By Reverend Ox
(BB King’s, NYC 8/21/2009) Funkmaster Flex warmed the crowd up with some serious old school classics. He was showing some serious DJing skills. I felt ashamed that I forgot how to do the “Smurf”. Yes, it was that serious. This installment of Hip Hop Legends was not going to be a game.
Positive K was the opening act for the night. He started off with a few freestyles that had the whole crowd wondering if he still had it, but he got the crowd back behind him in no time. He blessed the crowd with his classics like “Nightshift”, “Excuse Me Miss”, and “I Got a Man”. You know he came out with a female stand-in for the distaff parts of his back and forth songs. Not much performance rust on this man at all.
The high-energy party starter was in the house. Lovebug Starski took it back to Skate Key (on Allerton), The Rooftop in Harlem, and The Fever. Motivating the crowd like it was 1980 with Ted Smooth on the 1 and 2′s, Starski showed the fun side of Hip-Hop. Their set was closed out with an ill version of “Live from the Fever”.
UTFO was definitely one of the disappointments of the night. There was no Doctor Ice, no Educated Rapper, and no Mix Master Ice, just Kangol Kid. He was the only one to show up from the group. Kangol did way too much talking. The best part of the performance was DJ Diamond putting on a clinic. Songs like “Cold Want To Be With Me” and “Roxanne, Roxanne” weren’t the same without the rest of the group.
Good to see Jeru flex those lyric pipes once again, as he does most of his performances overseas. Starting off with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrel” flowing into the “Bitches.” The crowd erupted with a special appearance by Lil’ Dap from Group Home performing “Livin Proof.” Then Afu-Ra stormed the stage to throw down lyrically with Jeru. As you know, Jeru’s set could not be complete without “Come Clean.” When that beat dropped, the crowd was in a frenzy. Great set!
Rakim Allah took the stage like the living legend that he is. From the crowd’s reaction, he was the reason there was a sold out house. After a couple tracks from the new album, he went straight to the hit of Hip-Hop dope the crowd came to hear. Classics like “Microphone Fiend,” “Where You At,” and “Mahogany” left the crowd mesmerized by Rakim’s mastery of the mic. His entire set was like a sing along and provided the energy that was missing all night.
With Cutmaster Cool V on the 1 and 2′s, Biz Markie kept the crowd’s energy off the charts from Rakim’s set. He performed “Pickin’ Boogers,” “Make the Music,” “Just a Friend,” and “The Vapors.” His catalogue is dope, but Biz Markie is great for just having fun on stage. An impromptu session with Grandmaster Caz, Craig G, Richie Rich, and Biz proved that you just never know what Biz will do on stage.
Mr. Cheeks, like Kangol, went solo. No Freaky Tah (R.I.P), Spigg Nice in prison, and Pretty Lou nowhere in site. The crowd backed him up. Just hearing the classics like “Music Makes Me High”, “Renee”, and “Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless” had the crowd with him all the way.
There were certainly some performances that were no longer ready for the big time. That can be troublesome when you have ashow starting at 11:30PM. But when you have a fan base that knows every song word for word, these shows become time machines and they take you back to the days when you really and truly loved this music and it was a part of your life, not just something you listened to. As long as they keep having them, it will probably remain a packed house and a good time. Peace
Follow Us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/planetill
Follow Reverend Ox on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/harlem11f
Join Us on the Planet Ill Facebook Group for more discussion