Photography by Ceethreedom / Review by Danny Baraz
When hip hop enthusiasts talk East Coast / West Coast, the names Tupac and Biggie often follow but in the 90s, there was another, quieter, less flashy movement in the underground. The scene was quieter when it came to music videos on a boat, surrounded by hood rats doing gangster shit but deafening when it came to talent and a true, unyielding love and respect for the art form of rap. Real B-boys, paint, pop-locking, MCing and at the epicenter of it all … the DJ.
Los Angeles: most people in the world, even if they claim Los Angeles or that they are REAL hip hop heads, have never heard of The Good Life Cafe but that’s where groups like Jurassic 5, Beat Junkies, Freestyle Fellowship, Medusa and a hundred other battle rappers and DJ’s first started. A small, unassuming health food store in Leimert Park became THE most important place in the Los Angeles hip hop scene.
All of a sudden, you looked around this city and there were battle MC’s and crews everywhere. It was the other side of NWA and the rap game on the West Coast. The side that got respect through MC battles, not gun battles. True artists.
On the Westside of LA, it was Dilated Peoples and Likwit Crew. Mike Perretta, aka Evidence of Dilated came out of Venice and hooked up with Rakaa Iriscience and DJ Babu from the Beat Junkies and they have since traveled the world, 100 times over, gaining respect from hip hop heads all across this planet.
I could’ve simply written a review about the “Word of Mouth” reunion show/tour with J5, Dilated, Beat Junkies and everyones favorite master of ceremonies, Supernatural and be done with it. It was an AMAZING show at the Greek Theater in LA on the night of a full moon. It wouldn’t have been enough though. Since this golden era of hip hop in the 90’s, rap has been a barren wasteland of hooks and club bangers. Until Odd Future exploded on the scene a few years ago, it didn’t seem like hip hop had anything new, creative or authentic to offer anyone. It’s important to me that people acknowledge this era, this scene and these crews as the most influential in Los Angeles Hip Hop.
On Saturday night, J5 and Dilated opened the time capsule in Los Angeles and reminded us all why the west coast scene was one of the most vibrant, authentic scenes hip hop has ever known.
Dilated really only played a few songs off the first two albums, The Platform and Expansion Team. That disappointed me a bit but I also understood that Evidence has been pretty prolific outside of Dilated so wasn’t too pissed when he took set time to play cuts off the Weatherman and Cats and Dogs solo albums.
Jurassic was perfect. Maybe a little too perfect. Suspiciously perfect but I still get chills when Chali 2na’s verses drop. One of the smoothest voices in hip hop.
Between the two headliners, Supernatural breaking off miles of freestyle and the Beat Junkies reminding us exactly what can be done with a cluster of turntables, “The Word of Mouth” show over delivered on skill and real hip hop hoopla.
Check out our photos below of Jurassic 5 with Dilated Peoples, Beat Junkies and MC Supernatural at the Greek!
Want more photos? Check out the photo gallery below!
Pingback: Should Smartphones be allowed in the photo pit? | Grimy Goods