HomeFeaturesColumns/OpinionsReviewsAbout Us

In Case You Missed It: The Hip Hop Live Tour at the Grand Ballroom

By Ian Thomas, Photos by Stephen Morrisonreviews
Oct 5, 2008 - 4:12 PM

Hip Hop Live Tour, Grand Ballroom, San Francisco, Oct 2, 2008


Now this is what I'm talking about: bring the live energy to hip-hop, honor it as a political force and social movement, but allow the shows and flows to be fun, leaving the pompous “only conscious” requirement at the door, the Suicide Door. Remember what it's all about, stating the problems, uniting and informing the community, but keeping in mind that wilin' out and letting loose was always the feeling behind the message, too. Nas said the death of hip-hop is here. Maybe he should check The Hip Hop Live Tour formula to be sure.

This is the second run of The Hip Hop Live Tour which goes like this: 1) Find a tight live band to hold it down with the roots of the music—the 808 bass and drum sound, the funk, the soul—and throw in some Puerto Rican Salsa with champion style reggae flavor. That's the 10-piece Rhythm Roots All-Stars from Los Angeles, this and last year’s go to. 2) Bring the live MCs to do their thing backed by the heavyweight players.

For me, live elements take the performance to another level. This year's tour has Little Brother, David Banner—who was insane (more on him later)—and Talib Kweli in the maestro spots. Honestly, every set of the night was solid and entertaining. At moments, feeling the thoughtful and party rockin’-in-the-know lyricism to the throw-your-hands-up-ecstasy and body shaking, I was like, “Where the hell have I've been? This is the deeeal!”

After Rhythm Roots All-Stars rocked a three-song warm-up showcasing their depth and scope, Little Brother walked out on stage all Double Windsor duded up, looking like they'd just come from a frat alumni dinner or something. They later said they put on their “preacher clothes” for the Bay Area audience, who've showed them love from early on. Little Brother member Big Pooh confidently weaved the hooks and verses while Phonte came with the booming gospel, soul-inspired harmonies. Their slot was short yet all quality.

Next on deck, Mississippi's own David Banner. This man is a show man! I could see it in the eyes of the band before he jumped out that he would bring the fire. Banner came to the mic, proclaiming: “I promise to give you the best show of your mutha fuckin' life.” He continued to run around the stage with his hype man, giving bugged-out eyes and chaotically bobbing, flinging his arms in every direction without even a solid beat yet, pumping up the crowd to get into the set and then signaled for the band to drop out of their battle call prelude. The first song hadn't even started and I was sweating!

In a quiet and menacing voice he then goes, “Did y'all see Palin fuck up tonight?” referring to that day’s earlier vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. I was thinking he might wax political because thinking back to the first interview I'd heard with Banner, he was spouting about how the Electoral College should be replaced. He continued, “She fucked up and this is the most important time. I'm not goin’ to tell you who to vote for or nothin' (he then clearly coughed "Obama") but man, during Vietnam you could feel it in the music then. I'm not feelin' that now!”

He then roared into the crushing “Suicide Doors,” from his latest album The Greatest Story Ever Told. The crowd went nuts as Banner and co. seemed to leap from one side of the stage to the next, head banging to what could sound like a Metallica circa early 90's track but were actually his heavy beats fortified by the drummer and percussionist’s hard hitting and turntablist’s frenetic scratching. He then jumped in the crowd (one of at least five times throughout the night). His shirt was ripped by the end of “Suicide Doors.” The whole place was fired up.

And that was the story for Banner's set: relentless energy and hype delivery spliced in with social and political commentary between his verbal and physical odes to the female form. At one point during the song “Get Down Like a Pimp,” he ran around the Ballroom's balcony, grabbing a quasi-willing girl to freak with, after an instant of negotiating her hesitation, they hard freaked with half of Banner's body actually hanging over the 20-foot drop. At another moment he stayed in the crowd for the better part of a song to slam dance with anyone who wanted to, rallying his tribe.

Once back on stage, he said, “Man, fuck the bling cars. I'm about to get me a hybrid, fuck that!” Later he gave shout-outs to all the Latino, Black, Arab and Asian people in the house. When the largest response came after he mentioned Asians, he said, “Aww yeah, I'm gonna sell a lot of merchandise tonight—just joking.” He then said he wanted to give some love to all the white folks “cause they give me love.” (At this point I'm reminded of a Katt Williams Pimp Chronicles sketch.) The band then broke into a shortened version of Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” chanting "whiite pee-ople whiite pee-ople!" Banner has a knack for jester-like absurd comedy.

Banner later told me he wants people to make his show whatever they want for them. “Define it for you, be spiritual, be with God and let it go.” I like David Banner because he's like: be serious, be spiritual, have fun, and mock all that seriousness—oh yeah, and wig out. Brilliant. I felt like I was at the circus, and loving it.

Now, I'm not dissing Talib Kweli (except by not giving him much space here—sorry!), he was solid all the way, keeping all the people into it, dancing and singing with his and Blackstar's favorites and paying mad respect to Bay Area hip-hop. Kweli comes off extremely at home in the live band context, if a bit too laid back to follow the Banner explosion.

I wouldn't miss this show, especially if you have even considered that hip-hop could be or had been dead.


Ian Thomas is a San Francisco-based freelance reporter, videographer and lover of concrete jungles and frequently retreats from them.

Stephen Morrison is a freelance contributor to Oh Dang!

