Rakim Allah blessed a packed crowd at West 147 with a medley set of classics on 4/20. DJ duties by Aaron LaCrate (of Milkcrate Athletics)…as it was a party for the release of a special edition West NYC x Milkcrate Athletics shirt, The Godly Collaboration, featuring an iconic image of the original God MC (sorry, Hove), as photographed by Janette Beckman.
Rock The Bells was pretty damn intense. I am sun burnt. The lines gettin’ in were hellish…and the line to the ferry back to the motherland (rotten as it is – NYC) was even more punishing on the senses.
I gotta say, outdoor music fests just ain’t really my thing anymore…but this one was a good one to go out on because of the handful of really dope performances. It actually sorta felt like a Rocksteady Anniversary up at Gaelic Park…with the amount of heads, dirt/grass/dust, sun damage, and silly Hip Hop antics you came across…plus Tony Toca was KILLIN’ the tables (as usual)…just in a “V.I.P. tent” this time.
Rakim was amazing.
Tribe was amazing (pulling out Large Pro and Neek The Exotic…and then Busta..very nice add).
Wu was fucking crazy.
Seriously…I’ve seen Wu as a unit once already…years ago…and both Ghost and Rae on separate occasions…but this recent performance was in-fucking-sane. Every song from Enter The 36… plus favorites like “Criminology” and “4th Chamber”. Yes.
Shouts to my PTP RTB crew: Wifey Cat, Note D, Big June, Rob Lo…as well as the duo of Wry-Lo and Spot-Lo, plus the kid Peter Baker…and my main millz from the Nuyo and Nightrain days, Apex. More shouts to everyone who copped a Killa Shirt (even saw a FUGAZI ass “Killa Tape” shirt roaming around…had a picture of three cassette tapes….c’mon b)…
So I get online the next morning to be greeted by that!
Out of the entire Eric B. & Rakim catalog, I think 1992′s Don’t Sweat The Technique falls out on top for me. The reasoning behind this decision lies mostly in the fully voiced aggression achieved in both Rakim’s delivery and lyrical content, as well as the frequently raucous, multi-layered production heard throughout this classic. In the past, there were certainly shades of this kind of force on songs like “Lyrics Of Fury”, “Follow The Leader”, and “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em”, plus who could deny the strength of Rakim’s vocal tone after hearing the opening bars of “My Melody” or “Eric B. Is President”, but DSTT, though not without its laid back moments of scholarly and even sexual narratives (versatility kids, a key element to a satisfying full-length listen), boasted a majority of hard lined joints like “Casualties of War”, “Pass the Hand Grenade”, “Teach The Children”, and “Know The Ledge”; those that really capitalized on elevating things to a new level through sobering reality checks as well as fantastically bold and violent imagery.
Perhaps one of the finest examples of the latter is “The Punisher”, a descriptive rap that which channels the graphic comparison of Rakim’s wordplay and commanding presence to warehouse-by-the-river torture. Plus it was probably titled after the alias of the Marvel Comics character, Frank Castle.