NOV 9 – KRS-ONE & ZULU Nation Make History

The true spirit of Hip Hop blessed the borough of Manhattan Sunday night as S.O.B.’s and AllHipHop launched its new “Plain Rap” concert series with HEAT, playing host to one of the best hip hop shows in recent memory—and possibly one of the illest end-of-night cyphers of all time. Billed as a “Temple of Hip […]

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The true spirit of Hip Hop blessed the borough of Manhattan Sunday night as S.O.B.’s and AllHipHop launched its new “Plain Rap” concert series with HEAT, playing host to one of the best hip hop shows in recent memory—and possibly one of the illest end-of-night cyphers of all time. Billed as a “Temple of Hip Hop” showcase with KRS-ONE and The Jungle Brothers, the event soon turned into a who’s who of Hip Hop as legendary MCs from every era—Busy Bee, Melle Mel, Fat Joe, Lord Finesse, Jeru tha Damaja, Kool Keith and more—all came out to celebrate the historic 30th Anniversary of the Almighty Zulu Nation, Afrika Bambataa’s founding hip hop brotherhood. Zuluuuuu! Don’t stop!

As a true hip hop fanatic, in all honesty, I would have been hype just to witness this show but—give thanks—I also had the opportunity to set things off DJing before and between acts all night long. As a DJ, I was hype to set the mood and take the crowd back in time, drop some Tribe, Black Moon, Pete Rock & CL, G Rap… But as a fan… As a fan, I was just hype to be able to witness the whole thing, start to finish, from on the side of the stage. Ya feel me?!

In light of my inside view of the proceedings, has asked me to recount a little bit of what I saw that night… so hold tight, cuz it was one hell of a show. Plus, in true DJ fashion, I gotta flip it a little to make it interesting, and provide a soundtrack—a little play by play to help set the scene. Anyway… “make way, cuz here I come…”

Ludacris, “Southern Fried Intro.”

From the start of the night, there was a wild buzz in the air. Rumors were circulating at the door that Foxy Brown, Bell Biv Devoe and Queen Latifah might be blessing the spot and SOB’s Director of Urban Booking, Erica Elliott, “warned” me that a couple other DJs might want to rock, namely Tony Touch and Afrika Bambataa. Sound check ran late but the crowd came early, so before long the buzz of excitement was as audible as the music itself and you could feel the anticipation growing in the room. Jeru tha Damaja slid in the door early and quickly took a spot by the front of the stage—even the lyrical monster behind his own library of classic cutz didn’t want to miss a second of this.

Black Moon, “Who Got the Props”

As the beat bounces, the room fills to capacity, and the energy starts to build. I’m dropping the set my man Q-Unique (of Arsonists / Rock Steady Crew fame) affectionately calls “J.Period’s Favorite Records”—that is, every classic record from 88 to 93 til Infinity—(Holla, Q!). The crowd is riding with me, shouting out lyrics, and screaming at the top of their lungs when I get on the mic: “Are y’all ready to see KRS and the Jungle Brothers?!” It’s definitely about to go down. Suddenly I turn around and the Propmaster himself, Kool DJ Red Alert is standing behind me with a crate of records. “You mind if I get on?” he says. “I brought some records.” The fan in me is dumbstruck. The DJ responds: “Yeah, no doubt! Do your thing.”

Nice’n’Smooth “Let’s Take it Back to the Old School…”

Red Alert straight rips it. 25 years in the game and still doin his thing! And if that ain’t enough, Busy Bee (of Wild Style fame) busts on stage and starts vibing with the crowd, call and response style. Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush joins in and before long, they’ve got the whole place screamin “Ho!” and rockin the spot like it was 86! Twenty minutes and about 40 breakbeats later, Red hands it back to me and I pump “La Di Da Di” thru the speakers to keep the vibe goin. The crowd screams every word so loud that when I drop out the music, you can hardly hear the difference. It’s definitely about to get ugly up in here… and everyone feels it.

Eric B. & Rakim – “Don’t Sweat the Technique”

With a giant banner onstage that reads: “The Hip Hop Declaration of Peace,” the true spirit of the culture is in the air like Natural Mystic. But it’s only when the Message himself, Grandmaster Melle Mel, takes the stage that I realize that this is some real history goin down. I have an ill flashback to being 7 years old, reciting every lyric to “Beat Street,” and look up to see Melle Mel asking me my name. “Yo give it up for J.Period, y’all!!” He screams into the mic, “He doin his thing tonight!” Kaboom.

