Concert Reviews

Review: DJ Premier, DJ Vajra and DJ Mu$a rock Shoe Shine 7, at City Hall, 11/19/11

DJ PREMIER at CITY HALL | 11/19/2011
The masses came together last night to pay respect to one of hip-hop's living legends, DJ Premier at City Hall. Making his way cooly onto the stage to screams of "Preemo," DJ Premier got right to work with "Nas is Like." Half-man, half amazing, indeed, the New York-by-way-of-Texas DJ/producer gave the people what they wanted, and then some.

Premier is more than a DJ, of course. Also a producer and instrumentalist, he's best known as one half of Gang Starr, and so it was only fitting that a prominent place in his set was dedicated to his partner, the dearly departed Guru. Incorporating the audience into the show as any good crowd pleaser does, Premier led the audience through a chant of the fallen MC's name, along with the line in "Full Clip" that shouts out Big L as well.

Using the "Rest in Peace" transition, a tribute to another recently fallen soldier was one of the most moving of the evening. Releasing the beautiful saxophone intro for "T.R.O.Y," Premier let the lyrics from recently laid to rest rapper, Heavy D's monster hit, "Nuttin' But Love" ride out while the crowd rapped along.

DJ Premier did more than just play songs last night; he interacted with the crowd, commented on the art (he showed particular love to the custom DJ Premier basketball backboard), and took every party-goer down memory lane with hip-hop's finest. And he transformed the room into a Brooklyn basement when he dropped "Hypnotize," with everyone screaming louder than ever "if the head right, Biggie there every night."

Premier, who's worked with almost every artist you can think of hip-hop, left no stone unturned last night. Showing off his scratching skills, beat juggling and a slew of other DJ tricks, Premier rocked his set with the posture of a pro, all while showing love to the artists he worked with.

Earlier in the evening, DJ Vajra, fresh off his win as the DMC World Championship, came out to welcome screams and applause from the Denver crowd as he prepared to usher in party fandom for DJ Premier. His set was all over the board, from completely new music (Watch the Throne, in particular) to Michael Jackson, which he fittingly used a line from Jay-Z as a transition. A likely highlight was Busta Rhymes "Jump," that had the crowd so hyped, the floor was shaking.

Playing host and DJ aficionado all evening was DJ Mu$a, who made sure to mention that Vajra is his favorite DJ. The seventh installment of Shoe Shine brought together a mash-up of artists who came to check out the work of creatives in the scene, and blended with hip-hop hooligans, who all came to marvel at the amazing turntable work of Premier. Hip-hop at its finest.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: It's DJ fucking Premier, yo. The greatest of all time! By the Way: Everybody loves Vajra. Random Detail: The excitement in the room was palpable last night; there was not a single moment when the sea of hands on the City Hall dance floor wasn't waving with glee.

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