East Coast hip-hop’s storied legacy was on full display March 21 at Stage 48th in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. The venue was packed to the rafters with fans — all waiting to see two of the greatest lyricists to ever pick up microphones: Wu-Tang Clan‘s rhyming virtuoso Raekwon and arguably the greatest, purest emcee in the history of the genre, Rakim.
The crowd got anxious, the sound system had its issues, but ultimately, two of the best to ever do it saved the night.
Hosted by Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg and featuring musical assistance by the legendary Pete Rock and Stretch Armstrong, the show — though delayed numerous times by technical issues — proved to be a rousing success. The minute Raekwon emerged draped in a black waterproof trench coat (“My scuba gear — water don’t even get on it!”) the crowd was in the palm of his hands.
Other hip-hop notables like DJ Jazzy Jay, N.I.N.E. and members of Brand Nubian were scattered throughout the crowd, enjoying the show.
Rakim was the final performance, and everyone in the room rapped along to classics from “The R: Microphone Fiend,” “Always and Forever,” “Know the Ledge,” “Paid In Full” and an endless array of hip-hop standards the man has crafted over his 25-year career.
Check out some of the visuals from what turned out to be a stellar show.