If having a packed house from start to finish is the benchmark for a great show, then Dilated Peoples and Jurassic 5 had a great one July 19. The Marquee Theatre was full of hip-hop heads throughout the evening, from M.C. Supernatural's opening freestyles all the way through J5's encore.
Many notable Phoenix hip-hop acts and promoters were present, too -- Dumper Foo of Drunken Immortals, Bronze Candidate and Liaison of Shining Soul, and M.C. Optimal were in attendance, among others.
Supernatural kicked it off with somewhat of a freestyle sideshow. The highlights of his exclusively off-the-dome set included snatching up a fan's phone and filming himself freestyling; his three M.C.'s trick, where he impersonated three different rappers, including Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes. But the finale took the cake, when Supernatural left the stage and had the audience hold up one item each before he walked through the crowd adding each item he touched to his freestyle.
M.C. Supernatural got a quite a rise out of the Tempe crowd, and a particularly loud cheer came after the line "I don't like Lil Wayne and fuck 2 Chainz."
Next up was Dilated Peoples, and Rhymesayers' newest artist opened with "Gone For Good," off its upcoming album Directors of Photography, due out Aug. 12. They followed it up with two tracks from 2006's 20/20 'You Can't Hide, You Can't Run" and "Marathon."
Evidence and Rakaa really got the crowd going with "Live on Stage" from 2001's Expansion Team. Even without a surprise appearance by their co-conspirator on the track, Talib Kweli, the song got the crowd jumping and way into Dilated Peoples set. They hit tracks from all throughout their extensive catalogue and even hit a few of Evidence's solo tracks of his albums The Weatherman L.P. and Cats & Dogs.
The group rounded out the set with "Show Me the Way," "Back again," and then closed out with "Worst comes to worst." Before clearing stage for Jurassic 5. Following DIlated Peoples, the stage crew unveiled the giant turntable that had been beneath a sheet for the evening, before Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark took the stage.
The two DJs played the four emcee's Akil, Zaakir, Mark 7, and Chali 2na on stage, and they went right into "I Am Somebody," before the DJs played a quick sample of "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple, before the group went into the politically inflammatory "Jayou," followed by "The Influence" which had the whole audience singing along to chorus of "la da da, la dee dee dee da da."
Following the singalong the emcee's took a break to let Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark work. After mixing on the tables for about a minute, the two DJs left their booths and picked up some more progressive instruments. Nu-Mark went for a remote drum pad that he had hanging from his chest, and Cut Chemist rocked a huge red turntable with a neck that he had slung over his shoulder, very reminiscent of a keytar.
Eventually, Chemist upgraded to the black version which obviously was a base control of some sort, while Nu-Mark went and mixed it up on the giant turntable, they even found time to rock a verse of DJ Snake's "Turn Down For What" before double teaming the giant turntable.
Following the DJ interlude the evening took an unexpected turn when J5 called for a Latesha Torres to come on stage and a cake was brought out while the group lead the crowd in the singing of "Happy Birthday." After that Torres's boyfriend Justin Webb, aka local DJ This Just-In proposed to her on stage in front of the packed out crowd. She said yes, and Chali 2na said "see what kind of shit happens at Jurassic 5 shows?" Before the group broke into "Quality Control," followed by "Concrete Schoolyard," compete with kazoos.
They went through a few more songs, including a choreographed group dance that included all four emcee's as well as the two DJ's before calling a night ... for the first time. It was quite obvious that they were due for an encore. The encore included two audience requests with the stipulation they be songs that would not be expected, as well as their closing number "What's Golden." It was a good week for a great hip-hop show because the Blunt Club took a rare week off to allow The Queers, The Dwarves, and Masked Intruder to play Yucca on Thursday.
Correction: This article originally misspelled Latesha Torres' name.
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