The hip-hop tour is a strange child of the death of the last millennium and beginning of this one.
As opposed to most other nuclear genres, hip hop often cannot be completely recreated “live”. If Kanye West could actually reincarnate Curtis Mayfield to let rip the heavily sampled “Move On Up” every time he performed his hit “Touch the sky” that would definitely be something. But even Kanye can’t do that. As a result of this anachronistically magical nature they uniquely hold, hip hop shows are often performed with at least the suggestion of a backing track, and songs are rarely as they sound in their recorded forms. The act, commonly a single rapper standing on stage in front of thousands like some musically elected politician, performs strange new spectres of their hits and deep cuts. This can make for a slightly empty experience, and many are quick to assume that. But it also gives an immense freedom that has been taken advantage of to produce some wonderful and often weird musical and artistic experiences on earth. As always in hip hop we have to have a 'top five' of these, and I’ve been more than happy to take on the task of compiling this arena quaking hall of fame. Now though In order to fully understand this great saga, the original, ancient legend should be breached:
The Urban Myth - Fresh Fest 1985
Something of a Keakie Gem in this otherwise arena quaking list, Fresh Fest 1985 nonetheless will be keenly remembered by all the real artists and audiences of the time, and definitely should be by us if we are to regard ourselves as hip hop connoisseurs. Hip hop had been born at the end of the 1970s and was truly coming into its own as an art form. Taking place in Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, this super-rare shiny Yu-Gi-Oh card of a concert boasted absolute legends such as s Run-D.M.C., Fat Boys, Whodini and the Fantastic Four + 1 in its lineup.
Researching this early pinnacle of mid-eighties Hip Hop is both genuinely familiar and fascinatingly alien. Hip hop as evolved a lot since then, and arguably devolved in many ways as well. There was an almost utopian freedom of punk-ethic DIY expression present at that time that became beautifully saturated at Fresh Fest.
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