Concert Reviews

Ten best hip hop shows of 2011 in Denver

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10: De La Soul at Cervantes' De La Soul tore the roof off of Cervantes for a journey through their impeccable catalogue. Energetic, poised, and precise, De La pleased the crowd with classics like, "Pot Holes In My Lawn" "Ego Trippin," and "Shopping Bags." Not to mention a rousing performance from Dres of Black Sheep to open, and a set of all new music from Foodchain. It was robust, rowdy and live as hell.

9. Method Man/KRIT/Curren$y at the Ogden* Method Man never loses his luster, penchant for crowd surfing, or his rhyme slaying ability. That gruff voice, made even more rough by the weed smoke he ingested with glee on stage, ricochet around the Ogden Theatre and wrapped around classic Wu-tang joints, and Meth's own hits. Beyond the headliner, it was KRIT who also stole the show with his southern charm and enthusiastic performance.

8. Raekwon at Summit Music Hall Raekwon, the Chef made several appearances in Denver this year but his packed show at Summit Music Hall in May was his best performance. Getting intimate with the audience by talking about the Wu-tang Clan and leading an a capella version of, "Incarcerated Scarfaces" Raekwon's performance stamina through the roof.

7. ?uestlove/DJ Jazzy Jeff at Beta The two musical phenoms came together for an ad-lib style music set. Jazzy Jeff rocked the tables and ?uestlove provided live drumming and instrumentation for a crowd pleasing performance of hip-hop classics. This March show at Beta was the second time the two performed this style set for the fans and their selection was rare and rhythmic.

6. Waka Flocka Flame at Club Arriba Mr. Flame brought his wall-thumping bass and shaking dreadlocks to Club Arriba in May for a show that stands out as one of the most impressive. The building was packed and full of folks screaming the Waka encouraged blood gang salutation, "suwoop!" Mr. Flame, for his part gave his all and then some for chaotic performances of, "No Hands," "O Let's Do It," and others from his high strung southern catalogue.

* An earlier version of this piece indicated Freddie Gibbs was on the Curren$y/Method Man/Big K.R.I.T. bill at the Ogden; he was not.

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Ru Johnson
Contact: Ru Johnson