Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: Magic 107.3's Legends of Hip-Hop show with Slick Rick, Douge E. Fresh and others

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 2:34 PM

click to enlarge Scottish Rite Temple
  • Scottish Rite Temple

Saturday night's nostalgia-fest at the Scottish Rite Temple was meant to draw out all the "grown 'n' sexy people," which, as it turns out, is a dwindling cohort in KC. Maybe some ran into trouble scoring a babysitter on a Saturday night in order to check out the lineup of Shock G (of Digital Underground), Naughty By Nature, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. A promoter with some group called Dutch Entertainment, which I presume worked with Magic 107.3 to put on the show, informed me Friday that tickets were incredibly limited, but the place was never more than half full, and the venue's red, velvet curtains made it feel very much like the opening of a high school play.

That vibe turned out to be kinda perfect, though. Comedian Jus Jay, the night's host, sprinkled the evening with back-in-the-day memories of homemade Pixy Stix made from Kool-Aid and sugar, of blowing into Nintendo cartridges and rollerskating to Bone Thugs N Harmony at Skateland. When he asked the crowd at a quarter to 9:00 PM, "Are y'all havin' a good time?" the couple behind me in balcony seats groaned. "Hell naw," yelled the female half of the pair, "Ain't nothin' happened yet and we been here since 6:00!"

After an opening set of music from DJ Fresh and a performance by a local rapper whose name was never clear (Reece? East? Reef?), Shock G bounded onto the stage, skinny and energetic as a kid on Ritalin, dressed as his alter ego, Humpty.

click to enlarge Shock G as Humpty -- the one who put the satin on your panties
  • Shock G as Humpty -- the one who put the satin on your panties

Humpty performed "Return of the Crazy One," "Sex Packets," "Same Song," "The Humpty Dance,"  and his verse from "We're All in the Same Gang. Then, he ditched the jacket, Groucho glasses, fake nose and hat and introduced himself as Shock G.

With help from a smooth-jazz guitarist and DJ Fuze, the Digital Underground member reminded us that he was responsible for producing Tupac's first album with a live breakdown of some of the classics from 2Pacalypse Now. Shock G took to his keyboard to play the instrumental to"So Many Tears" and performed his verse from "I Get Around" (a song I affectionately refer to as "In Defense of Date Rape" for the verse: It's a lot of G's doin' time/ 'cause a groupie bit the truth and told a lie) and closed out with "Freaks of the Industry." (There's a song with the same name by Big Scoob, which reminds me that Shock G shouted out Tech N9ne, and said, "Who wants to see Tech N9ne tonight?....Well, he ain't here.")

After an extended (and boring) dance contest hosted by Jus Jay, Naughty By Nature's Treach, Vin Roc and DJ Kay Gee hit the stage looking like they just stepped out of an MTV video from 1991. The Jackson 5's "ABC" melded seamlessly into "O.P.P." In keeping with the old-school theme, DJ Kay Gee played a mix of songs by DMX, Next, Zhane and Snoop Dogg.

They played a couple songs from their new album before Treach poured shots from a bottle of Hennessy into the crowd's extended cups. "I'll share my Corona too," Vin Roc said, spilling from his bottle. "Drink, y'all," they instructed. Treach stripped his white wifebeater off like it was made of Kleenex and poured out a shot of Henny on his arm for Tupac. "Tupac lives!" they declared. "We just won't tell you where."

As a finale, they invited the crowd onstage to dance with them to "Hip Hop Hooray," and begged to know an address to the after-party. "We'll go to somebody's house," Treach said, an indication that it's been awhile since Naughty By Nature partied like it's 1991.

Naught By Nature in KC Sept 09 from Sikestyle on Vimeo.

After a two-step contest (zzzzz), Jus Jay introduced Rick da Rula. The security guards posted at each door were too busy snapping camera phone pictures to notice as those of us still in the balcony crept to the ground level for a closer view. Slick Rick dripped with his trademark chains -- "a quarter of a million" worth, he claimed -- and ever-present eyepatch. He performed classics like "Mona Lisa" before attempting to give a shout-out to the new school, ordering the DJ to throw on tracks by relatively youthful Jim Jones, Shawty Lo, Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, but the crowd booed it down. "Are you all being difficult in this bitch?" Slick Rick smirked. "If you got soul, you recognize soul."
click to enlarge Slick Rick
  • Slick Rick

Slick Rick seemed a little deflated by the rejection of his favorite new songs, so he performed a few more obligatory tracks before advising, "Never give up your swagger, kid. What, you crazy?" and taking his leave.

A loooong wait preceded Doug E. Fresh's entrance, which the original Get Fresh Crew seemed to acknowledge by playing Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." At ten til midnight, Doug E. Fresh slid onstage in sunglasses, a grey suit and a blue tie, like a marriage of gangsta and F.B.I. agent, with "Keep Rising to the Top."

Again with the old-school medley. Doug E. ordered his DJs to run through songs like, "Brick House" and "Flashlight," and the TV theme songs from Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons and Cheers. He invited Slick Rick back on for "Lodi Dodi," performed his famed beat-boxing (it made my lips itch!) and finished out with "Let Me Clear My Throat."

click to enlarge Doug E. Fresh
  • Doug E. Fresh
"Don't get discouraged," he told the crowd on his way out. "Hip-hop is in Kansas City." As I left, I could still hear Doug E. Fresh and Naughty By Nature asking, "Where's the after-party at?" In the parking lot, I ran into Shock G, who posed for a picture while admitting that Naughty By Nature had smoked him out. A friend who'd somehow made it into the dressing room session told me later that he listened as Shock G and Naughty By Nature traded insane stories about partying with Tupac on the road.

I hope they all found the afterparty they were looking for...  
Set List:
Shock G:
Return of the Crazy One
Sex Packets
Same Song
The Humpty Dance
We're All in the Same Gang
Kiss You Back
Brooklyn Zoo
So Many Tears

I Get Around

Ghetto Jam (by Domino)

Freaks of the Industry

Naughty By Nature:
Uptown Anthem
Dirt All By My Lonely
It's On
I Gotta Lotta
Everything's Gonna Be Alright
Get to Know Me Better
Feel Me Flow
Hip Hop Hooray

Slick Rick:
??? (I completely missed his first verse)
Street Talking
Mona Lisa
The Art of Storytelling Pt. 1 verse
Hey Young World
Children's Story

Doug E. Fresh
Keep Rising to the Top
Lodi Dodi (with Slick Rick)
Let Me Clear My Throat

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