By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
I was able to catch rapper Supernatural for the second time when he opened up for Ghostface Killah at the Bren some months ago: after rushing through a fairly enjoyable mixture of all the hits (don't fuck wit C.R.E.A.M.ed Killa Beez and such) with his towel-toting entourage, Ghostface was too tired or something and beckoned Supernat (who has opened for the Wu in the past) onto the stage, where Supernat launched into a freestyle that both paid homage to and pretty much embarrassingly overshadowed Ghostface himself.
I mean, he didn't mean to do it. But he did.
Known more for his freestyling skills than anything else, Supernat's been on the scene for more than 15 years now. After a series of emcee battles with legends such as Juice and Craig G. that have reached near mythical status, he released two full-length albums—2003's The Lost Freestyle Files and 2005's S.P.I.T.—that not enough people really care about. Not that they're bad or anything—it's nothing like that at all.
His albums aren't really that important—it's his live show that has pitched him to his well-respected status in the rap world today. The Lost Freestyle Filesactually is made up of half studio tracks and half freestyled tracks (one of which goes into the 20 minute range) that—wouldn't you know it—outshine the studio tracks. He can pretty much rap about anything and everything—and for a long time. Andin varying styles and deliveries. Which explains that he currently holds the Guinness World Record for longest freestyle—clocking in at eight hours and 45 minutes at this past summer's Rock the Bells festival in San Bernardino. (Though the Internet is now reporting that a British rapper named Ruffstylz is claiming to hold the "world record" at 10 hours and 45 minutes.)
For all eight hours and 45 minutes, Supernat kept it lively, constantly refreshing his performance by having audience members write topics on a blackboard or by rapping about people who were walking in and out of the performance area, and he was also even sporadically joined by other rappers onstage, such as Mos Def, Key Kool of the Visionaries or Posdnous of De La Soul.
Supernat's audience-interactive performances are what people talk about—and then they tell their friends. With crowd pleasers such as "Three Emcees," where he emulates the distinct vocals of Notorious B.I.G. and Slick Rick, or making his way through thick hordes of people holding up random objects for him to freestyle about (I've personally seen everything from bags of weed to LL Cool J posters), it's really Supernat's deft skills and quick-witted wordplay that's enabled him to stick around for all these years.
SUPERNATURAL PERFORMS WITH REDMAN, RAEKWON, SMIF N WESSUN AND DJ KOOL AS PART OF THE ROCK THE BELLS TOUR AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES, 1530 S. DISNEYLAND DR., ANAHEIM, (714) 778-BLUE; WWW.HOB.COM/ANAHEIM. FRI., 8 PM. $31.50-$35.50.