This past Thursday at the Nokia Theatre in New York City, three of the most notable and some would say most influential artists in their respective primes, brought the present to the past, then back to the future in style with the Wonderland High School Tour. How else could you describe it? Over 45 years of professional experience between the three, close to 20 studio albums pressed, and know by millions across the globe, Snoop Dogg, Redman & Method Man led the packed audience down memory lane, while proving that each could still hold their ground.
Redman and Method Man opened the show to immediate roars while a small squad brought out a few old school fist pumps (ala Arsenio Hall). There was electricity in the air, as well as other things. Redman was the sparkplug of the two, free roaming the entire stage from the start. While Method Man worked the crowd as well, just less animated compared to his brethren. All of this was happening before the first song was performed.
They started off with hits from the “Blackout 2”, showing off their master of ceremony skills, playing a Hip-Hop inspired game of Simon Says with the crowd. Not one command from the “high” flyers was met with a rebuttal. The audience was building their stride, anticipating what was to come. When Redman took it back to 1992 with ‘Time for Some Action’ (I know, the title was grammatically correct), the crowd exploding into one arm bouncing and tippy toe jumps at a hectic pace. Then Method Man, showing love to his Wu-Tang family including ODB (rest in peace), jumped two years ahead with his hit “M-E-T-H-O-D Man”. The classics were in session from that point on from ‘You’re All That I Need’ to ‘I’ll Be That’ to ‘How High’ and so on. And what is a Redman and Method Man performance without the stage dives. Nobody was hurt during the ritual.
Little did the crowd know that while Method Man was “walking on water” (he was standing on top of the crowd that was holding him up), Snoop Dogg was making his way into the building, rocking his Yankee blue fitted with the matching Yankees jacket. After a brief intermission, the Dogg Father was on stage and the “electricity” in the air became thicker. It was all about ‘Gangsta Luv’ from the start.
Snoop Dogg is just too cool for even himself. His swag is impeccable, and although complaints are levied against artists that perform in a box on stage, Snoop even makes the box acceptable. It’s only right that Snoop Dogg is laid back. All of his hit records are smooth and they reach across his entire career. The West Coast was definitely in attendance with Lady of Rage making an appearance, while Ice T and Coko were seen backstage. Dogg Pound representative, Kurupt brought lyrical and hype man skills to the table. The audience loved it, singing along with all of Snoops hits from ‘Gin N’ Juice’ to ‘2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” (where Snoop showed his fellow fallen soldier some love) to “Ain’t No Fun featuring Kurupt”.
Overall, the Wonderland High School Tour proved that Career Artists are just as viable now as to when they’ve debuted. So be on the lookout for more features on Career Artists in Hip-Hop.
Will “Deshair™” Foskey is a social journalist/blogger, born and raised in New Jersey. His most recent project, www.TheRacetoNowhere.blogspot.com has launched to rave reviews this past summer.