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photos by Greg Cristman
LL Cool J / Public Enemy at Roseland Ballroom - 6/20/13
LL Cool J is touring behind "Authentic," an album that pairs him with rockers, R&B crooners and, on one song, a country singer. It is a testament to his imagination and creative restlessness, but for many fans, it is a bridge too far.LL Cool J (backed by DJ Z-Trip) brought his Kings of the Mic Tour with fellow rap veterans Public Enemy, Ice Cube, and De La Soul through the NYC-area this week for nostalgia-heavy shows at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (where the above review is from) on Tuesday (6/18) and Roseland Ballroom last night (6/20). Pictures (including one of Public Enemy's setlist) of the Roseland show are in this post, but unfortunately none of De La Soul (they weren't allowing photographers, but played in almost complete darkness anyway). Did you catch either of the shows? If so, what did you think, do they still have it?
His 45-minute King of the Mic set played as a correction: it was nothing but hard rhyme and sweet talk for the ladies, much of it pulled from the first decade of his career. He came out swinging with "Mama Said Knock You Out," sauntered through "Big Ole Butt," feigned exhaustion during "Going Back to Cali" and closed with a thunderous "Rock the Bells" that showcased the unparalleled percussive fury of early rap.
The other acts also returned to the '80s. Public Enemy applied its wall of noise to a furious "Don't Believe the Hype"; Ice Cube, perhaps rap's most vivid storyteller, reanimated "Once Upon a Time in the Projects" and "Gangsta Gangsta." De La Soul bounced through "Buddy," a sly love song from "Three Feet High and Rising," the trio's DayGlo debut. [NJ.com]
More pictures from Roseland Ballroom below...
LL Cool J