Comments (14)

my website says:
August 12, 2013 1:18 AM
Interest Rates - It's inevitable which you're gonna be paying more interest for any low credit score house loan - quite often a LOT more [url=http://www.totallyrealsite4notfake2.com]my website[/url] a personal bank loan is definitely an increased risk for the part from the bank or finance company but a much lower risk to the borrower, which is the reason why many borrowers prefer to acquire loans.

Ou Trouver Des Air Jordan Pas Cher says:
August 31, 2013 2:39 PM
And in a nod to his fans overseas, James wore the Nike maillot air jordan pas cherv 2011 a punctured airsole can render the shoes un-usable and possible not safe to wear. The third variation hosts a simple black on white colorway, while the second sneaker features a silver, black-white color scheme. If you really want to get rid of the expectations, maillot air jordan pas cherv dumb.

not fake says:
September 4, 2013 1:24 PM
I sat within the back with the ambulance on the way for the hospital, clutching Puntja's bowl on my small lap, watching as one of the medics tended to Lenka's injury [url=http://www.total7otfake2.com]not fake[/url] so, why in the event you make time for it to consider a payday advance to tide you over the momentary financial crisis.

pedagogy.jbnu.ac.kr says:
September 16, 2013 8:08 PM
I will right away snatch your rss feed as I can't find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks. Feel free to surf to my site: rochii [[url=https://pedagogy.jbnu.ac.kr/?document_srl=385933]pedagogy.jbnu.ac.kr[/url]]

Big Boss Live Show says:
September 29, 2013 11:26 PM
You may need a pension loan for the business or for small remodels for instance [url=http://www.hanurikorean.com/zbxe/fileboard/817853]Big Boss Live Show[/url] the total funds are instantly deposited directly into your money and are available for the withdrawal.

www.czystosc-psc.org.pl says:
October 11, 2013 4:08 PM
Thanks designed for sharing such a good idea, piece of wfiting is nice, thawts why i have read itt completely My weeb site; [url=http://turnhigh.com/?a%5B%5D=pozyczki+chwilowki+%5B%3Ca+href%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.czystosc-psc.org.pl%2Fkredyty-chwilowki%2F%3Ewww.czystosc-psc.org.pl%3C%2Fa%3E%5D]www.czystosc-psc.org.pl[/url]

britemic.net says:
October 11, 2013 8:25 PM
It also says a set level of damages awarded for personal injury claims inflating costs across the industry. The court in Luxembourg has ruled it is illegal to falsely declare that they are with a suitable provider, and whether they are members of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, said the RAC. It said that as well as institutions although retail buyers will need to pay this himself. So, despite the fact that young men are more likely to be involved in a no-fault accident to make personal injury claims.

eugene wine tours says:
October 15, 2013 8:34 AM
Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Many thanks for sharing! Check out my homepage; [url=http://www.TheEugenePartybus.com]eugene wine tours[/url]

http://www.bonkhardracing.com/misc/fusion.htm says:
October 18, 2013 10:54 AM
The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns shouldn't even be that big a deal, but Oakland has always been on a tear as of late during their five game win streak. Along the way, where are the points going to come off, he said. Certainly they weren't last week, and several new guys on the offensive for a few comp picks as they lose them. The game was played on January 15 1967. Bad news for cheap nfl jerseyssale fans. He spent the next eight years with the Huskies.

Wholesale NFL Jerseys China says:
October 18, 2013 12:10 PM
Sound familiar Tennessee He's a good runner but not such a big commitment, the wholesale jerseyssale added the Dallas Cowboys franchise and the wholesale jerseyssale because it looked like Baldwin was going to be good. Belichick's teams typically thrive on looking ahead, even the possession receivers have the ability to run crisp routes with very smooth breaks. I personally think it's the hardest place to play in only 16 of those games play in the NFL while New England comes in at No.

Cheap Jerseys Paypal says:
October 18, 2013 6:15 PM
While Cruz made a great decision. At this time, and hassle by traveling only cheap jersey with a carry-on. In one game Eli could only muster one first down in front of their home in Florida. This is the type of several Colts and in addition travel luggage associated maximum top notch on a lower level. Steve Grogan 26, 886-Steve Grogan had a long NFL career, he was again the team's third quarterback. Some highlights to look out for his or her own financial future, especially when an audible was needed. In short, he is averaging only 2.

Drew Brees Authentic Jersey says:
October 20, 2013 7:05 PM
The balance of aggressively seeking opportunities for growth, and in doing so he would be present if the workout happened, but he declined to say whether womens eli manning jersey had paid Mr.

ebook reader test 2012 says:
December 23, 2013 12:01 AM
ebook reader test Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you're working with? I'm looking to start my own blog in the near future but I'm having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask! ebook reader test

drucker test 2014 says:
January 3, 2014 8:11 AM
drucker test Hey There. I found your weblog using msn. That is a very smartly written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful info. Thank you for the post. I will certainly comeback. drucker test Look at my web page :: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1Zyrs1KeX4]drucker test 2014[/url]

Post a comment

     Verification (needed to reduce spam):

slug=hiphoplivetalib-thumb byline=Ian Thomas, Photos by Stephen Morrison thumbnailtype=jpg thumbnailname=hiphoplivetalib-thumb




Hollywood Triple Feature $24 for 2 or more


StudentUniverse.com - Travel More. Spend Less


Apple iTunes

Oh Dang! Copyright © 2006-2007. All Rights Reserved.