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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Angelina
Robert Scheer

Hi NRG Crisis: Angelina gets open at the Boo Bomb.

Fakin' the Funk:
Yes, I went to the Boo Bomb show. You gotta problem with that?

IT WAS AN OUTDOOR-festival organizer's worst nightmare. Banned from Cinco de Mayo festivities, the SoFA Festival, county fairs and all other sponsorships, dance-music station Wild 94.9 filled the San Jose Arena last Thursday with the most reviled life form on earth--its listeners--for the soldout Boo Bomb show. What Cinco de Mayo organizers would have seen, had they braved the trip, might change their tune--lots of kids partying down peacefully to the sounds of Ice Cube, Immature, Angelina and many more: well, sort of. One of the first lessons you learn when doing this job: nobody is safe from technical difficulties. For four and a half hours, roadies handed performers faulty mics with directions to rock it, regardless, in 20 minutes or less. Acts were drawing microphones like sticks, the main vocalist usually ending up with the shorted-out one.

Luckily, the sets were so brief that the artists rarely wore out their welcome. The condensed version worked for Rome, who rocked the arena in a Keith Sweat-like lesson in histrionics. SFP had decent chops and a hype stage show. Angelina was impressive for her 15 minutes of fame, closing with "Tide Is High." Roger and Zapp provided what must have been a strange interlude for the crowd: actual instruments being played. The rest of the Boo Bombers sang/rapped over a DAT or a DJ.

The So So Def All-Stars, starring Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat, were just so-so. Da Brat-tat-tat-tat turned eardrums into mush by overcompensating for her lame microphone, often forgetting her lines altogether. The All-Stars had the distinction of thanking everyone who helped their single "My Boo" go gold--and then not singing it. You're welcome, jerks. R&B went over big with the girls, but even patented smoothies Immature left folks sleeping. Others, like 98 Degrees ("Invisible Man") and Nu Flavor, were so syrupy, they could give Cantopop cavities.

Ice Cube, once thought of as the voice of power, predated Tupac's path yet his affiliation with the Westside Connection is too territorial, too self-congratulatory. Pac wanted to change the world; Cube is content to big-up his wests-i-i-ide, and that shit gets old. But Cube hasn't gone soft since starring in films like Anaconda. His set was exciting--if you haven't seen him before. He rapped through such old hits as "Check Yo Self," "The Nigga Ya Love Ta Hate," "It Was a Good Day," "Gangstas Make the World Go 'Round" and "Bow Down." Cube, however, is still doing that "fuck you Ice Cube" routine and selling $25 shirts from his Predator days, which left E-40 to bring it all home. The Forty Watter packed the stage with his crew and, by dumb luck, ended up with the bum microphone. By the fourth song, without once hearing 4-0's crazy-ass flow, I stepped out. Off the heezay, fasheezay? Not tonight it wasn't.

The most interesting artists were the ones who couldn't make it. During the show, the acts would play Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac's music as a transition between songs, and the audience reacted harder to "Hypnotize" and "California Love" than to the whole of any of the sets. It's depressing to think what effect the men could have had on the future of hip-hop music had they not been gunned down.

Driven to Distraction

DJ fans should check out the Ninjatune posse (starring DJ Food, Coldcut and my favorite discovery from CMJ, Kid Koala) blending at a huge Halloween Tribal Massive rave/dance thing somewhere in the Bay Area on Oct. 31. Call the information line at 408/236-2205.

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From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 1997 issue of Metro.

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