Friday Night: Legends Of Rap At Verizon Wireless Theater
For more photos from Friday, see our slideshow here.
Friday night at Verizon Theater was a celebration of hip-hop legends, the types that would pick a fight with anyone who had the nerve to interchange "rap" with "hip-hop." Grandmaster Flash is hip-hop, they'll protest. Plies is rap.
The heavyweights on Friday night's bill - Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, MC Lyte, Rakim - are important enough to make every hip-hop head's all-time Top 10 list. In other words, they've earned the right to be cocky. This event was also a celebration of hip-hop in its purest form - MCing, DJing, and plenty of dancing. Yes, dancing has been a major part of hip-hop since its inception.
Kane kicked off the evening's proceedings with choice cuts from his catalog. Midway into his set, he invited Bun onstage to show the hometown crowd some love. Bun did "Big Pimpin'" and dipped. Kane would later bust some moves, nearly busting his incredibly tight pants in the process.
Big Daddy Kane
The best was yet to come. When Kane finally lunged into his smash song "Ain't No Half-Steppin'" the ol' skool heads in the building nearly touched the roof.
By now, we noticed that the bald-headed guy handling hosting duties is none other than Willie D. Shouldn't he be somewhere trying on a size 36 orange jumpsuit right now?
A certified ol' skool head, Willie D announced that he liked the dancing part of Kane's performance. He then performed his bit from Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks On Me." When Bushwick Bill's verse came on, Willie D knelt on the stage in an attempt to mimic the four-foot rapper's height. The crowd exploded in laughter.
Turns out Willie D is quite the comedian. That skill might come in handy in the big house.
In between performances, DJ Kaos entertained the crowd with golden-era hip-hop songs by the likes of N.W.A., UGK and others. While Kaos did his best to engage the audience, the horribly muffled speakers at Verizon made it impossible to get into the songs. The place felt dull and lifeless at some point, even with Willie D yapping away.
Around 9:30 p.m., Whodini took the stage to provide a 15-minute reprieve from all the talking and dancing. They started out with "I'm A Ho." Something about fortysomethings singing "I'm a ho, I'm a ho" seemed awkward for some reason. This point wasn't lost on the revered rap crew.
They later explained: "That record got us a lot of hoes. But we're not hoes anymore. It's a different day and time - we're not hoes, we're pimps." Oh.