As the ‘Gods of Rap’ European tour comes to an end, we look back at their Manchester gig on May 11th, one of the three dates in the UK, to see whether they really did stand above them all in the heavens.
Naming a tour ‘Gods of Rap’ could well and truly be pretentious, if it wasn’t for the fact there was some truth in it. Three old-school artists from the homeground New York that have shaped the hip-hop scene today returned for a special show to celebrate the milestones of their great albums (and for the money!).
De La Soul
The first act on the bill was the alternative and jazzy trio from New York, who celebrated 30 years since they released their debut album ‘3 Feet High and Rising’. The album was like nothing else produced at the time with electronic sampling and jazz used, rather than the drum break that everyone else sampled. However, the overuse of sampling has meant the album hasn’t aged as well in the technological boom because it can’t be streamed anywhere due to copyright issues.
And that was seen in the gig.
As much as Trugoy tried to get the audience hyped, the crowd just stood there like they were a support act and it was half empty at this point anyway. That might have been because they came on at seven but for the pure legacy, they didn’t deserve to be SO overshadowed.
The only time there was some skanking was when they played their hit ‘Me, Myself and I’ but again, they were just treated like a one hit wonder group. Their set only lasted for half an hour, leaving it feeling short and bittersweet.
While for the other two artists this is the first time in decades that they have toured the UK, Public Enemy were just making yet another appearance. I remember seeing them a few years back supporting The Stone Roses at The Etihad Stadium when they seemed so out of place.
The New York group are celebrating 30 years of their second album ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold’ that is regarded the best social commentary release of all time and influenced other artists to speak out against inequalities through music.
However, their set did not do the album any justice.
Chuck D and DJ Lord were the only ones to turn up so it felt more of a solo artist performing their groups tunes because either: they have fallen out or have none of their own. A.K.A Liam and Noel Gallagher.
Yes, it was more hyped than De La Soul but the amount of drunk people complaining in my ear that there was no Flavor Flav e.t.c. said it all really.
Wu Tang Clan
‘Gods of Rap’ was pretty much a Wu Tang gig with De La Soul and Public Enemy as support acts. They were obviously why everyone bought tickets.
‘Enter the Wutang 36 Chambers’ is a legendary album, celebrating it’s 25th birthday, that is just pure raw aggression and spirit that captivated thousands from day one.
The fact Method-Man wasn’t there, what I thought would be a downer for them, didn’t matter as Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s son (RIP Dirt Dog) Young Dirty Bastard stole the show with his energy and rapid bars that got the crowd hyped.
And Wu-Tang were really nothing to fuck with! The stage presence of the 10 man hip-hop was an insane dynamic and hits such as Gravel Pit and Protect Ya Neck were spat from everyone’s lips, while mosh pits formed and bouncing filled the arena.
You can’t forget the pioneer DJ Premier either, who kept the mancunians going during the breaks with some classic old-school bangers that felt like a trip down memory lane.
Yes, you could tell the tour was just for the money through some of the performances and absentees but as a 21 year-old hip-hop fan, the chance to see these legends live was a privilege. And left me wondering who will be on the next bill as they announce Gods of Rap 2 is coming soon!