An authentic hip hop crowd came out to the historic Hippodrome Theater last night to salute the Wu-Tang legend Raekwon. The Chef responded to the love by serving up a mixture of classic hits. Driving down from NYC, Rae ran into the typical Friday I-95 south traffic (he was just above DC around 3PM and didn’t make to Richmond until show time, 6 hours later. But even with on an empty stomach and a few sips of Hennessy, the Wu-Tang original rocked the crowd with classic after joint performing mostly hits from his classic “purple tape” aka “Only Built for Cuban Lynx.”
The Richmond crowd, made up of mostly dedicated hip hop heads, most of them wearing the famous Wu-logo somewhere on them, sang along to every track, Criminology, Ice Cream, Rainy Dayz, and of course Triumph. The crowd even sang along to Rae’s verse from the Fat Joe track John Blaze. But Lex Diamonds was not to be outdone by the crowd, Rae spent the last 10 minutes of the show singing classic R&B songs delivered by another legend, the Heavy Hitter DJ Lonnie B.
In what was clearly the most spontaneous part of the night. Rae threw out a series of challenges to Lonnie B, “You got any Earth Wind and Fire? You ain’t got no Earth Wind and Fire,” and few seconds later Lonnie B would hit the chef with his request. “You got any Luther Vandross? George Benson? Tia Maria?” a few seconds later, “Oh, that’s my Sh$t” said the chef, often getting lost in the music. Lonnie B would laugh, and in his classic calm say, I have everything. Rae return the love, “DJ Lonnie B, you an ill brother.”
Between performing classic tracks, Rae took time to thank everyone for the support he has received over his 20 year career. “I thank you Richmond. Virginia has shown me much love, you have allowed me to feed my family, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you.” He also made the pitch for his next studio album “F.I.L.A.” Fly International Luxurious Art” coming this fall.
After the show, Raekwon was calm and gracious. He truly respects the culture of hip hop and understands his place in hip hop history. He said it was unexpected that “Only Built for Cuban Lynx” was accepted the way it’s been over 20 years. Speaking after the show, Rae said, he knew he’d made a great album, but he made the record for street cats, drug dealers, because that was his reality, he had no idea 20 years later, that album would still be alive in the Hall of Fame of hip hop albums.
In addition to DJ Lonnie B, Richmond’s hip hop culture was on display in the form of Charged Up Ent’s Noah-O. Noah opened for Raekwon, performing a few songs from his latest album, “Monument Avenue.”
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