I WAS THERE . . . PAID DUES at the Nokia Theatre on 6/4/08

MURS Looking Dapper During His Set, Dog in Tow

Paid Dues Independent Hip-Hop Festival
The Nokia Theatre
June 4, 2008

Blackalicious, GZA, KRS-One, and Rakim were officially crossed off my list of hip-hop artists I want to see live before I die at the Third Annual Paid Dues Independent Hip-Hop Festival. With the legendary lineup of Rakim, GZA, Blackalicious, Murs & 9th Wonder, Buckshot (Boot Camp Clik), Supernatural and Scratch, Kidz in the Hall and Yak Ballz, it’s no surprise the event sold out.

The Kidz in the Hall started the night off and got the crowd warmed up. Then Scratch came out with a loop machine and showcased his human beatbox skills. Supernatural joined him onstage and the concert officially began. Buckshot followed and the packed house started going wild. Smith and Wesson came out with him and kicked things up a notch, but then, the dj dropped “The Bridge is Over” and the teacher himself, KRS-One, walked out on stage and started rapping. The place went totally nuts.

Murs, the festival organizer, came after and did a set with 9th Wonder which was followed by an awesome set by Blackalicious. Gift of Gab showcased his skills as a killer mc, freestyling a mile-a-minute and energizing the crowd.

GZA followed Blackalicious and absolutely killed it. The highlight of his set was a four-minute long freestyle about Ol’ Dirty Bastard before the dj dropped “I Like It Raw.”

Kid Capri came out to start Rakim’s set, which closed out the show. Rakim played all the classics from Paid in Full and Follow the Leader. The crowd sang all his lyrics word-for-word. There was a special moment when Rakim told the crowd he had a death in his family only a couple days prior and had the theater turn all the lights off and the crowd hold up their lighters and cell phones for a moment of silence, dedicated to everyone’s lost loved ones. Kid Kapri broke the silence perfectly when he dropped “Check Out My Melody.” Without question, it was the best hip-hop show I’ve ever been to.

Marc Amigone

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