Madlib and Mos Def at 1015 Folsom, by Joshua Huver
Madlib Medicine Show (photo: Joshua Huver)

Thursday night Noise Pop 2018 was capped by a late-night Madlib Medicine Show at 1015 Folsom, the first Bay Area show for the legendary namesake producer in over two years.

Madlib, one of the most ubiquitous stage names in hip-hop and Otis Jackson Jr’s most recognizable handle, was full of surprises. Special guests included the second recent sighting of Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def) and a special surprise showing from Dave Chappelle.

Last week, Bey made his first on-stage guest appearance at another of Madlib’s DJ sets in Denver. There, the duo formally announced that Madlib would be producing the second Black Star album. Black Star is one of the most revered collaborations in hip-hop, between Brooklyn natives Bey and Talib Kweli. The duo released one album, 20 years ago this August.

“It’s a big moment for me, it’s a big moment for you. I’m so excited, I don’t know how to feel,” Bey told the audience. “I fuck with the Bay Area!”

Madlib and Mos Def at 1015 Folsom, by Joshua Huver

30 minutes into Madlib’s DJ set, Bey emerged from the side of the stage. He danced, shook hands with fans, freestyle rhymed, and even debuted the first verse of the new Black Star. Bey was instrumental in raising the hype level of the audience — meanwhile, Madlib kept the groovy beats and bass pumping.

Visually, images of Black Panther marches and police resistance clips played superimposed over live video feeds from the stage. Video clips of old blaxploitation films and dated government messaging provided depth and layer from the ground up, supported by Madlib’s beat. At one point, Chappelle referred to him as the world’s most talented jukebox.

After Bey was sufficiently warmed up, Chappelle wandered onstage following a late-night comedy show nearby. He implored the audience to leave their phones down and to “create a memory.” He spoke at length about Prince, and led the audience in a rendition of “1999.”

“This is the beginning of a new day. This is the kindest conspiracy,” he told the audience. “It don’t matter what anybody says. All we gotta do is commit to being kind to one another.”

Madlib and Mos Def at 1015 Folsom, by Joshua Huver

Bey and Chappelle took turns waxing poetic on the microphone, telling jokes and stories. Madlib even dropped some fresh Quasimoto material. But the overarching theme was clear: we are lucky, we are incredible, and we all deserve to love ourselves and spread the good vibrations.

The party went late, ending around 2:30 in the morning and with a stage dive from Chappelle. If anyone can take anything home from this experience, it was summed up in that moment: Trust each other and dive in.