn in the summer (hipster-hop?). Their beats are fun and fast; they sample everything from Bobby Brown to the Death Set. They rap about tight pants, going out and PBR. They started in 2006, Telli explained. “Our old DJ asked me in on a track, but I already knew Jah Jah from skating around.” Jah Jah added, “[Telli] was the ingredient we needed. It was perfect.”
The pair took turns rapping verses, jumping off stage and dancing with the crowd during their breakneck set. They were full energy despite Jah Jah having been hit by a car the day before.
It felt like it was over before it began. They played a reworked version of “Art School Girls” and fan-favorite “Bars,” to which the crowd held up their PBRs. The highlight of the night was the song they closed with, their remix of Matt and Kim’s “Daylight,” an ode to sleeping late after a long night with your friends.
Jah Jah was seated on a trashcan and wincing slightly when I caught up with the pair after the set but it did not stop him from showing excitement about their new album Peter Pan Syndrome which is set to drop in June. Jah Jah explained the title: “It’s defending against being a kid and never growing up, which some people fall in to.” Telli stressed that it’s “a real album,” wanting to get away from the just for fun feel of their last album Art School Girls. Jah Jah said they wanted to represent “The New York we could never see, when nobody judged anybody, when everybody was chill with everybody.”
Ninjasonik’s live set has a party energy that doesn’t quite come across on record, and although they rap about a rebellious lifestyle, they were really nice dudes. They even invited me to skate with them in Brooklyn. I only wish I could skate.