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Thursday, February 2, 2012

'Transformers N the Hood'? Great. 'Transformers' in Midtown? Not so great

Daniel Disaster, Heroes x Villains
  • Steve Stratton
  • Daniel Disaster
Black & Mild smoke permeated the air as a guy with a tuft of a mohawk leapt onto the stage and gleefully whipped out a slim stack of crisp bills. The flailing and swaying of two dozen college girls occupied almost every square inch of Opera Nightclub's tiered dance platforms, with up to six at a time holding onto its centerpiece stripper pole.

On Opera's busiest College Wednesdays, at least according to their hired photographers, girls like these can tug that pole to a near 45-degree angle — making this particular night tame in comparison. Still, by midnight, the club's resident DJ had wound up the barely-legal crowd with mostly Top 40 rap and R&B of past and present so that their hips and asses continuously swung like pendulums.

But then at 1:11 a.m., more than 20 guys stood on stage — an unofficial choir for Daniel Disaster of Heroes x Villains, as he cued up a bubble-popping rhythm, then a track off the latest FKi mixtape Transformers N the Hood. They clapped in unison and yelled out every single lyric of "I Think She Ready," a tiptoeing cut kicked off by an initially frazzled Iggy Azalea: "I can't say something funny, I don't know what to say!" The dancers on the platforms stopped moving and started staring.

On Tuesday, Mad Decent announced that Transformers, the latest by FKi, would drop on and the next day — a project that Disaster's hinted at since last June. A few hours later, Disaster then announced its release party on Twitter, which Opera retweeted without any additional word. By 10 p.m., the mixtape had already been viewed over 43,000 times.

One girl stood on a side platform and started to rotate her hips while only wearing her boy shorts panties and a black t-shirt instructing readers to "GET BASS ASS NAKED." Two guys wearing Optimus Prime masks, as seen in the mixtape's music videos, started roaming around the dancers like haunted house actors. Disaster's hype men continued to stand in front of the DJ podium and bounce vigorously, even though Opera's bouncers repeatedly tried to rope them away from the stage's edge. Setting the tempo with Waka Flocka Flame's easygoing "Round of Applause," Disaster cued up Ginuwine's "Ride My Pony" before the bass deflated and whirred into the mixtape's own "Pony," its sample of the 1996 smash hit blended up to near oblivion. Despite all attempts to hype up the apathetic college crowd, girls continued to jump off its tiered platforms whenever Disaster played Transformers cuts.

And so, Disaster reluctantly resorted to resuscitation by any Watch the Throne song necessary. First, "Niggas in Paris," where Kanye West's drawled instructions ("Come and meet me in the bathroom stalllll") inspired people to bounce from their knees. And then, "Can't Stop," with its Cassius sample, felt like the only compromise struck. Two girls, both wearing black shorts, tank tops, and ankle booties, faced each other with both of their hands on the pole. One leaped and wrapped her legs around her friend, who proceeded to hoist her up as they hopped up and down, circling the pole like carousel horses. People gawked as Disaster, fixated on his laptop screen, grimaced.

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