“Kings Of The Mic” at DTE Energy Music Theatre – Clarkston, MI, 6-26-2013
Yeah, we’re just a little bit behind schedule in publishing our coverage of last month’s “Kings Of The Mic” tour stop at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, which featured the classic and masterful Hip-Hop stylings of LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and De La Soul. What can we say? Our schedule’s been hectic…..
De La came correct with an opening set that suffered only slightly from a lack of any light show whatsoever. Guess that’s the price you pay as the first act of four on a midsummer night. Original Public Enemy members Chuck D and Flavor Flav did their thing with Flav periodically showing off his versatility on both the bass guitar and drums. (Click here to see a portion of their triumphant performance on the main stage of Hart Plaza during “Movement Electronic Music Festival” 2012). Ice Cube, our favorite MC of the evening, brought it, sharing the stage with a skilled guest spitter who’s name we’ve yet to learn. Our investigations continue. We’re hoping some knowledgeable reader will step up and fill us in on the name of the dude Ice Cube saw fit to share his spotlight with. Cube gets extra credit is for his show’s hilarious props: two eight-foot high gang signs (see photo at bottom of page). Awesome. Finally, we were extremely gratified to see one of our favorite underground DJs, Z-Trip, deservedly sharing the stage with a legend, East Coast Rap progenitor LL Cool J, at last bringing his singularly skillful turntablism to a truly national audience. While we are generally NOT accustomed to being blown away by world-class musicianship at arena sized Rap shows, we are of the opinion that Z-Trip’s otherworldly skill on the decks brings a higher level of credibility to the staged performance of Hip-Hop, a genre that, while usually fun, often (but not always) resembles karaoke when experienced in a “live” setting. (Click here and here to see a couple of other stellar DJ Z-Trip performances recorded by I Love Detroit Michigan at other area venues over the last few years). Oh yeah, and just for the record, LL Cool J’s live rhymes were completely on point, too. Click on the images below to see two of our favorite moments of the evening: 1) the DJ Z-Trip heavy opening to LL Cool J’s arrival on stage followed by his first two songs “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Jack The Ripper”, and 2) LL and Chuck D on stage together for an excellent rendition of one of LL’s latest singles, “Whaddup”.
Worth noting: the following stop on the “Kings Of The Mic” tour, just a few days after the DTE show, was at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, which goes to show just how mainstream the formerly counter-cultural genre of Hip-Hop has become. Down here at the office, we’re imagining how the Mt. Pleasant show might’ve gone over in the late 80s, back when we first heard N.W.A.’s “F*** The Police” and Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”. ~I♥DM