Courtesy of myspace.com/ghostface
Hip Hop Live Tour Review
Brother Ali, Ghostface Killah, Rakim, The Rhythm Roots All-Stars
11.7.07@ Harry O’s
When I first heard about the Hip Hop Live tour, I thought to myself, Ghostface Killah, Rakim, Brother Ali in Utah with a ten-piece live band? This is going to be better than a private helicopter for grocery shopping. I rolled into Harry O’s to see Barbie dolls on the prowl, who’s who in the Utah ski and snowboard scene, popped collars trying new dance moves and the valley gangsters perusing the scene. The stage setup was covered in instruments from steel drums to keyboards and everything between.
The lights dimmed and The Rhythm Roots All-Stars took the stage. Watching them walk on stage to fill out a ten-piece ensemble made me all excited just thinking what these guys were capable of. They began throwing out lively afro-cuban beats with some Spanish lyrics that was really getting the crowd hyped. I just knew that tonight was going to be quite the experience. The energy of the crowd was intense as the band went into some Barrington Levy covers. They ended their set with three people on the hand drums just pounding away as the crowd was yelling "Ali…Ali," in excitement for Brother Ali to take the stage with them.
Brother Ali is one of the biggest names to come out of the legendary Minneapolis hip-hop scene with the Rhymesayers label. This was my first time seeing him live, so I was pretty excited for him to take the mic. When he took the stage, many people were surprised to see that he is a large albino guy. His appearance didn’t hold him back a bit. He started getting right into his set with the live band playing mostly songs off of his latest album, “The Undisputed Truth.” Everyone in the club was feeling the force of the live music with crisp rhymes about life. Ali ended his set with a freestyle to a conga beat that really brought back some beatnik vibes.
After a little break and another drink, I was ready for the legendary member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghotstface Killah. His entourage filled out the stage and the crowd threw up their Wu signs in the air. Ghostface kicked off his set by saying, “Someone turn that damn blinking shit off!” to the Harry O’s wild strobe light crew. With the Wu-Tang fans swarming like killer bees, he busted out some old tracks like "C.R.E.A.M." from of the 36 Chambers album. He gave a shout out to Ol’ Dirty Bastard, then went into his version of Shimmy Shimmy Ya with the crowd shouting every lyric. It seemed like Ghostface was enjoying himself especially when he started calling all the girls to get on stage and get nasty with him and his crew. While everyone stopped to ogle at the sluts on stage, I thought to myself, ‘damn this is a fucking awesome show.’ Ghostface ended up his set with the Park City girls on stage and set the vibe for the old school legend Rakim.
It seemed like the majority of the crowd came to see Ghostface, so it had thinned out a by the time Rakim hit the stage. Rakim has been on the top of the hip-hop scene since the early '80s. It was an honor to see him perform live, especially with a live band backing him. He kept his set strictly old school with tracks like “Paid in Full,” and others from the days of Eric B. He had a short set with the smaller crowd, but ended the night with a tribute to the late James Brown.
There are so many hip-hop shows that come and go. The standard hand bobbing to flat beats gets old. This was an explosive show with a lively band and some of the best emcees around. This was hands-down one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.