Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Return of the Legends Part II--- September 3, 2005
Hey, I told you this was a two-night show, right?
If you missed part 1, it's right below this blog- go ahead, read that one first, I'll wait here 'til you get back:
hmm-hmm-hmm... (taps toes)..

Back already? Cool beans. So here we go:
Earlier that afternoon, I headed downtown to the annual International jazz festival- big chunks of downtown streets were blocked off, and several stages were set up between Compuware headquarters and Hart Plaza on the riverfront. Street vendors were set up along the lower Woodward strip (T-shirts, purses, jewelry, oils/incense, African art, etc.) and you had to buy tickets to get food from all the various food outlets selling stuff. Mingling around the festivities, unfortunately I missed the Ford Field Football Classic that’s been happening this past couple of years, finally bringing some HBCU football—and their bands—to Detroit.
Close to show time, I finally made my way down to Chene Park. It was again hosted by Serch, the show tonight started a little late, but was set off at first by old-school Detroit rap act Detroit’s Most Wanted/DMW. They performed like three cuts and they stepped—then Chubb Rock, came out, and Chubbster performed two of his songs, including "treat em right" in between a DJ-assisted medley of old-school funk/soul & hip-hop cuts.
Next up were Brand Nubian- Puba, Jamar and Sadat set it off nicely with all their signature cuts, including post-breakup/solo and reunion songs, like "Don’t let it go to your head", "slow down", "360", "I like it", "brand Nubian", "love me or leave me alone".. during Brand Nubian's set I got a call from Pvt. Militant (http://www.pvtmilitant.com), but the noise was too deep to hear-- I had to run to a less noisy part of the stadium and call him back-- turns out he's in town, and I got to talk to Chuck for a minute who explained I had some free passes at the service office.. I had already bought my tix, but I definitely could use the backstage pass--
After some technical difficulties, Digital Underground were next, repped by Shock G and Money B, and introduced DJ NewStyles, from Milwaukee. They ran through a short set of "do whatcha like", "humpty dance", "kiss you back", "oregano flow", and led the crowd in a singalong to Tupac’s "I get around" and "So Many Tears", before closing with "Freaks of the Industry" (but not before inviting all the ladies up on stage)..
Naughty By Nature was next- Treach and Vinnie took the stage (KayGee apparently left some years ago) and started off with "OPP" then went into their other hits including "guard your grill", "it’s on", "uptown anthem", "everything’s gonna be alright" and eventually closing with "hip hop hooray"..
Then at last, Public Enemy took the stage, starting off with "prophets of rage", "black steel", "shut ‘em down", "can’t truss it", "public enemy #1", "911 is a joke"; Chuck took time to shout out Mayor Kilpatrick for pledging several hundred hotel rooms and other assistance for families affected in New Orleans. He also gave props to Kanye West for putting Bush on blast in his unscripted tirade on NBC’s relief telethon. The band finally closed with "fight the power".. it was a shorter set than usual—city union/teamster type rules insisted the show be over by 11:30 or they start charging the promoter for overtime, so it had to end there. For the concert, anyway— Several peeps from the Impossebulls were in town, getting footage for future dvd releases.
For the uninitiated, the Impossebulls (http://www.impossebulls.com/) are a rap crew hailing from different parts of the globe that came together through mutual love of Public Enemy through PE’s website- initially sharing beats & rhymes over the web, they’ve produced an album and dvd that’s put out through Chuck D’s Slam Jamz indie imprint. Group member Pvt. Militant from Flint, MI hit me up on my cell, and let me know where the Enemy Board/Impossebulls crew was hanging—I swung by and saw him, and finally go to meet several other members of the fam- C-Doc (who hit me off with Slave Education), Marcus J, and Tirade (and two significant others—whazzup, ladies). We headed to the backstage dressing area, but hold it—I had been confused on where to pick up my backstage pass, so I never got one—and the security chick held me back.. Tirade was gracious enough to hang with me in the interim, then Rapstation journo-photog and longtime Enemy Boarder Old School 76 pops up and lends me his pass to let me over the barrier (which Tirade and I had temporarily moved to let an SUV pass by, no less, helping out the guard; which earned me no sympathy, alas)..
So anyway, we all start chatting outside the Chene Park business office/changing rooms area, then after a few minutes, the Omni Hotel vans are ready to take us back to the hotel several blocks away. Arriving at the hotel, we see various PE crew hanging out in the lobby, as well as Brand Nubian, who just arrived—Grand Puba looks a little bored as he chats with some peeps—
We spot the reality TV star himself, Flavor Flav, who has a couple of girls with him, and one of them’s holding a bucket of KFC..
We headed upstairs in the elevator with Flav; apparently CDoc/Tirade’s room was on the same floor, and we all headed in the same direction down the hallway—but it was clear that Flav’s party was strictly on the solo tip, and he abruptly turned to enter his room with the chicken & the chickenheads (damn, share the wealth, Flav!) We didn’t see him again.
