Paid Dues Underground Hip Hop Festival Kicks Off In New York [Exclusive Coverage]

Posted 8 years ago by
Download DJBooth's new App, The PLUG By David Ponte

New York -- DJBooth was in attendance last Wednesday, as the SanDisk Paid Dues concert series kicked off in New York City. Located in the heart of Times Square, the relatively small Nokia Theatre played host for the first of four national stops that include Ft. Lauderdale, Denver (June 13) and San Francisco (June 14).

The independent hip-hop festival, which is currently on its third annual run, featured underground and independent hip-hop at its finest with Rakim, GZA, Blackalicious, Murs & 9th Wonder, Buckshot (Boot Camp Clik), Supernatural and Scratch, Kidz in the Hall, and Yak Ballz all making appearances. Kicking off the evening was new school duo Kidz In The Hall. Unlike many hip-hop shows, however, the Chicago/New Jersey connection started their set right on time. Since this is a rarity in the urban concert world, we cannot tell you if they properly rocked the mic, but if you’ve listened to their new album “The In Crowd” it’s safe to assume they did.

Up next was Scratch from The Legendary Roots Crew, who began beat boxing over an older recording, while scratching on top of a multi-layered beat that sounded practically identical to the actual song. He followed with a rendition of “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West, as well as other recognized work by the Neptunes. Joined on stage by emcee Supernatural, this was the beginning of an evening that true hip-hop heads could really appreciate.

Buckshot spittin' rhymes

After a 20 minute break, Buckshot was next up to bat and his performance was possibly the best that the evening had to offer. The crowd, who was nicely boozed up by the time his set began, started to get amped as Buck slung himself in and out of old school records. In the middle of a Black Moon record, KRS-One appeared on stage as a surprise guest and together they performed “The Bridge Is Over” and “The South Bronx.” Buckshot finished with material from his Boot Camp Click days, in addition to a few joints off his most recent collaborative album with 9th Wonder, “The Formula,” but the best was already behind him.

The host of the evening’s festivities, Murs, followed Buckshot and began his set with “Bad Man” and “The Rain.” Without a hype man alongside, Murs’ rhymes were astoundingly clear; surprising considering the immense amount of marijuana it is assumed Murs enjoyed before arriving on stage. The Gift of Gab, a.k.a. Blackalicious, went on shortly after Murs and performed a short set as well that left much to be desired. Black’s breath control while on stage was completely lost and whether close to the stage or in the back by the bar; it was extremely difficult to understand a word he was spitting.

GZA on the mic

Ending the evening were performances from GZA, who was joined on stage by Ghostface for a rendition of “4th Chamber” (from Liquid Swords) that had everyone in the house throwing their W’s in the air, and the legendary Rakim who is the tour’s headlining performer. If you deem yourself a lover of hip-hop, and have yet to see Rakim perform live, we suggest you make your way to Denver or San Fran for one of the remaining two shows.

Brian "Z" Zisook contributed to this report.

Kidz In The Hall   Rakim   9th Wonder & Buckshot  

Get The PLUG app by DJBooth and get the best hip-hop writing and news delivered daily.

Featured Video

Hip Hop News

This Drake & Kanye West Collabo Album Might Actually Happen

A Drake and Kanye West collaborative album isn't actually going to happen, right? Right? Read More
Posted about 3 hours ago by DJ Z

Anderson .Paak Drops Truth Bomb on Lil Yachty: “Real Artists Are Students of the Game”

Lil Yachty might be young, but in order to remain relevant in rap he must do his homework. Read More
Posted 3 hours ago by DJ Z

Post Malone Offers Unnecessary Apology For “Stoney” Album Delay

The Universal Republic signee did the right thing, but entitled fans are the real problem. Read More
Posted 5 hours ago by DJ Z

Mac Miller’s “The Divine Feminine” Album Is About The Stages Of Love

Love is the concept that Mac Miller will be exploring on his forthcoming "The Divine Feminine" album. Read More
Posted about 2 days ago by Yoh

Young Thug’s “Jeffery” Cover Isn’t Shocking, Stop It

Young Thug is wearing a dress, it's not a big deal guys. Read More
Posted 2 days ago by Yoh

Young Thug “No, My Name is JEFFERY” Cheat Code Album Review

The artist either formerly or still known as Young Thug presents his most compelling work of the year. Read More
Posted 2 days ago by Brendan V
Sample Text - Sample Link




Discover the best new songs, videos, and albums added to the Booth.