ESOTERIC REVIEWS THE HIP-HOP GOD’S TOUR
Esoteric wrote this dope review of last night’s Hip-Hop God’s Tour in Boston, and agreed to share it with this shitty blog.
That’s right, while us dick-blowin industry pansies were sipping $20 spritzers at the Boston Music Awards, Eso was doing the right thing… in the company of Gawds.
Here is his review from www.esoterichiphop.com.
Maybe the Mayans were right, perhaps the world IS ending this month. If that’s the case, I consider this Hip-Hop Gods Tour as “God” himself delivering the perfect parting gift to the hip-hop community. We, as hip-hop fans, got much more than we deserved last night in Boston. Public Enemy. Awesome Dre. Schoolly D. X-Clan.
For me, seeing this line-up live was something like seeing the Avengers movie earlier in the year. As a kid you grew up hoping it would happen, then you let cynicism get the better of you until one day BAM! There it is, bass in your face (not an 8 track). I rolled to the show with a bunch of my boys, super unfashionably early, so as not to miss an act. I people-watched for awhile and marveled at this wide array of fans were in attendance- 50 year old rock dudes who easily could be Anthrax roadies, chicks with blue hair, chicks who dressed for a Drake show, Rick Rubin impersonators, the F.O.I. (Fruit of Islam), and more were in the building. Time slowly ticked as we anticipated who’d set the show off. One of the first faces we saw belonged to Chuck D.
Wait, that’s Chuck D, the leader of PE, the face of the tour, he’s supposed to be backstage hiding until the wee hours of the morning right? Nope. Imagine being in the theater watching the Avengers, and two minutes into the entire production, Robert Downey, Jr, comes out and starts shaking hands and telling you what you’re about to witness over the next few hours. This is what Chuck D, arguably the most influential and significant voice hip-hop has ever had, did last night. He appeared on stage early, when the crowd was still hiding by the bar. This wasn’t Rory Sparrow poking his head out of the curtain before showtime, this was Michael Jordan coming out, telling the crowd he’s about to rain a few jumpers over Craig Ehlo. He interviewed the artists on stage after each set. He brought out Keith F’in Shocklee. There were moments where icons such as Schoolly D, Code Money, and Chuck D were on stage together, making small talk and laughing about Schoolly D’s bizarre and explicit stage show.
Schoolly performed “Saturday Night,” “Smoke Some Kill” and “P.S.K.”…and frankly, with him striding across the stage, mic in hand, playfully (?) forcing women to grope him, the 909 never sounded better. Detroit’s Awesome Dre performed “Murder One” and “You Can’t Hold Me Back,” both of which had me going berserk. I’ve documented just how influential Dre’s debut album was to me, and to see him LIVE after 20+ years was something I never thought would happen.
Yes, I was a grown man jumping up and down, shamelessly reciting the words line for line. At the end of his set, he took time to shout out “Boston hip-hop legend Edo G” and followed it up with “and my man Esoteric, where’s Esoteric at?” Gulp. I never saw that coming, and there I was, standing front row at his feet. It was awkward for me, but I had no choice but to identify myself as the super-fan in the front row. My wife always says I constantly find myself in random Ben Stiller-esque scenarios and that was no different. Later in the night, I’d reclaimed my front row position, with Awesome Dre, to watch Public Enemy slam through the chaotic “Welcome to the Terrordome” and “Can’t Truss It.”
Spazzing out to PE, standing (sometimes jumping) next to Awesome Dre, was surreal. Surreal might be a cheap word to describe it, but my ears are still ringing and I’m taking the easy route. The S1W’s were in full uniform, marching, moving, and terrifying the first five rows as though this were 1988. Was Flavor Flav there? Yes. Was he unpredictable? Yes. Do I think the S1W’s had to keep an eye on him just as much as they did the crowd? Perhaps. Chuck’s voice is still as thunderous as ever. His Pirates hat still casts that iconic shadow over his face. He still throws the mic to himself and swings it like Roberto Clemente. Professor Griff was in total effect and delivered his lines off “Night of the Living Baseheads” flawlessly. He might be drinking whatever Richard from “Lost” was, because he hasn’t aged a day. Speaking of eternal youth, earlier in the night, Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers hit the stage and performed “Rock Dis Funky Joint” and a Shakiyla-load of new material that was lyrically some of the most thought-provoking bars of the night.
It was impossible to catch every jewel he tossed at the crowd, but one thing I know: if he debuted today, under an alias, he would destroy 95% of the “politically concious,” “battle rap,” and “gangsta” rappers out. That is not a theory or an opinion, that is universal truth, much like the fact “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back” is the greatest rap album ever. One memorably ironic moment for me last night was harmonizing with Uno the Prophet as Brother J delivered his famous “how can polar bears swing on vines with the gorillas?” line during the X-Clan set.
Uno had suggested recording a “Touchy Subject 2? to me (we were building on it as the song was blasting) as Brother J deservedly caught our attention with that once-controversial lyric.
I’m proud of fellow Boston emcee Akrobatik who, when called upon by Chuck D for an a capella, delivered with ice in his veins. What a moment for Ak.
If Chuck D was the MVP of this smoothly run show, then DJ Johnny Juice had to be runner up and maybe even have grounds to demand a recount. He put in work on the turntables and on the mic, for multiple acts, and he knew everybody’s material cold. That man deserves his props. I was wondering how Son of Bazerk would go over with the youth and the casual fans, but they put on a well rehearsed routine that murdered it. Monie Love brought out Edo G. Dinco D fearlessly held it down for his missing partners Charlie Brown, Milo, and that guy Busta-something.
Guru was honored (RIP), Professor X was honored (RIP), and the peace was kept all night. Shouts to Karma, Jared, Beyonder, Mr. Jason, Dan Ladd, Mike, Tim, Tommy 2-Step, Leedz, and all the people I had the pleasure of taking in this show with. What an unforgettable experience. So, if the Mayans were right, and the world is ending…what a way to go out for a hip-hop fan.