After a few minutes of hanging in the ‘bulls room, Pvt. Militant, Tirade and I took a walk out to a nearby CVS pharmacy—apparently CVS doesn’t sell beer, but Ti got his cigarettes; and as we walked back to the hotel, Ti regaled us with the story behind Afrobeat music star Fela Kuti’s "Expensive Sh*t" (I’m glad we hadn’t eaten yet). When we got back to the hotel we hollered at Chuck, who was going to head out to the afterparty and/or visit relatives in town. We headed back to the hotel room, where Marcus had decided to call it a night early, as he and his girl started out on their drive back to Xenia, Ohio— Hope you got that case of Red Bull, Marc..
It took some extended cajoling from Ti to convince Pvt. Militant to roll with us to the nightclub. P.M. let us know that he was cooling off the club scene after nearly getting robbed at gunpoint and literally dodging a bullet the last time around. Eventually, Pvt. Militant, Ti and I then headed out to the Stinky Rose (is that a reference to the Outkast song?), a new nightclub that was hosting the afterparty.
We got in free: "We’re rolling with PE and we ain’t payin!! What!!" was the phrase in the back of my mind that was never uttered, thankfully. After our, ah, credentials were established we made our way through the joint (uh, the establishment that is), which had been turned into a semi-block party with blocked-out streets on either side. But things were apparently winding up. Money B was in the house—tipsy (Shock, where you at?), as was Brand Nubian. Drinking gin on the rocks with lime (thanks, Ti) in the VIP area, we observed that it wasn’t as rife with willing groupies as we might have wanted. Once the bar service started shutting down (except for $3.50 cokes—yikes) we headed back to the Omni.
PM decided to call it a night and head back to Flint (or "Fly-N.T."; heh—um—guess you had to be there)...On a solicited tip from the head of security (the dude looked like he could be Johnnie Cochrane’s younger bro), Tirade and I headed to room 125, still hoping to find some active partying going on, preferably with several women who’ve imbibed several drinks. We knocked on the door. Two shirtless brothers answer, and it’s clear that they’re wasted:
"Who is you?"
After explaining that we’re just looking for wherever the party’s at, they graciously let us know that there’s only two chicks in the room. Dang. They let us know if it was a better chick-to-guy ratio, that we’d be in—especially if Tirade had his video camera. So the brothers give us a pound and we head back to the waiting room, trying to figure out what to do next.
Tirade and I head out to a 24-hour IHOP and get to chop it up quite a bit on the way there, as well as during our time there—before we got seated, we had to submit to a search (hey, I went through it twice tonight already, so I guess I should be used to it). Apparently, this IHOP—which used to be owned by Anita Baker—has had problems with the late-night crowds and instituted the search policy a few months ago. Just for the 10 pm.- 6 am crowd, naturally. Did I mention that Ti and I got to talk quite a bit? The food certainly didn’t get in the way, as it took about a ½ hour for someone to come by to take our order. In the midst of waiting, we both observed all the typical celebrity photographs framed and mounted on the walls—iconic former mayor Coleman Young; 93 – 01 mayor Dennis Archer; and current mayor Kwame’ Kilpatrick. One of the biggest was a concert photo of Ted Nugent. Why anyone would want a 36" x 48" of a shaggy-maned Nuge staring at them while they’re eating their strawberry pancakes & western omelets I don’t know—at least he wasn’t holding a severed buck’s head in his hands.
As our chat continued, Ti and I noticed one of those customer survey cards, and considered giving all ‘zeroes’ (or whatever their rating system was) but apparently we forgot about it after finally getting our grub. We headed back to the Omni, where apparently CDoc and his girl had went to sleep. Ti slipped me the Impossebulls’ Slave Education cd/dvd that I had left on the dresser and I started on my trek back to the hood.
..I didn’t drive that night, so I had to wait for our wonderful (ahem) Detroit bus systems to get me back to the home base. In the evenings, most bus routes here cut back severely, many stopping service around 11 p.m. Even with the continuing routes, after midnight it’s murder to wait—sometimes literally (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist). After I left Ti, I walked back to my job’s office building, which was barely 10 minutes away. I’m glad our entrance cards work after hours, because I had to do #2 really bad. I half-considered simply sleeping at my cubicle, but I figured I might as well head home.
It was a little after 5 a.m. by the time I left the office building to the bus stop right in front of it. I had a two-pronged bus trip ahead of me. I ended up waiting until 6:30 to catch my first bus, hoping that my sleep-derived stupor would not manifest in quasi-drunken chattiness. With luck, after I got to my half-way point the bus I needed to transfer to was just taking off—but it got caught by a red light (yes!). Hopping in, I head up Grand River Ave., which leads all the way into Lansing if you’re driving. Anyway, the chilly air from an open window helped to keep me awake a little longer, and by the time I got off my 2nd bus, it was 7:15, and I still had about a 15-minute walk back to home base. When I finally got in, a pleasant surprise waiting for me. No, none of the chicks from the afterparty followed me home. But apparently when the mail came that day (usually our postal person doesn’t hit our block until late afternoon), one of my latest E*Bay purchases had come in, which, up until now, I had forgotten about. A promo copy of the "Shut Em Down" maxi-single with the Pete Rock mixes. Ooh. Talk about karmic.
PS- shout out to enemy board’s Double A—he saw me right before PE’s set, but disappeared during.

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