Friday night was a special one in Asheville for lovers of hip-hop: two iconic MCs were in town delivering great shows on the same night. Ice Cube had the house jumping over at The Orange Peel, while Big Daddy Kane delivered his flow at the Grey Eagle.
Both MCs are in their mid-40s. Both are rap masters. Ice Cube, straight out of Compton with his hard-as-nails, in-your-face gangsta rap, kept the music hard at The Orange Peel. With a booming bass that sounded like cannon fire, and backed by a giant video screen that played his videos, Ice Cube was engaged and immediately took hold of the full (but not sold out) house. The show captured all that is good about gangsta rap – the social consciousness and West Coast style perfectly blended. “It Was A Good Day,” “Bow Down” and “You Can Do It,” were just a few of the hits Ice Cube delivered as he invited all to be a part of his West-Side nation.
Over at The Grey Eagle, Big Daddy Kane played just as forcefully to a house only about half full. With a nine-piece band and back-up singers, a king of the late 1980s rap era put on a no less energetic show than Ice Cube. Kane was backed by a band called Lifted Crew and brought along R&B singer Showtyme to form a band he called Las Supper. The show had a very James Brown feel to sound and action, punctuated by many of Kane’s classic rap hits, including “Ain’t No Half Steppin.” Kane warmed to his task, delivering his viciously smooth flow between close interactions with the crowd, including hand-shakes, high-fives and even stepping down off stage for a quick, close dance with a lovely lady.
It was an unforgettable night of hip-hop in downtown Ashvegas.
The guy from Are We There Yet is a rapper too?
Uh, I had no idea that Big Daddy Kane was performing in Asheville tonight. I definitely would have been there. Some promoter really dropped the ball on this one.