The Legends of Hip-Hop Tour

Salt-N-Pepa: 25 Years in and Still Fly
I think in 1979 or 80 I first heard Punk Rock Rap by the Cold Crush Brothers. I’ve written about this before, but I have to restate it, kind of like the movie Brown Sugar, I knew I was Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop was me. At that moment everything kind of shifted. When we were kids we would stand on the porch and perform songs for the neighborhood and people would stop by and listen. My sister would be the lead singer, I’d play the piano, which were actually the bricks outside of the window and Lil Willie and his brother T would play the tennis rackets, I mean guitars. We would play songs like Call Me and random songs from Parliament Funkadelic, but then came Punk Rock Rap and Rapper’s Delight and all of a sudden the guys got to be the lead.  Things changed. In the early 80s we moved out of the projects, into better…projects and I met guys that would go on to become best friends. Unfortunately we still didn’t have much, but we had milk crates and music. Which basically means that we had basketball and Hip-Hop. But in the early 80s Grandmaster Flash and The Message was preaching and I wasn’t quite getting the moral, but I did get a transmission from NYC that told me to grab some cardboard and try to do something called break dancing. I became our crews Mr. Wave, I was serious with the moves and respected. Beat Street became our movement and Hip-Hop was officially a part of everything we did. At this time I first heard a song called The Show and for the next 8 years one of my favorite emcees was Doug E Fresh, the human beat box.

Last night in Southaven, Mississippi, I got to experience a slice of my childhood again. I got to listen to music from the golden age of Hip-Hop. I mean, I love today’s music and if you asked me to name my favorite emcees, Lupe, Mos Def and Nas sit right there at the top beside Rakim, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane. But as a child and teenager certain groups dominated my speakerbox. Whodini was one, UTFO was another, emcees like Kool Moe Dee and the Treacherous 3, were in the rotation. Biz Markie and the first ladies of Hip-Hop, Salt N Pepa could get play just as fast as EPMD. I had the hightop fade with the NY symbol in the back and crazy Adidas suits and sneakers. Everything I did was almost a copy of what I was able to see visiting friends’ homes who had cable and BET where I could watch rap videos.
Kool Moe Dee rocked the house
I say all of this to add that I woke up this morning sore and hoarse. I spent most of today, replaying in my head the concert. Salt N Pepa’s Legends of Hip Hop stop gave me the chance to see the stars that provided the soundtrack of my youth. In one night, I got to stand 2 rows from the stage and rap with Biz Markie (since it seemed that I was the only one in the arena that knew all of the songs Biz performed, not just Just A Friend and Vapors). I got to stand 2 rows back and rock with Kool Moe Dee when he killed Wild Wild West. I still knew all of the dance moves from the video. My wife was looking at me like, “I don’t know this dude.” I stood from the beginning to the end of Doug E Fresh’s set which included probably the most mind blowing beat box performance in history. Doug E hit a two minute virtuoso performance of breath control only to top it off by hitting the new Dougie. I even got to show my real knowledge of Hip-Hop to my wife by telling her before Ecstasy of Whodini announced to everyone, “Yo, that’s Dr. Ice of UTFO dancing and rapping Jalil’s parts!”
Today’s rappers could learn a lot from Doug E
So I’m yelling and screaming the whole time. Doing the wop, and the Biz Mark and my version of the Dougie, while realizing that these dudes have been performing for over 20 years! Salt N Pepa topped off the night with a recap of their hits and the whole time they are performing they have these smiles on their faces that are ridiculously infectious. I mean they didn’t scowl or shout or speak in mumbled angry phrases about bitches and hoes or being mothereffing monsters and I’m thinking I just put in 3 hours of jumping to Hip-Hop and there wasn’t one disrespectful, misogynistc, ignorant lyric the whole night. Okay maybe there were a couple of curse words, but you get the picture.
The faces were a little different, except Doug E Fresh. The bodies were a little more stout, for lack of a better word, the facial hair was gray, but Grandmaster Dee still was just as incredible as he was in the 80s on the ones and twos. Things have changed, but by the end of the night, every performance was like reliving a dream for a kid who never had enough money to see the concerts. In the words of Luther Vandross, if only for one night everything was right about Hip-Hop and I remembered why this music is important. I relearned what it meant to be born at the right time and to be represented by an artform that could make you dance and understand that really all you need is One Love and Friends. Enough of that, peep more of the pics.
I think I was the only one rappin Pickin Boogers
Grandmaster Dee still captivating on the wheels of steel

Whodini (Ecstasy center) featuring Dr. Ice of UTFO (right)