Theophilus London goes beyond fashion at the Rickshaw Stop

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Through the haze: TL takes the stage.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY PAULA CONNELLY

Let's talk about what Theophilus London was wearing last night at his concert at Rickshaw Stop and get it out of the way.

It was: a disco ball of a black tank top, black leather jacket, the “LVRS” hat he sports in many of his  model-filled music videos, non-denominational levels of chains (he is all about these, he told GQ, “from Cuban links to herringbone”) around his neck and wrist, and some real nice white pants. He looked good.

But you already knew that. Charges have been leveled against London that most of the 24-year old Brooklyn-to-Poconos Trindidadian emcee's serious press has come from fashion magazines. Certainly one must raise an eyebrow when a Vogue profile assures that he has musical chops and to just look at his collaborators: “Mark Ronson, Sara Quin (one-half of the Canadian indie twins Tegan and Sara) and Solange Knowles.”

 

The crowd at Rickshaw wasn't worrying about the merits of his hip-hop-via-Michael-Jackson tunes though – they were too busy dancing. 

Because say what you like about London's artistic merit, the relatively unvarying pace of his flow, any lingering questions about his “credibility” as a rapper (is there a more tired refrain in music?), his songs are more than serviceable as pop tunes. Well-constructed personas, like the cowboy-shirt-wearing, dookie-chained, perma-sunglassed one he's got make for great eye candy and the twenty-something (and under, this was a Pop Scene show after all) crowd wasn't taking his eyes off him.

One imagines that the next time London makes it to the Bay (he seemed stoked on us, by the way) his show won't be $13 anymore.