Hip hoppers in Vancouver have long complained about the state of the local scene. While hip hop club nights and shows are mildly stimulating at times, none seem to have what it takes to push listeners over the edge into unabashed, climactic musical satisfaction. But as Pete Rock, C.L. Smooth and special guest DJ Kool shook the walls of Atlantis last Monday, Vancouverites hungrily indulged in some the best sets they’ve had in a long time.
While some diehard fans lined up outside for nearly three hours, legendary DC DJ Kool riled up the indoor crowd with his acclaimed live show. Setting old school heads reminiscing, the pioneer DJ spun old gems like Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin’”, Brand Nubian’s “Slow Down” and Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”, as well as his classic 1996 party anthem “Let Me Clear My Throat.”
After hours of teasing, Pete and C.L. finally hit the stage at one to an ocean of uproarious applause. Under a rainbow of club lights, the iconic duo performed all their classic hits, including “Da Two”, “Lots Of Lovin”, “The Creator” and even their legendary remix of Run DMC’s “Down With The King”. As well, they unveiled new songs off Pete’s upcoming album Soul Survivor II, such as “It’s A Love Thing” and “Appreciate”.
Before long, the two had performed a solid one-hour set, and shouted goodnight to Vancouver as they walked off the stage. Of course, this was nothing more than a suspense-builder, because everyone knew the best had yet to come. As the crowd chanted “Reminisce!” Pete and CL re-emerged to perform “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”, which has become a celebrated hip hop anthem since its 1992 release.
Unlike most hip hop shows where any sign of enjoyment is limited to thuggish head bobbing, this Monday night crowd discarded any sign of inhibition and succumbed to the music, dancing and singing along. As sweat-drenched patrons poured out into the cold night air after the show, one couldn’t help but wonder if we’d ever feel that good again.