SAN FRANCISCO -- Imagine you're watching the musically inclined sex symbol of your choice in concert and you're thinking about the nastiest things you could do to them if you managed to sneak backstage.
As you watch him or her dance about the stage, you are thinking about acts of carnal pleasure that are illegal in many states, things that got left out of the "Kama Sutra" because they went against the laws of physics, motions that are
only possible when listening to such sexually charged songs as Marvin
Gaye's "Let's Get It On" or D'Angelo's "Brown Sugar."
Pop quiz, hot shot -- What do you do when that same performer turns to you and
asks: "Do you like to [four-letter word]?"
One young lady got the chance to answer that question at the Busta Rhymes
show Tuesday night at San Francisco's Maritime Hall. Her answer -- "yes" -- was followed by an increasing sense of embarrassment as Busta and his sidekick Spliff ripped into "It's All Good," a sexually explicit track that details exactly what Rhymes likes to do between the sheets. The tune was reportedly so raw it was left off his last album, When Disaster Strikes.
Perhaps she had never heard the track before or didn't catch Busta Rhymes' identical performance of the song in December at the San Jose Arena edition of the Puff Daddy & The Family "No Way Out" tour. Either way, it became evident that night, as she began to shrink away from the edge of the stage halfway through the song, that the young woman was not quite ready for what Busta Rhymes had to offer.
The same, however, cannot be said for the majority of the crowd watching with lustful eyes and awed expressions. Judging by the amount of jumping and screaming along with the lyrics, this was an audience that wanted everything Rhymes had to offer and more. Their reaction to such popular hits as When Disaster Strikes' "Dangerous," was just as strong as the reaction awarded to such lesser known tunes as Leaders of the New School's "Case of the PTA" and Rhymes' re-creation of his cameo appearance on A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario."
Rhymes should win some sort of award for his ability to put on a hip-hop show, which clocked in at 45 minutes and never dragged nor felt too short, a true rarity for rap shows.
He and Spliff, backed by DJ Scratchator, both stoked the coals of the audience's excitement by working the stage as any strong performer would, prowling from one end to the other to keep the people up in front happy while keeping the energy strong for the folks at the back of the theater. For the most part, songs such as "It's A Party," "The Body Rock" and "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" (RealAudio excerpt) were performed in their entirety and didn't stray too far from the recorded versions -- which may be troublesome for hip-hop heads who like to hear some freestyling but probably was a "hey-I-recognize-this-song" blessing for Rhymes' expanding mainstream audience.
The crowd never stopped moving near the front of the stage. They also
never stopped pushing.
When a small fight erupted after someone had just been pushed one too many times, Busta stopped the show and took a moment to calm the crowd, who by this time were giving as much energy as they were getting. "When we go to a party, we don't want no bullshit," Rhymes announced. "We don't want no one messing our vibe up! I see a little bullshit about to happen over here," he continued, "[and] I don't want nobody acting up at my party!" Security came over to separate the parties and the audience seemingly took Rhymes' word to heart, as the rest of the concert continued without incident.
At the start of the show, Rhymes and associates were introduced by Styles
and Sheek from the Lox. The Puff Daddy act, familiar to most because of their appearance on Puffy's "It's All About the Benjamins," came on and said a few "yes-yes-y'alls," introduced Rhymes and then quickly retired to the rear of the stage, where they spent the next 45 minutes apparently watching and learning from a distance.
As Rhymes removed his robe and began to rock the party wearing just a pair of green pants, the Lox seemed in awe of his manic lyrical styles and tight beats and the way they moved a crowd to near hysteria.
It was in their faces and that of the audience looking right back at them. [Fri., Feb. 6, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]