Is there a hip-hop show that can bring rap back from its sometimes comatose state? Enter Snoop Dogg, Method Man, and Redman, three rappers that took the stage at New York City’s NOKIA Theatre and crushed any critic thinking that hip-hop is dead.
A diverse crowd inhabited the Times Square venue on Thursday night for the “Wonderland High School” tour. Their energy lifted when humorous lyricist Devin the Dude grabbed hold of the mic. Fans experienced his comical rhymes as he revealed his prowess with women was along the lines of “wishful thinking.” To top it off, he even blessed a girl with a “birthday song,” which came off more as a booty call than a call to blow out the candles.
The Dude handed over the mic to HOT 97 jock Peter Rosenberg, who introduced tag team Red and Meth. The two spit out every hit imaginable. After “Lyrical .44,” they blasted “Errbody Scream” and “A-YO” from this year’s Blackout! 2. Then the duo brought it back, way back to 1992 with “Time for Sum Aksion,” which was more like time to get loose, as the audience ate every bar like they were being spoon fed. “Cheka” schooled them like a history lesson, as did “Bring the Pain.”
Then it was Red’s turn to hold it down. “I’ll Bee Dat” rotated (sans average-sized women on stage), while “Da Goodness” brought back old memories, but nothing was better than hearing “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By,” and Method Man’s famous line, “Excuse me as I kiss the sky” from “How High.” After a tribute to the late ODB with “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” and Redman giving a shout-out to Verne Troyer (Hold up! I know that ain’t no Mini-Me in the building!”), the rappers bowed out to let the one and only D-O-Double-G take over.
Accompanied by back-up dancers, an electric guitar, and an turntable, Snoop’s energy spread over the room like smoke, with goodies “The Next Episode,” “P.I.M.P.,” and “Gangsta Luv,” a joint off his new album, Malice N Wonderland. “New York, New York” had the crowd high, but it was The Lady of Rage, with her puffy hair in tow, that really awakened the audience. She blasted off “Afro Puffs” spitting, “I rock rough and stuff with my afro puffs.” She elicited the encouraging chant, “Hey, rock on wit cha bad self!”
With Ice-T and Coco stage right, Snoop busted out “Candy (Drippin’ Like Water)” and “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” then paid homage to Tupac with “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” The Doggfather treated the ladies to “Beautiful” and “Been Around the World” before bringing Kurupt on stage to rap. After covering House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” everybody got down to “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” The West Coast rap veteran owned the show with his version of Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” with a call and response of “Hey, hey, hey, Snoop Dogg.”
Photos by Nakeya Brown