For me, not many nights can stack up to this one. TASTE, NEWPOP (Me & Texas), Frank 151, Mel Cole (Village Slum), Dutch, Adam Deitch, and so on. All there. All sweating. It was hot. Africa hot and DJ Equal was cooking up the usual hot shit. And when you forgot why you were there in the first place, from seemingly nowhere, The Gza stabs thru the crowd and steps on stage quickly and with authority. He sits by his son at the back of the stage. See, on this night, Pharoahe Monch would introduce him and that he did. The veteran Organized Confusion lyricist is a righteous cat and gives out the well deserved praises before stepping off stage.

Gza grabs the mic. “15 years we been doing this shit”, and without a moment to waste – bass and snare rip and the Wu signs go up. Heads nod. The crowd moves in. The stage is packed. The club is packed. It seems to be getting hotter. The drums are big and analog. Satisfied smirks fill the sea of people now tuning into every drop of verbal mastery Gza is hitting them with. It felt good. Real good. I was home. This is why I do this shit. Me and Dutch positioned ourselves on Gza’s right. Mel Cole on the other side and Texas dead in front. Gza had like 4 video guys there. Obviously school kids. They were being schooled again. This is our house and the vet photogs were doing that thing. Muscling each other around like B-Boys battling. Anxious to get that shot of this legend. And then, just when you were content, a figure is stealthily slipping thru the crowd. Head down and fitted cap on tight concealing his face from most. He steps on stage. The Chef. Raekwon. Pow. Now, its fuckin on. The crowd erupts. Gza steps back and lets his team mate murder it. One by one, the classics keep coming. You say “fuck the 90’s?”. Nah. Not tonight you don’t. Dutch yells out, “if you don’t like this shit, get the fuck out” and the crowd agrees. This is New York Hip Hop at its apex.

In closing, Rae yells out, “If you like wack Hip Hop keep your hands down” and then continues to tell cats that “New York Hip Hop is kinda stale right now”. It’s obvious this troubles him. He is a New Yorker. He shares that pride in being a native like all New Yorkers do.


For more pics of the night, goto my site: PHOTOBYTONE.COM


Photographer. The NEW POP, join the fam.

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  1. Not sure if anye one gives a fuck, but seems like Gza likes that shirt. He had that same one on when he performed here in Copenhagen, Denmark with the Wu last week (and it gives me a chance to link to my pictures)

    Check it out:

    And Tone, great fucking pictures! First time seeing your work. Came here via Mel. Sorry to hear about your cam. Hope you raise enuff dough to get a new one soon. What equiptment are you using btw?

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