While today’s theme for my music meeting was tougher to get going than usual, I turned to a picture that sparked this post. The shot that you are viewing was a classic moment for even all those involved. It took place in late August of 2009 in Harlem. The place was Black Star Video on the corner of 128th and Lenox Ave.
It was a muggy day as scores of hip-hop heads stuffed themselves into the already sweltering DVD and music shop to witness the first taping of Kid Capri’s ‘The Lion’s Den’ street MC battles. As I walked in, I saw huge flat screens set up outside the store for those that couldn’t make it inside to witness the verbal mayhem spat by the likes of Head Ice, Cortez and a few other incredible battle MCs. Even thought their talent was the shining light, what was blinding was the stars in attendance that were the judges of the event. You had KRS One, Big Daddy Kane, Raekwon and Styles P as the panel of MC dream crushers.
As the battles got more intense, so did the judging. You really can’t go against KRS telling you that you have to slow down or get your bars up. It’s KRS ya know? The fact that Raekwon is telling you that your lines are ill, you get crazy love in the room after that. But Kane saying that you got slayed is a downer no matter how you slice it.
I was lucky. I got to stand next to these legends the whole afternoon (close to 4 hours of battles, all on my feet). Listening to them come up with their reasoning and choices for winners will always stick with me. The ultimate was when Rakim showed up to judge the last round with the panel. The room erupted in praise for the God MC. DJ Premier had to gather the Holy Trinity of Rap with KRS-One, Kane and Rakim, then Rae and SP said, ‘Fuck that, I’m jumpin’ in this flick, we fans right now!’
Too see the history in that pic made me ask Kane as we left the event, had they all been together like that before? He responded, ‘Not that I can recall. I don’t think we all been in a room like that before.’ I asked about him and Rakim linking and he shook his head, ‘Nah, but it was cool though.’ Rakim was even taken aback by the presence of legend in the place. ‘That was a cool vibe. The battles were dope and we saw some real hip-hop tonight.’
Just seeing this shot on the internet took me to recalling this moment of hip-hop bliss for me. I know Kid Capri has the show coming soon (I saw a dooooope rough of the trailer), but to get those dudes in the room together again on some rapping shit (none of them rhymed…yeah, i wasn’t happy about that) would be that #Ultra that Swizz Beatz be tweetin’ about.
Enjoy these tracks from the great three, all produced by DJ Premier. (Kid Capri, let’s get it going!)