*You never quite know what to expect from a Hip-Hop gig. Indigo2 had intense security. I wasn’t quite dressed for any raucous behaviour wearing sandals, but luckily, my feet escaped injury in the testosterone filled environment. This was the perfect playground for New Jersey’s reunited Naughty by Nature, who came to party!
The Grammy Award-winning trio performed all their hits including the infectious O.P.P. Amid the old school revival, they paid homage to their peers across genres when DJ Kay Gee (who brought us Koffee Brown and also worked with Zhane and Next), played DMX’s Up In Here, House of Pain’s Jump Around, B.O.B ft. Bruno Mars’ Nothin On You and Snoop and Pharrell’s Beautiful. Such was the diversity of the 2,400 strong audience — a mixture of races, ages and genders.
Treach and Vin Rock were on full form embracing role-play to excite the crowd. Tracks such as Craziest, a reworking of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry – Everything’s Gonna be All Right and It’s On, only added more fuel to the fire. Celebrating their 20 year anniversary; Naughty by Nature were keen to perform new material Flags and to plug their social media platforms, but the crowd were 100% invested in a live interaction with the Hip-Hop veterans.
The good vibes continued with Jamboree and Clap Yo Hands before Treach sipped on some Courvoisier while resisting chants to ‘down it.’ Soberly, Treach paid homage to Tupac who he acted alongside in Juice. Looking at his tattoo on his left arm he performed Hail Mary/Mourn You Till I Join You, which he wrote after Tupac died. Ashes to Ashes, Tupac’s California Love and a tribute to Biggie followed this while Treach warned about the dangers of allowing external forces into friendships.
But things turned ugly when Treach angrily reacted to a member of the audience who he alleged had given him the finger all night. After offering to replace the towel on the man’s face with his underpants, Treach calmed down and tipped his hat to the UK’s Slick Rick with a rendition of We Like to Party. Ending with their hits Feel Me Flow and Hip-Hop Hooray, they departed the stage.
It would take a special act to fill the vacuum they left. But despite the sound of his name, Ice Cube, 42, had not come to douse the flames of entertainment. Arriving to Issac Hayes’ Theme From Shaft, he was every bit blaxploitation with his mini Afro and Afro pick! If his words didn’t emphasize that he was representing’ the Westside, the glittery Ws on his shirt made the statement. The glitter extended to his trainers and he sparkled in his role as entertainer.
Alongside DJ Crazy Toones and rapper WC, he took the audience back to 1989, the days of NWA and beyond. Classics such as Straight out of Compton, Hello, Jack N The Box, Natural Born Killazs, Check Your Self, Why We Thugs, Can You Bounce, Smoke Some Weed, You Can Do It, Bow Down, Life In California, Go to Church and Bop Gun transcended time. His crip walking completed the gangster theme to the evening. With his expertise in acting, directing and producing, Ice Cube executed the show well, commandeering the stage with perfect timing and dramatically finishing tracks with each one punctuated by darkness.
On a lighter note rapper WC performed a great track from his album Revenge of the Barracuda. While that was well received, the audience did not take too kindly to talk of a gig at Cardiff the previous night. While Ice Cube sung London’s praises, he asked his DJ how he was feeling explaining that his mood dictated the quality of music he would spin. When It Was A Good Day came on; the crowd knew DJ Loony Tunes was as elated as they were.
Having come on stage slightly late, Ice Cube was annoyed when he was asked to finish but defiantly, he performed two more tracks. The first She Couldn’t Make it On Her Own featured his son Doughboy (The name of Ice Cube’s Boyz n the Hood character) AKA Darryl, who is featured on his last album, I Am the West, and the second, Gangsta Nation, a tribute to the late Nate Dogg.
Leaving in the same style with which he arrived, Ice Cube’s closing theme song was The O’Jays’ Back Stabbers. While he offered to sign CDs and T-shirts in the back, ironically the audience was led out of a side door. But memories beat mementos; on their highly anticipated return to UK shores, these legends did Hip-Hop proud.
The UK Corner covers urban entertainment from a British perspective and is written by Fiona McKinson©. She is a freelance journalist and creative writer based in London. Contact her at [email protected]. For more entertainment visit her blog: http://www.thetalentshow.co.uk/theukcorner/