Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: Rakim Live at The Shrine

Last Thursday, October 17, we finally got to see Rakim perform live at The Shrine. After a troubled attempt sidelined the legendary emcee from appearing at the club a month ago, this time around we were treated to the great night of Hip Hop we were all hoping for.

Talib Kweli was in charge of getting the party started with a DJ set, playing the hits from all eras that night. The Shrine is one of those few clubs in the city that still breathes the culture of the early days of Hip Hop, and that is why dance circles forming throughout the floor is a commonplace and more than welcome thing. Dancers of all generations and all levels (from amateurs to long-time vets) were breakdancing as Talib manned the DJ setup on stage. Another great thing was that those who were not able to see the spinning and popping of the breakdancers in the crowd were able to see a dancer showing her best moves on stage while the music played. Talib’s set was all over the Hip Hop map with tunes from A Tribe Called Quest, Fabulous, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Big Pun and Jay Z all making the cut.

When Rakim finally hit the stage, The Shrine lit up and roared for “The God Emcee.” Rakim started off by excusing his last failed appearance at the club and promised to make up for it, and lucky for the fans in attendance, the man lived up to it. In between tracks, the NY rapper talked about enjoying the city of Chicago, the problems that go with being out in the city, and even showed off his “beast” (the miniature dog his wife had brought to the show). As far as the music went, Rakim played some of his more contemporary material, sang to the ladies in the crowd, and finished off with the “classics.” Tracks like “I Know You Got Soul,” “Don’t Sweat The Technique” and “Paid In Full” were the shining moments of the night and hearing them performed live made up for that “lost” show from a month ago. To end the night, Rakim brought Talib Kweli and helped him perform his hit song, “Get By.”

With all that went down that night, this was clearly one of those great nights for The Shrine.

Review by Oscar O (for Pursuit of Dopeness).

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