On a concert bill that includes LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, and De La Soul, the significance of the Kings Of The Mic Tour could easily be discussed at great lengths for a long while.
Need proof? The title of this article simply poses one question, but the body of it gets three strong answers to it from three individuals who are actually on the stage in front of thousands of fans at every stop of the tour.
AllHipHop.com spoke to DJ Z-Trip (LL Cool J’s DJ), WC (West Coast rapper and Ice Cube’s hype man), and Crazy Toones (Ice Cube’s DJ). And after reading their arguments for importance, it will be easy to understand why the rappers on this tour that have been rapping for decades not only continue to be relevant, but are still deserving of royal status just like the concert title says.
DJ Z-Trip: It’s [important on] many levels. Right now, I think the state of Hip-Hop musically is...we’re in a very weird place. I mean we’re pushing boundaries on certain levels, but I think content-wise, I think what people are rapping about, there’s not a lot of relevance. It’s become a bit too much like people talking about how many chicks they’re f***ing, people talking about how many riches they got, how many people they killed, what ever the f***. I mean rap has been doing that s**t for years anyway, but on this kind of tour you’re dealing with people who actually put words together. They craft their words together. I don’t think there’s a lot of crafting going on with a lot of rappers. There still are plenty out there, but, by and large, I think what’s coming through to the average Hip-Hop listener is not really super intelligent. And so a tour like this rallying behind LL, PE, De La, [and] Cube is allowing people to see that there’s still people out there doing it and that [these] voices still need and want to be heard.
I look at people like De La and when you watch them-this is how a performance should be and they start it off. That opens up the whole door to the whole tour. You go through everybody and you get to me and LL at the end. We’re doing real DJ/emcee s**t back and forth. It’s not like I’m just pushing some buttons and he’s rapping. We have all these dynamics and really took our time to make it a show. And that to me is why I think it’s so relevant. Hip-Hop has always been about the performance, I’ve felt. And I don’t see a lot of Hip-Hop acts in this day and age come out and actually put on a show. They just rap over their song and that s**t is kind of boring to me.
WC: Because that’s where it started- with a lot of the cats that’s on the tour. [They] kicked off a lot in the direction of where things are going. I don’t want to say that’s where it needs to end because it’s not ending for us; we’re still here. But at the same time too, it needs to be recognized years later with new generations of rappers coming out. You got cats like LL Cool J who is one of the first to kick it off on the Hip-Hop scene coming up under the greats like Run-D.M.C. and stuff like that. He was a young phenom that came out and did it and it’s good for people to see that and recognize that and remember that he’s the one that brought it into the forefront with the lyrics and battling and s**t like that. You got Public Enemy on the righteous tip, so called conscious rap. They were one of the first groups that came out and captivated the whole world and made everybody feel good to stand up for their rights. It’s good for everybody to see that. You got Ice Cube who came out with “gangsta rap.” You got a lot of cats out there now trying to be tough with their lyrics and be dope dealers and gang bangers and stuff like that. And you see the bandannas and all that s**t and everything. It’s good for [people] to see that. Also too, you got De La Soul who came from that abstract age. It’s good for people to see them. And what’s good about this tour right here is that there’s a lot of people coming out that’s not “old-school.” You’ve got a lot of youngsters coming out and seeing it. And once they come out and see the package together, they walk away appreciating not just the artists, but Hip-Hop [as a whole] even more so. It’s a great show man.
Crazy Toones: This tour is so important to Hip-Hop because it’s everybody that’s been in the game from like after Melle Mel and them came, so we came around ’85, ’86. It’s showing you that it takes more than just sitting at home and being in front of your computer on the Internet, making a song, and just throwing it out [there]. It’s a whole package with Hip-Hop because if you don’t know how to perform or do a show, you’re really nothing. It’s dope because De La Soul, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy, everybody has been doing it for so long, everybody knows that when we get up there it’s really a job. You can’t just get up there thinking, “I got a song out, and I’m just singing my record” with your hands in your pockets. You’ve got to bring a real show. When you come to the Kings Of The Mic Tour, you’re gonna see why it’s called the Kings Of The Mic Tour. Everybody knows what to do.
Have you seen the Kings Of The Mic Tour yet? What did you think of the show?