Last night, the Atlanta Civic Center played host to the final performance of the Legends of Hip Hop tour, featuring the queens of rap and hip-hop legends Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandy “Pepa” Denton.
The energy inside the venue was absolutely incredible and was pure excitement as concertgoers came in wearing their door-knocker earrings, Adidas jogging suits and gold rope chains, ready to be taken back to the early days of hip-hop music.
At exactly 8 p.m., DJ Kool Red Alert, from NYC’s 98.7 Kiss FM and host of the show, introduced the first act of the night — the amazing Kool Moe Dee. Though he has gained a few pounds since his early days, his performance was incredible. He can still move really well, and his crew got the audience hyped and ready. With songs like “How Ya Like Me Now” and “Wild Wild West,” we were all able to visit the nostalgia of early hip-hop as Kool Moe Dee gave us a history lesson about his group, the Treacherous Three, and how his beef with LL Cool J was only words.
Next to hit the stage was another true legend, Mr. Kurtis Blow, who rocked an all-white Adidas jogging suit, white Adidas shelltoes and a white baseball cap, and, at 52 years young, reminded me of a smaller version of Steve Harvey. Not only did he perform the songs that made him famous, “The Breaks” and “Basketball,” and had the audience rhyming along with him, but he had a breakdance challenge on stage and even was breakdancing himself. Much respect to him because I can’t breakdance now, and I’m more than a decade younger.
After a brief intermission, the man known as the “World’s Greatest Entertainer” graced us with a grand entrance, greeting the fans all the way. When he finally made it to the stage, he did what no one else but Doug E. Fresh can do, and that is rock the crowd with songs like “The Show,” “La Di Da Di” and even “Teach Me How to Dougie.”The Human Beat Box, as he is known, showed the ATL why he is still the greatest beat boxer for about five minutes straight. He made me tired, and I was just listening.
Finally, the ladies of the hour came out to perform, and, after 25 years in the business, Salt-N-Pepa haven’t missed a beat. The original trendsetters are known for being the first all-female rap crew and are still looking great. They went through the songs that elevated them iconic status — “Tramp,” “Shake Your Thang,” “Shoop,” “Whatta Man” and, of course, “Push It.” After thanking the audience for the love and support, Salt-N-Pepa ended the show giving praise to the Lord and performing Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp,” featuring Salt.
After an evening of dancing, sweating, crowd participation, rapping and nostalgia, this writer has to say this was one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a very long time. If you are a fan of hip-hop and have never seen these legends perform, you must take the time to go to this show the next time they tour, or I don’t think you can call yourself a fan of hip-hop. –christa e. jackson
Photo credit:Lorenza Cantrell