Monday, August 24, 2015


Andrew Patton and I at soundcheck for Up In Smoke 2000.
In 2000 I went to the 'Up In Smoke' tour at the Molson Amp in Toronto.  It still stands as the greatest live show I've ever seen.  The production.  The vibe.  The attitude and of course the music.  The show ended with a semi N.W.A. reunion featuring Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and Snoop standing in for Easy-E.  This is the actual opening from that night -watch it now.

I worked at Universal at the time and had the pleasure of watching Dr. Dre soundcheck that afternoon.  He walked all the way back to the lawns with his platinum plated microphone to test levels. A master of sound who was meticulous with it for every single show.

That was just the opening! Eminem, Warren G and Devin The Dude opened the night before these legends event hit on stage.  Holy shit did that ever set the tone for an incredible night.

Like many I went to see the movie 'Straight Outta Compton' this past weekend and LOVED IT.  I was a mere twelve years old when both 'Straight Outta Compton' and 'Easy-Duz-It' came out.  These albums were dangerous and scary as fuck - but my friends and I were hooked.  We all knew the words to these songs inside out.  I can still rap (I won't) every single lyric to Easy-E's 'Radio' or 'We Want Easy'.

For me the next few years would be all Brit Pop and Hip Hop aka Rap music.  It was a backdrop while I skated the mean streets of Pickering.  Truth be told they were the furthest thing from mean - but skateboarding in strip mall parking lots with a ghetto blaster playing albums like these and then Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic' and Ice Cube's 'Predator' made it feel that way.

Found this in my parents basement :)
The movie probably wasn't even close to being in my top 10 favourite movies of all time - but I was still perfect.  Perfect because it invoked great memories of my youth coupled with important memories of historic times that my generation grew up in.  It's actually sad to see that racism is still as rampant as it was at that crazy time in 1991.  I'm pretty sure that if you were to turn on CNN right now that it won't look too different from the news stories at that time.

I love Dre's music and production but for me it was all about Ice Cube and Easy-E.  The movie solidified Ice Cube as the main rapper.  He was the writer and lyricist that made this all come together.  His career may be very different today - but this guy was a real gangsta.  A true G.

Here's a Spotify playlist featuring some of my all time favourite songs related to Compton entitled - Straight Outta Compton Tunes

Thanks for reading.


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