Photo Credit, Alex Kluft
Sunday night at the Greek Theatre The first ever Kings Of The Mic tour came to a close to a sold-out crowd. This incredible tour featured 5 legends all one stage for one of the hottest tours of the year!
DJ Chuck Chillout, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, and LL Cool J with Dj Z-Trip took us back to 1987, when Rap and Hip-Hop were in their golden era long before there was a Lil Wayne or Soulja Boy, and when the greatest rappers of all time were in their prime like Run- Dmc, The Beastie Boys, and all the artists on the Kings Of The Mic Tour. Since then Public Enemy and De La Soul continue to tour while Ice Cube and LL Cool J have has successful acting careers in film and TV.
Opening the show was DJ Chuck Chillout, who was one of the first hip-hop artists to make it big. Thirty years ago Chillout began his career as on New York’s 98.7Kissfm as a DJ. Although Chillout had a short set of only ten minutes, he set the vibe for what would be a historic concert.
After Chillout came the dynamic trio De La Soul who have become one of the greatest acts of the hip hop genre since forming in 1987. The crowd was moving around and having a good time, but it was when De La Soul performed “Me Myself And I” that the crowd really started grooving. De La Soul’s set was just thirty minutes, but they made the most of it by keeping the audience going the whole time and having fun up there. They performed “Take It Off,” “The Grind Date,” “Oooh,” “Potholes In My Lawn,” “Peas Porridge Hot,” “Stakes Is High,” “Stakes Is High,” “Buddy,” “A Roller Skating Jam Name Saturdays,” and closed with their biggest hit “Me, Myself, and I.” The show wasn’t even half way through and the crowd was on their feet singing and dancing with all the songs.
Next up was Public Enemy who became the fourth Hip-Hop act ever to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. They received this honor a few months ago. Public Enemy was the only artist to have a live band with them in addition to a DJ. Starting of the show was DJ Lord, the band, two men dressed as U.S. soldiers on each side of the stage, and one of the members of P.E.’s crew announcing them. Then out came Chuck D. followed by Proffesor Griff to kick off their thirty-minute set. After the first song started up out came Flavor Flav running across the stage. Flav said “Remember the big white clock I used to where. In 1989, I said if Public Enemy was ever inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame, I would put it down.” Now Flav wears a much smaller clock around his neck.
There wasn’t a second that P.E. wasn’t running around the stage or jumping around unless it was in between songs. Flav took some big jumps across the stage while Chuck D. swung his microphone like a baseball bat and threw it in the air and caught it. During one song Flav took the bass and showed off his skills doing a solo. At one point Flav took the mic and dedicated the show to the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, and got the crowd hyped with his signature line “Yeaaahhh Boyyy!”, and even jumped into the crowd.
P.E.’s set felt the most like a big party. It was songs like “Bring The Noise,” “Don’t Believe The Hype,” and “Fight The Power,” that really had the crowd going. Last year Public Enemy celebrated their 30th anniversary. Since forming in 1982 P.E. has had 5 Grammy nominations, was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and was ranked at number 44 in Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Now it was time for the West Coast part of the show since Chillout, De La Soul, P.E., and LL Cool J are all from New York. As a video started up to get the crowd ready for Ice Cube, two giant inflatable hands sporting the west coast sign popped up. DJ Crazy Toones had the crowd shouting “Ice Cube Ice Cube.” Out came Ice Cube and the crowd when wild. Ice Cube wanted to know if they’re were any “Old School Hip-Hop” fans in the audience, and indeed there were as most of the crowd were in their 30’s 40’s and grew up with this music. Performing with Ice was rapper WC Ice who dissed Dwight Howard by calling him “Dwight Coward,” and said “Kobe will have another trophy before he can even sniff one, and said “We don’t need no b*tches on our team.” Cube also mentioned his old crew N.W.A. which included Dr. Dre and the late Eazy-E, and that back in 1989 he toured as part of N.W.A. with Public Enemy and LL Cool J as old photos of Ice Cube and N.W.A. appeared on the screens. Nowadays Ice Cube is best known for his lead roles in the movies and TV shows Are We There Yet, and Barbershop, but for people who know old school rap, they know Ice as one of the kings of west coast rap. Although N.W.A. only released two albums, they made a huge impact on the genre. Ice and WC’s 45 minute set included “Natural Born Killaz,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Gangsta Gangsta,” “Bop Gun (One Nation),” and “It Was a Good Day.”
The show was now almost 2.5 hours in with one performer left to go, the man who put the tour together LL Cool J. Following Ice Cube was a ten minute intermission to get the stage ready for Cool J. DJ Z-Trip took the stage and started the final performance of the night with a short set. Z-Trip first played Tupac’s “California Love” then went into a few songs including The Beastie Boy’s “Paul Revere,” and “Intergalactic.” By this point in the show, the audience was as energetic as they were in the beginning and not ready to slow down. After “Intergalactic” “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from Rocky was played for LL Cool J’s entrance. The music stopped and the stage lights went out, then the spotlight came on and out came LL Cool J rising up from the staircase like platform wearing a NY Yankees cap backwards and sunglasses.
Cool J started off with “Mama Said Knock You Out,” as he started walking down the platform. Right from the start Cool J gave it 110%. When Cool J wasn’t moving from left to right of the stage he was on the edge rocking back and forth rapping his lyrics. A common thing between Cool J and Ice Cube was how much they love performing in L.A. It seemed like the majority of the crowd knew every single song. Earlier this year Cool J hosted the Grammy’s for the second year in a row and at the end performed “Whaddup,” along with Chuck D. For the Kings Of The Mic tour, Chuck D. has been coming out with Cool J to perform “Whaddup” after “I’m Bad,” and “Jack The Ripper.” On songs like “Luv U Better, and “I Need Love,” Cool J showed his soft side and even handed out roses to some of the ladies in the audience as well as having thirty of them onstage towards the end. Flavor Flav also came out with Cool J for a song.
A few days before the show there were rumors going on around that Eddie Van Halen who is a guest on Cool J’s new album was going to come out and play. Although Van Halen was not a special guest at the show, but there was indeed a major surprise guest. It was none other than Darryl DMC McDaniels from Run- DMC. Cool J was performing “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” then two minutes in the music stopped and out came DMC unnaounced. Cool J said “How could we do a Kings Of The Mic tour without bringing out The King, it’s not just enough for you to get out onstage. After going back and forth Cool J and DMC performed the Run-DMC classic “Peter Piper” together.
The show was not over just yet. Cool J performed the B.I.G classic “Big Poppa,” before the finale. The final song was “Rock The Bells.” To start it off Cool J said “When this next record drops, I want to see you jumping up and down like maniacs,” and continued with “If you chose to wear 17” heels that’s your problem bend your knees ladies. Fellas if she’s being lazy pick her up and put her on your shoulders. I want everybody in this place jumping up and down like you have never been to a Gd*amn hiphop concert in your entire life.” The crowd did exactly that as Cool J was jumping along. Just thirty seconds into the song out came Flavor Flav followed by Chuck D., De Soul, Dj Chuck Chillout and Ice Cube.
This concert will go down as one of the greatest in the history of rap concerts. Since the tour was so successful, there’s a good chance Cool J will bring it back for next summer!