NEW YORK — Circa the late 1980s, Hurricane Chris — the kid who can be heard lately singing “Hey Bay Bay” — was just a bayyy-bee. And when somebody said, “Superman that ho,” chances are they were referring to the actual Man of Steel thwarting one of the Legion of Doom’s dastardly plots, not the new dance by a rapper named Soulja Boy.
On Friday night at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx, rap’s golden era was back in full effect with a party and concert held in hip-hop’s birthplace. There was a tribute to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, and while the Grandmaster himself wasn’t present, the fab quartet of four MCs (founding member Cowboy passed away in 1989) — Melle Mel, Kidd Creole, Rahiem and Scorpio — didn’t just sit back and let everyone tell them how beloved they are. Nah, the FF actually took the stage and performed.
Melle Mel’s fanny pack gave away his age — after all, who under age 40 that doesn’t play in the NFL wears one of those outside the gym? — but he showed youthful energy with his boys, sliding from side to side on several records and even leading the audience in a three-step (not the same old two-step). The highlight was their performance of “The Message” and bringing out the Sugar Hill Gang for “Rapper’s Delight.”
Big Daddy Kane’s dance steps were undeniably a fan’s delight. Kane, who performed before the Furious Five, had most of his hits handy, but he really tore down the house when his former backup dancer Scoob Lover made a surprise appearance. Scoob’s fancy feet showed he can still spar with movers like Omarion, especially when he did the classic step of holding his right foot in his hand and using his left leg to jump over it. Kane joined in, standing in front of Scoob in the handshake position and both doing a split. “Come get some, you little bum!”
KRS-One came out later, showing that when you have skills, you can rap over anything. He dropped lyrics to “You Must Learn” over classical music, and “The Bridge Is Over” and “Black Cop” especially did it for the people. Marley Marl was KRS-One’s DJ for the night and fellow Queensbridge native/ former KRS foe MC Shan, who stood next to Marley enjoying the Teacha’s set. Shan had opened the night’s festivities.
Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh closed the concert with the tag-team precision of wrestling legends the British Bulldogs. Rick did “Hey Young World,” then Doug joined in for “The Show and “La-Di-Da-Di.” Then the Ruler fell back and let Doug do his own songs like “Freaks” with Lil’ Vicious.
The party continued at a separate event Saturday night at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square, where Roxanne Shante held a 1987-themed party. Dookie-rope chains, flattops with blond streaks and even custom-made Dapper Dan suits could be seen in the crowd.
MC Shan came out once again and performed as did Just-Ice, Kangol from UTFO, Bow-Legged Lou from Full Force, Smooth Da Hustla and his brother Trigga Da Gambla, Lovebug Starski, Mobb Deep’s Havoc and Roxanne herself.
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