at House of Blues, February 22

The true hip-hop heads were out, including KDAY’s original Latino DJs Tony and Julio G., Cypress Hill’s B-Real and J5’s Chali 2Na, along with hundreds packed in like canned fish. A killer DJ set by Beat Junkie Rhettmatic touched things off, el paré ripping it with classic hip-hop jams everyone was feelin’.

Next, Dilated Peoples. Rakaa (in a black Dickies suit and black Chucks) and Evidence (in a black John Gotti T-shirt) threw out “C-A”; the crowd responded with “All day”; and D.P. tore into their new 20/20, including “Alarm Clock Music,” with Rakaa stressing the lines about black and brown unity. “The backbone of hip-hop is the DJ,” spat Dilated, and DJ Babu, wearing a Boston “B” cap, showed off his scratching, fading and mixing skills like a machine-gunner on the attack. Whoooooooooooweeeee, the house really heated up after that. Strong Arm Steady’s Krondon and Phil the Agony came out to rap on “Rapid Transit,” followed by Defari on “Olde English.” Rakaa put on a Rastafarian scarf and put down some island flavor on “Firepower.”

When the hip-hop trio took it to another level with the Kanye West–produced hit “This Way,” the place was so live that the balcony where I was standing shook like Northridge ’94, homie. Then Dilated brought up the heavy artillery — the Alchemist-produced “Worst Comes to Worst” and the bangin’ new single “Back Again.”

“This,” I overheard someone say, “was some hip-hop shit!”

—Ben Quiñones

LA Weekly