I missed Vivica Fox. Otherwise, showing up at Friday's Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick show — which started at 9 p.m. — at a quarter to midnight proved a wise decision. Because it was close to 12:15 a.m. before the Get Fresh Crew took the stage. That meant, initially, two DJs, Barry B and Chill Will, and Doug E.
, looking ageless, if not exactly sounding so. He opened, if memory serves, with “Keep Risin’ to the Top,”
his hit single from 1988.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember just how far hip-hop has progressed. But Doug E. was ready to remind us. This is an actual line from “Keep Risin’”: “Sharp as a harp played by a musician/My body tone is like a throne/wearing Calvin Klein Obsession cologne/et cetera, et cetera in a cashmere sweater.” Which is almost so bad it’s good.
After that, until Rick tha Rula took the stage and for a good bit afterwards, Doug E. played emcee. Between 45-second snippets of every old-school hip-hop song ever recorded, he shouted out zodiac signs. “How my Cancers doing up in here?” He wondered, call and response-style, which zodiac sign made love best. “What about the Leos?” He used promoter (and birthday boy) Chris Bowen’s tag: “grown and sexy” to describe the packed crowd, which was apt; there weren’t a lot of young faces. Late in the night, “The Cheers” theme played. “Y’all remember this!?” he asked.
Not surprisingly, Slick Rick
was the highlight of the night. He wore a circus peanut candy-colored jump suit and eye patch to match, with dozens of chains swangin’. Without a reference track and with that smooth, regally fey flow, he did “The Show” — with Doug E. beatboxing and sound effecting like on record — “Hey Young World,” “Children’s Story” and “La Di Da Di.” But that was it. Lil Vicious came onstage and did “Freaks” with Doug Fresh, which gave Bowen an opportunity to spit a bit. And then Rick was offstage, gamely shaking hands and taking pictures with anyone brave enough to wander over. Stupid no-flash-having iPhone!
But even if all we’d gotten was “La Di Da Di,” I’d have left happy. It got sly update — Slick Rick’s still got a sense of humor. Friday it ended:
“ ‘Ricky Ricky Ricky, can't you see
Somehow your words just hypnotize me
And I just love your jazzy ways
So MC Rick my love is here to stay’
And on and on and on she kept on
The bitch been around before my mother's born
I said, ‘Cheer up!’ I gave her a kiss
I said, ‘You can't have me I'm too young for you miss’
She said, ‘No you're not,’ then she starts crying
I says, "I'm 45!”
And that was it. If anyone in the crowd managed a "stop lyin'," I didn't hear it. We're getting old, y'all.