Friday, June 27, 2008

Paid Dues Independent Hip-Hop Festival-June 4th 2008

Blackalicious, Gza, KRS-One, and Rakim were officially crossed off my list of hip-hop artists I want see live before I die last Wednesday night at the Paid Dues Independent Hip-Hop Festival. With the legendary lineup of Rakim, GZA, Blackalicious, Murs & 9th Wonder, Buckshot (Boot Camp Clik), Supernatural and Scratch, Kidz in the Hall and Yak Ballz, it’s no surprise they sold out the Nokia Times Square Theater, and rocked it hard.

The Kidz in the Hall started the night off and got the crowd warmed up. Then Scratch came out with a loop machine and showcased his human beatbox skills. Supernatural joined him onstage, the crowd got into it, and the concert officially began. Buckshot followed and the packed house started going wild. Smith and Wesson came out with him and kicked things up a notch, but then, the dj dropped “The Bridge is Over” and the teacher himself, KRS-One, walked out on stage and started rapping. The place went totally nuts.

Murs, the festival organizer, came after and did a set with 9th Wonder which was followed by an awesome set by Blackalicious. Gift of Gab showcased his skills as a killer mc, freestyling a mile-a-minute and energizing the crowd.

Gza followed Blackalicious and absolutely killed it. The crowd was getting tired at that point, since the set breaks were about half-an-hour between acts, so Gza immediately demanded energy from the crowd, which he received. The highlight of his set was a four-minute long freestyle about Ol’ Dirty Bastard before the dj dropped “I Like It Raw”.

Kid Capri came out to start Rakim’s set which closed out the show. Rakim played all the classics from Paid in Full and Follow the Leader. The crowd sang all his lyrics word-for-word turning the show into more of a sing-a-long than a concert. There was a special moment during his set when he told the crowd he had a death in his family only a couple days prior. He had the theater turn all the lights off and the crowd hold up all their lighters and cell phones for a moment of silence dedicated to everyone’s lost loved ones. Kid Kapri broke the silence perfectly when he dropped “Check Out My Melody.”

Without question, it was the best hip-hop show to which I’ve ever been. All I could think of was how amazing it would be to see a freestyle battle between, Supernatural, KRS-One, Gift of Gab, Gza, and Rakim with Scratch beatboxing. Maybe next year.

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