Rock The Bells (Concert Review)

Artist: Concert ReviewTitle: Rock The Bells (Concert Review)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana

The “Rock The Bells” Tour featuring headliners Raekwon and Redman reached full stride last night in Times Square. Damn, Hip-Hop is thirty-something now, and it showed its maturity last night at the illustrious B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on 42nd Street. The line-up boasted perennial sluggers Redman, Raekwon, and Supernatural as well as steady contact hitters Smif-N-Wessun and DJ Kool aka Mr. “Let Me Clear My Throat.” You’re thinking, “This line-up represents the Hip-Hop World Series 1996, not 2006.” But, boy, you don’t have to teach these old canines new tricks, because their old tricks are still pretty darn amazing.

The show popped off around 8pm. Smif-N-Wessun opened the concert with a piston of energy and Supernatural immediately came on and ripped it. Armed with an arsenal of freestyle games, he performed a whole impromptu song involving the three audience chosen words “despicable,” “metaphysical,” and “incredible.” He also performed a ditty where he deftly impersonated Slick Rick, Busta Rhyme, and Notorious B.I.G. all in one jam.

One can be both surprised and not so surprised that so many people stuck around for Raekwon’s set. He quickly brought the crowd through a time-capsuled medley of Wu nostalgia. Ten years strong and “C.R.E.A.M.” can still get audience members bruised. However, the Chef had three kids not more than 10 years old on stage in an alcohol serving venue throwing out promotional material into a mob of borderline belligerent Hip-Hop heads…brilliant (maybe not considering the kids stood on stage petrified as the crowd forcefully chanted back “Do that sh*t!” to Raekwon’s command).

B.B. King’s can be intimidating for the average in-da-hood patron with its ballroom like dancefloor and the meal priced appetizers. But all that anxiety gave way when Redman came on stage. All of a sudden that ballroom floor turned into an open coliseum of Hip-Hop fanatics, that menu revealed the “loosening up” beverages on the back flap, and the overhead light beams blended in with anonymous puffs of weed smoke draped in the air.

Shoot, what more could you ask for? A quality venue, four dope sets of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool gluing it together spinning a merry-go-round of Hip-Hop classics, and you-re breathing in boom bap utopia for a reasonable cost. Cover Cost: $31, Bag Check: $2, Some “Loosening Up” Juice: $10, Seeing a few old dogs staying true to their old tricks: Priceless.

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