Tha Dogg Pound and Mobb Deep
Hip-hop, like rock music, and doo wop before that, is entering into a “Classics” or “Golden Oldies” phase. Kids who grew up listening to hip hop in what’s often considered “the golden age” of hip-hop in the late '80s and early '90s, are now grown ass adults who resonate more with the hip-hop they listened to back then, then the hip hop on mainstream terrestrial radio now.
The revamped KDAY, a radio station in Los Angeles that was a pioneering hip-hop radio station back in the day, was one of the first businesses to tap into this “golden oldies hip-hop” market by mainly focusing on hip-hop from the early ‘90s. It’s reunion shows like Tha Dogg Pound and Mobb Deep show at The Observatory last night that mainly focus on attracting this audience.
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Before you get into The Observatory, two cars are blasting Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones (Part II)” in the parking lot, but both cars are playing them at different points in the song, creating this weird cacophonic phase affect. Inside The Observatory, a middle aged woman raps every word to Remy Ma’s verse on a remix of M.O.P.’s “Ante Up.” Once Tha Dogg Pound hits the stage, a sea of 40 year-old men and women raise their smartphones in the air and try to take a picture of rapper Kurupt, showing their phone’s wallpaper in the process, invariably of their dog, their kid, or their kid and their dog.
Both Kurupt and Daz from Tha Dogg Pound, and Prodigy and Havoc from Mobb Deep were at top form, rapping some of the greatest lines ever recorded with the same youthful energy and style you can hear on Dogg Food and The Infamous, albums recorded by Tha Dogg Pound and Mobb Deep respectively while both groups members were in their teens and early 20’s.
It was a little startling to see a venue full of people my parent’s age rapping along to The Dogg Pound’s sexual hedonism, or the grim library of congress worthy of preservation poetry of Mobb Deep, but it’s nice to know that you can still “freak it if you want to” as Kurupt says, at that age.
But the best part of the night was when DJ Indigenous, the DJ inbetween acts, dropped “Buggin Out”, A Tribe Called Quest song that begins with a verse from recently deceased member Phife Dawg “Yo microphone check one two, what is this?”, and hearing the whole room answer back, “the five foot assassin with the roughneck business.” A fitting salute from a hip hop golden age audience, to one of the best MCs of the era.