Capturing this second annual free concert held in Toronto, Hip-Hop Peace and Unity Fest ’04 makes for enjoyable viewing, thanks in no small part to the antics of the large crowd. The actual show is pretty decent as well, but the audience provide more than their fair share of memorable moments.
The Mecca Don himself, CL Smooth, sets things off with an extended solo set. Apparently, CL thought he was doing a show for a club full of ladies, since his set list seemed to focus on the softer, “macked-out” tracks from his repetoire. I can understand doing “I Got A Love” and “Carmel City”, but “Take You There” and “Tell Me”? What happened to “Mecca and The Soul Brother”, “Sun Wont Come Out” etc? At one point, Corey Love also begins performing pelvic thrusts to the music… This left all but a few diehards anxiously waiting for the inevitable audience-pleasing rendition of “T.R.O.Y”. I’m pretty sure that crates1974 was working the CD turntables for him as well.
Special Ed provides a more energetic appearence, although his simplistic, mid-school lyrical escapades left several napsack wearing T-Dot types puzzled “Where’s that scientifical madness, yo?!”. Judging by the crowd response, only about 20 people knew who Ed was, and only half of those kids were familiar with any of his tracks other than “I Got It Made”. While he’s no longer the “Youngest In Charge”, Ed still looks pretty young (nullus), although he must be in his early thirties these days. His verse from “Crooklyn” garnered a strong response, which is not suprising considering that most rap fans knowledge only extends to the early ’90’s.
How fuckin’ tall is that kid in the crowd? 8 foot? Plus the dude in front of him looks like a member of Non Phixion‘s street team.
Royce Da 5’9 does both of his songs with DJ Premier, which was a shrewd move considering the audience, and delivers the goods, weed carriers and all.
Notice the baldhead kid wandering around aimlessly, making himself drinks? Earlier, he handed Royce some water, which makes him a weed and water carrier I guess.
He also seems to be the only performer that had broads in the audience.
Jeru receives the warmest reception, despite opening with one of his shitty self-produced new songs. The Damaja is quite entertaining, although he spends as much time talking in between songs as he does rapping, making for some quality Don Rickles style moments. He does all of his old hits, which is a sure-shot, crowd pleasing move that works.
In one of the funniest moments of the show, this whitey in the fisherman hat (possibly Steve from the Knuckleheadz) tries in vain to get a pound from the Prophet.
Peace to the chubby, hyperactive kid with an uncanny resemblence to Biz Markie in the red jersey (aka T-Dot’s #1 Rap Fan) who rapped along with every single track while bobbing his head uncontrollably. You know how rappers always carry those little hand towels on stage? This kid has his one.
Gully/Hardhead Crowd Award:
This dude was completely unimpressed, despite being surrounded by several over-enthusiatic audience members. Gotta respect that.
But for every gully kid in the audience at a rap show, there are usually a copule of herbs to balance everything out.
All in all, this is worth watching if you’re a fan of Ed, CL or Jeru. Or even if you just like laughing at Canadians watching a concert.
Review copy provided courtesy of Shogun Distribution.
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