The line to get in trails the side of the parking lot for what looks like miles, but worth the wait. Awaiting inside Irvine Meadows, a line-up like this happens once a year. How the West Was Won Tour brings together west coast rappers that have left their mark in the game to one stage. This year's lineup features Snoop, Cube, Bone Thugs, and Xzhibit. I remember my first time at this show in 2013, there were so many people and lots of them looked like gangsters, I had an Ice Cube bandanna on and kind of expected a negative response because of it. That wasn't the case the positive vibe lasted all night. “Not a jacker in sight.” It was as it should be with all the fan's eyes on the stage, rapping the words and dancing to every song. As one of the only recurring major hip-hop shows in OC, it seemed as though we were all just happy to have them there—even if it is in the bowels of OC's safest city. Here are five reasons you should come to the last How the West Was Won before it's lost for good.
1. Last chance to see How the West Was Won Tour at Irvine Meadows
It's the concert's fourth and final year at this venue and it's undetermined where it will be hosted next year if at all. Irvine Company leased Irvine Meadows to Live Nation 35 years ago, this fall that contract ends. Irvine Company would rather replace the only outdoor venue in Orange County with small overpriced apartments, than save the place OC residents have to been going to see live music for decades. When I think of Irvine Meadows two things come to mind—my first concert as a teenager and how much better it was to see How the West Was Won there. It truly is a great place for this tour, it's local, outdoors and holds many memories, don't miss out on the opportunity it won't come again- fuckin' Irvine Company.
2. DTTX Tribute
At a time when it was assumed all rappers had to be black, two Latino rappers proved different. Every time the beat drops during “On a Sunday Afternoon,” my head starts bobbing and I can't help but to rap along and try to hit the high notes of the female verse of A Lighter Shade of Brown's biggest hit. When Bobby “DTTX” Ramirez passed away on July 18th at age 46, social media was flooded by fans, their words of how he will be missed and the things they remember about him and his music. His partner Robert “ODM” Gutierrez (One Dope Mexican) will step on stage for the first time since the loss of his partner in rhyme. His set is bound to get emotional as he makes a tribute performance to his friend and brother DTTX who died too soon.
3. High All Night
At a show with artists like Snoop Dogg blazing on stage, getting stoned is inevitable. If you don't burn, you might as well hold your breath. Before the show starts, clouds of marijuana smoke roll in like dense fog and don't dissipate until the following morning. Sure, they'll have light security, searching bags and doing pat downs, probably in hopes of getting a free sack they confiscate from someone too dumb to put their stash in their shoe or in-between their girl's knockers.
Buy a reserved seat if you want to see the show without weaving your head around the wasted minor blocking the view, but if the plan is to “turn up” or “get crunk” the lawn is your immediate destination. This section is a grassy area past the last group of reserved seating, you'll find people are more there to hear the music and get fucked up rather than watch the show. Don't forget your pipe, lighter and papers, people always lose these or get them taken away. When they see you've got what they need, you're in-high all night for free.
4. Old School Rappers Are Getting Older
This tour signifies some rappers who made rap what it is on the west coast, not the “I got baking soda” or “ass, ass, ass” of the “rap” we hear on the radio today, but the real shit that many people growing up could relate to or feel for. These artists talk about real life and struggles in their music, but they're getting older. With the exception of Goldie Loc from Tha Eastsidaz, 36, all the artists performing are pushing 50. I mean, some of the greats who've been in our playlists since childhood are pretty much over the hill. Before they need canes and walkers, start forgetting their lyrics, getting tired early or other limitations that come with old-age kicks in, see them now, while they still got it.
5. No radio shit
The majority of music played on the radio is garbage, with the repetition of mainstream songs it gets old quick. K-Day plays old school rap, but in OC that station doesn't always come in clear. Other than that, it's IPod or Pandora which is alright, but one kills the battery the other phone data. At How the West Was Won, don't expect to hear any meaningless crap like today's radio. But reminiscing the good times in the 90s of aimless driving just to hot-box while listening to legit lyrics is unavoidable, these tracks will take you back to the golden era of west coast hip-hop.