De La Soul
With DJs Heron, Self Born, and Ynot
Opening set by Problem Kids
The Stage Miami
Thursday, December 5, 2013
"We are De La Soul! And we been doin' this a long fuckin' time," MC Dave, AKA Trugoy the Dove, hollered, smiling and bouncing around the stage at The Stage Miami. "Can we take you back to that long fuckin' time for a minute?"
Last night, almost a full quarter-century after Big D and his De La homies, Posdnuos and Maseo, released the still-essential 3 Feet High and Rising, they rolled into the Design District's best club at about 2 a.m. for a Basel 2013 house party, putting the hip and the hop back into rap.
Like Crossfade's newest buddy, Darron, said while smoking a fattie, it was "a late-late-night, hell-yeah, no-bullshit, good fucking time."
As is usually the case with The Stage's classic hip-hop shows, whether Raekwon or KRS-One or Mobb Deep, the De La crowd was made up of true rap heads and mostly grown folks.
In fact, between slugging shots of booze and dropping deep cuts, DJ Self Born unscientifically attempted a census, asking, "Who's over 25? How about 30? And 35?"
With every uptick, the audience's screams got louder. But the scream-o-meter didn't actually peak till the De La Soul dudes started their set and Dave took up the project, snickering, "Now, I know you are adults. But how many of y'all are old-ass motherfuckers like me?"
Being 45 like Dave, though, can be a good thing in hip-hop these days.
You're old enough to not give a fuck about trends. You're experienced enough to actually own the stage and rock the microphone. And you've lived enough to spit something besides formulaic rhymes about drugs, cars, bitches, beef, and money.
Of course, it's not entirely an age thing. So, in the words of Maseo, last night's show was one for the kids, the grown folks, "everybody who's 'bout real hip-hop culture."
Warming up the crowd with shout outs to De La's fellow Native Tongues crew members and a selection of Tribe Called Quest cuts ("Can I Kick It?," "Bonita Applebum," "Scenario"), Maseo set a loose and natural vibe before Dave or Pos had even stepped to the mic.
But when the MCs finally did go in on their first verses, rollicking through 3 Feet's timeless "Take It Off," the old-school spirit only got ten times stronger.
They got real with 2004's "Grind Date." They dedicated "Oooh" to "all the people in Miami holding it down." And it was obvious they were loving it as much as the fans.
"De La Soul," Pos told us, "is truly blessed to be here after 25 years. And all we want you to do is have fun."
All night, De La was on a search for real hip-hop. Literally.
Throughout the show, the MCs clowned with the crowd, leading call-and-response exercises, trying to find it. Over to the left? Over to the right? Well, it definitely wasn't down the middle.
"It's over here," Pos insisted, because that was his side of the stage. "These are the people who got it."
"Nah, nah, nah," Dave shook his head. "It's over here."
Then, finally, Pos reached into the crowd, lifted the lid right off a guy's head, and declared: "Oh, here it is. Real hip-hop. It's in this hat."
The De La dudes took us on a tour of "Potholes in My Lawn," taught a crash course on Funkadelic and "all that funky funk music," demonstrated how to survive when "Stakes Is High," side-stepped through "A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays,'" and refused to deny "Me, Myself and I ."
But the most "extra, extra, extra rare" moment of the show, as Dave put it, came when Native Tongues member Monie Love popped out of the crowd for a cameo on 3 Feet's "Buddy."
Together, they ripped it out. Then they hugged it out.
At this point, according to the script and setlist, De La was done. But they weren't quite ready to go. And neither were the fans.
"That's all we had planned," Pos admitted, smiling. "But," he asked, "what else do you wanna hear?"
The whole place shouted requests and the MCs tried to sort through them, delivering verdicts of "Nah" and "OK" and "Maybe," before settling on a couple last cuts: 1993's "Ego Trippin'" and 2004's "Rock Co.Kane Flow."
Almost as an epilogue to the night, the De La Dudes condensed that final track, spitting truth. "Up in them 5-star tellies saying two mic rhymes/Be them average MCs of the times/Unlike them, we craft gems ... Now quit now before we pour/That sure shot pure rock co.kane flow."
And yes, that was the end. No encores. Because it'd been loose and natural and near perfect. A late-late-night, hell-yeah, no-bullshit, good fucking time
"Thank you, Miami," Dave shouted. "Thanks for hanging out till fucking," he checked his watch and laughed, "3 o'clock in the morning!
"We appreciate, y'all. For real."
De La Soul's Setlist:
-"Take It Off"
-"Potholes in My Lawn"
-"Stakes Is High"
-"A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays'"
-"Me, Myself and I"
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-"Rock Co.Kane Flow"