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While the bearded, bald-pated Pos's MCing was candid and funny, I think subconsciously the sardine-packed crowd was cheering for what De La's ages signify. See, all these new rappers run their mouths for miles about how much money, bitches and guns they've got and how much crack they deal. But who can verify?
Today, the most credible stock in hiphop is history, and few touring groups can stake more of a claim to it than De La.
His group (minus Trugoy , who was ill in the medical sense) is up to its neck in hits dating back to when The Source was a yellow one-page flyer. Last Friday they popped a bottle of some old-school energy and slew a near 90-minute spectacular.
Most notably, they ran through a bangin' Buddy, mauled the bass line of Me Myself And I and vibrated on Stakes Is High. Party people passed the puff during Potholes In My Lawn; Prince Paul would have been proud.
During the interactive show, Pos and Maseo did lots of effective "this side of the crowd is more live" stuff. Impressively, the Long Islanders seamlessly wove the word "Toronto" into so many lyrics, they repped our city hard without pandering.
Despite Maseo's clear disbelief that anyone bought their 2004 album The Grind Date, people blacked out to that record's gem, Rock Co. Kane Flow. Whenever MF Doom's prepackaged beats broke down, everyone froze for extended periods to mounting crowd screams. AOI singles Oooh and All Good also maintained the heat.
And while I've said in the past that I can't stand this played-out live hiphop bit, De La invited "da ladies" onstage to dance during their encore. But this time it struck a tone that was fun and inclusive instead of the usual gross. The difference? Their rhymes on Baby Phat were actually positive.