“The other night when I was researching what was going to be discussed today I came across a passage wrote down, I think it really simplifies what the human administrative is talking about and I learned that all things must come to an end, it is an inevitable part of the cycle of resistance, all things must conclude…” (Interlude, Jay-Z – The Black Album, 2003)
August 17, 1995. I remember that night. My moms went out raving. I was left to look after my younger sisters. We were playing Sonic & Knuckles or Streets of Rage 3 or Road Rash 2 on Sega Mega Drive. But at 11pm, I didn’t set the video tape for some reason. Usually I did it without fail around that time on a Saturday night. Volume turned up to 63 on my cable box. Maybe because I only recorded music videos from The Box: Music Television You Control or Yo! MTV Raps. On this night, it was a celebration and a sad moment… it was the last ever episode. What I saw was a bunch of MCs partying and freestyling away and I felt mixed emotions like, it can’t end like this!!! And losing my mind to see so many artists showing love on one stage.
END OF AN ERA
A few years ago, a group of Birmingham DJs known as ‘A Few Good Men’ came up with a conceptual hip hop event where they pay homage to hip hop’s greatest era, while playing videos of today that would have met that criteria of Yo! MTV Raps. But then for reasons unknown but only a select few, they decided to make this jam the last one, and how ironic is it that they held it 19 years later.
Revelers were urged to arrive early to avoid disappointment because Edoubled & Croc were going in dropping gems from the get go…. no half-steppin, no warm up… no stretches in the joints & muscles. It was straight in the gym, lifting heavyweights like their name was Terry Crews in ‘My Wife & Kids’. I arrived at the venue about 10.30pm and it was already a capacity crowd…. INDEED.
Shout out to Union Blak for his 20 minute set. He was that artist that if you didn’t know, GET TO KNOW. That was the case for a lot of people in the building. An artist with bangers under his belt, he didn’t look appreciated by the crowd, which is a terrible shame, the US Hip Hop artists say that when they come over here, they are loved a lot more than they do back home. UK artists still have to swim in dirt to get the love over here. What makes matters worse, when Blak decided to turn his attention to the ladies in attendance, the mic thought it was a good idea to play up on him.
Highlights included the moment when Hare & Hounds favourite classics were blasted through the speaker… When Wu-Tang Clan ‘Proteck Ya Neck’ dropped, the capacity crowd went crazy, apart from one middle-aged man who was standing near us who was shouting for ‘Gravel Pit’ on the top of his lungs. Bless him…but in the words of Wade Barrett from the WWE: “I’m Afraid I’ve Got Some Bad News!!” WE DON’T DO THAT OVER HERE! ‘WALKABOUT’ IS THAT WAY!!! I saw the guy sit down in total disappointment. It’s also worth noting that we don’t do ‘The Real Slim Shady’, ‘Stan’, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, ‘Hot in Herrrre’ and DEFINITELY NOT ‘Return of the Mack’ up in Hare & Hounds!
That was the whole idea of the Yo! MTV Raps dances in the first-place, to steer away from the typical tunes you always hear. Not many places would play tunes like Pharcyde -Drop, A Tribe Called Quest – Award Tour, Jeru The Damaja – Come Clean and Naughty By Nature – Uptown Anthem.
Second 20 minute set came from Mad Flow and his performance was great as always. The mic equipment seemed to be kinder to him, so did the crowd, particularly when the previous track that played before he came on (Common – The Light) inspired him to pull off one of his trademark beat boxing.
Another highlight was Edoubled up to his usual tricks again, because he asked people before hand to request songs they wanna hear for the last jam, and claimed that Croc himself requested by a song by some girl named Izzy Azalea??? I’ve never heard of her – have you? Answers on a postcard please!!!
As we entered the last half an hour of the finale, the crowd went for that last burst of energy with the 80s Hip Hop, with Mad Flow proclaiming that Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions… – is the best album ever made. You wanna argue with him? Nah – me neither!
The most requested tune of the night was saved til last: A Tribe Called Quest F/ Leaders of the New School – Scenario, and a final mosh pit erupted. All Hare & Hounds needed was the wacky background animation from the Scenario video because that’s what that was. In the end, it was mixed emotions in the building, a combination of relief, regret, exhaustion and adrenaline.
“(You don’t know what you got until you lose it…) See they ain’t knowin though (They say you don’t know what you got until it’s gone) That’s what my mother used to always tell me…” (Busta Rhymes, Til It’s Gone, 2002)
Now reality has hit me that they may never be a jam like that again, I fear that I may have to hang up my dancing shoes for good. But as one door closes, will another door open? Already there are rumblings of the rebirth of the New Jack Swing (NJS4E) dances. However I have no sympathy for those who always say ‘oh I missed it, I’ll make the next one’ or ‘there’s nowhere to go’ because there is a good chance that they like that Janet Jackson track ‘Got Til It’s Gone’ and they never really took heed of those words. Will there ever be another jam like this further down the road? Will they be renamed ‘Yo!’ and focus more on the newer hip hop tracks? The only answer I got to that is stay tuned. To those who did go to at least one Yo! MTV Raps jam, you can look back now and tell VJ Edoubled, Psykhomantus, VJ Croc, Miss C Brown, Mad Flow & Union Blak: ‘Thanks or the memories’.
MIKE DOGG – RePPiN4U