ROCK / Pussy posse come over all catty: Super Cat - Equinox Club, London

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The Independent Culture
SUPER CAT is the latest big noise in ragga, a genre which relies on outlaw morals as much as any musical quality for its appeal. There is little, for instance, on Super Cat's new album, Don Dada, which justifies his burgeoning reputation quite as much as his shooting (albeit, of course, in self- defence) of fellow ragga rapper Nitty Gritty. The possibility of his scoring a crossover success is as remote for him as it is for Shabba Ranks - the closest ragga gets to an international star - but judging by the queues snaking out into Leicester Square, he exerts a powerful attraction for the black community.

Strangely, given the reputation, there's less of a 'White Man In Hammersmith Palais' vibe here tonight than I remember from Seventies exploits as a long-hair intruder into reggae clubs, despite mine being one of only about a dozen white male faces present - a generation of integration, however piecemeal, has clearly had its effect. Some things, though, never change: around the back of the balcony, lone youths dart eyes around them as they whip together surreptitious spliffs, before heading back to the dance-floor.

Fashion-wise, every style seems to be represented, from the Ice Cube hardcore look - baseball cap accompanied by scowl - to the sharpest of suits. All the sportswear brands are well represented, as are distant affiliations to most American sports teams, but the coolest, most self-satisfied air belongs to those lucky few wearing flash 8-ball jackets. The girls, meanwhile, are virtually without exception clad in uniform Lycra. Perhaps they're cycling home.

Rather than a gig as such, this is a disco with a PA (personal appearance) by the headline star. So, for the first few hours, there's nothing to do but drink and dance, or check out the dance- floor action. The music is not exclusively ragga - Kris Kross's 'Jump' gets the biggest reaction by a long chalk - but the dipping ragga sway-step dominates the mass movement, which from above looked like an ocean gently surging and subsiding with each beat.

An hour in, a Chippendale- style dance troupe - half a dozen muscle-bound guys in hard hats, like the Village People - takes the small raised stage. Throwing shapes and striking iron-pumper poses, they do a few formation steps before tearing off their T- shirts, after which it is impossible to see what they are doing beyond the crush of girls crowding round the stage, save for a few bobbing hard hats moving back and forth as if connected by invisible wires.

Then it's back to the floor for a further hour before Super Cat shows up at around 1.25am, resplendent in a dapper white superfly suit - though 'shows' is perhaps stretching a point for a PA performed behind six huge security guards who literally obscured the star.

He toasts along to two or three songs, one of them the ubiquitous 'Jump', but seems peeved at the audience reaction to the mere mention of Kris Kross. 'Kris Kross no in the house tonight,' he says. 'Super Cat in the house tonight]'

A few minutes later he leaves, perhaps disgruntled. By my watch, he's been on stage for all of eight minutes, and disenchantment seems fairly widespread among the assembled multitude. The next time the MC asks for London to make some noise, the response is less than enthusiastic, which is unfair on the rap duo who follow - their gruff-voiced toasts, like a perpetual argument, are rather more entertaining than the headliner, despite their lack of security guards. They last a little longer than Super Cat, whose limo passed me shortly after I climbed into my car in Wardour Street. At least he seemed pretty satisfied with his night's work.

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