Soul Sonic Force – “Planet Rock”

Here I gotta flip the script for a second… cuz I didn’t play this record. Yes, that’s right. It’s the 30th Anniversary of the Zulu Nation so believe it: the original Soul Sonic Force takes the stage and performs “Planet Rock” LIVE. Anyone who doesn’t understand the significance of this needs to throw out your Fabolous records right now and enroll in a hip hop history class. For real!! The illest thing is, the show hasn’t even started yet. Cuz just when I think I have seen it all, the lights drop, and The Jungle Brothers finally take the stage, givin pounds as they pass, proceeding to rip thru all the classics from “Straight Out the Jungle.” Fiyah! Paying homage to KRS before he takes the stage, the JB’s flip “Jimmy” as Red Alert himself gets on stage to adlib Propmaster style, and the crowd gets open once again. It’s at a fever pitch and the headliner hasn’t even hit the stage yet. Mad energy! I’ve transformed back to fan mode, snapping my neck along with the crowd, trading looks with Red Alert, Mike G, and waving my arm to punctuate the beat. Melle Mel mouths the words when the JB’s drop the title track: “It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes we wonder how I keep from goin under…” The circle is damn near complete.

Dead Prez – “Hip Hop”

“Yo we’re at Level 3 right now, y’all…” Melle Mel takes the stage after the JB’s step to the rear, and I bump Tribe’s “Stir it Up (Steve Biko)” to give the crowd a chance to rest before Kris blows the roof off. “We’re at Level 3 right now, but we’re about to take it to Level 4, y’all… You ready?!” He raised he hand above his head and warns them again. “We’re goin up here… so you better get ready… Level 4… it’s about to be crazy… Get ready!!” … “One two, one two, uhh…. one two, one two… It’s bigger than…” The bass from Dead Prez’s classic “Hip Hop” takes over the room and the chant sweeps over the crowd along with the buzz of excitement: “They call it hip – hop… hip – hop… hip -hop… hip – hop…” Hip Hop has definitely taken over the room as Melle Mel grabs the mic again… “Ladies and Gentlemen, with no further ado… Hip Hop is in the building!… Give it up for the one and only… Blastmaster…. K-R-S- ONE…!!!” BDP’s Kenny Parker takes over the wheels, transforming J.Period, once again, back into fan mode. And I don’t give a #*&% what y’all DJs say about the kid… That’s BDP sucka! Respect Due!

LL f. Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe, Foxy Brown – “I Shot Ya”

KRS rips it. I mean destroys it. I mean damn. Anyone who has ever been to SOBs knows the crowd moves, but most people just nod their heads and watch. KRS has the whole place feet-off-the-ground jumping, fist pumping, next-day-hoarse screaming. Craziness!! I suddenly find out my girl knows pretty much every word to every BDP song and ain’t afraid to pump her fist and scream em out loud. But she ain’t the only one losing composure. I look around and suddenly there’s a sea of familiar faces, every one of them a legend in their own right—Melle Mel, Red Alert, Jeru, the Puerto Rican heavyweight Fat Joe—everyone—all geeked and glowing like little kids at their first concert, mouthing “Criminal Minded” like it was the lunchroom at recess, or they were diddy-boppin down the street in the BX. Plus, Foxy Brown was trying to get in the venue, but she had too much security. Imagine if she got up and spit! Still, this is unbelievable, I’m thinking. This right here is HISTORY. Hip Hop – Is In – The Building.

And here’s what I love about Hip Hop. Feel me on this. When Hip Hop is in the building, you don’t just pump your fist and enjoy, you step into the cypher and get busy for delf! Hip Hop moves you. Involves you. Energizes you. So just when you think you’ve seen enough, every one of these cats—MC’s you didn’t even see in the place—moves toward the stage, and before you realize what’s happening the ultimate cypher has formed right in front of you, poised and ready, set to explode. Check the resume:

Melle Mel

Lord Finesse

Diamond D

Jeru tha Damaja

Kool Keith


Busy Bee

Fat Joe

Mike G


All taking turns ripping it. Man oh man, can this get any better? But the jewel is this: to the DJ / Fan standing on the side of the stage, the jewel is that when the cypher stands ready to hit, DJ Kenny Parker starts to scramble because he is out of instrumentals. “Yo, try this.” I say, digging in my crates to grab a few. LL’s undergound banger “I Shot Ya” sits on top of the stack I hand to him. “Oh sh%*,” he says, “That’s the one!” DJ, fan, whateva. The beat drops and I am just happy to be there. Act like you know, cuz you don’t see this everyday.

Gun pon c###… Buyaka!! Lick shot!!

Wu-Tang – “Can it Be All So Simple”

“You know everybody’s talkin bout the good old days… the good old days… well let’s talk about the good old days…” Sunday night at S#####s, the good old days were alive and kickin. Please believe. But don’t sleep, cuz two weeks from Sunday, on November 23rd, the legendary Pete Rock & CL Smooth hit the stage @ SOBs for another installment of “Plain Rap”… guaranteed to be another historic event. And I don’t know about y’all, but I’mma definitely be up in the spot again, poised and ready on the side of the stage. Snappin my neck to the beat. Hypin the crowd every time the needle drops. Checkin the scene from both perspectives. DJ? For a hot minute. Fan? For life.

And there it is.