Rappers who give great live performances are rarer than they should be. On the one hand, rapping is exhausting in a way most vocalists don’t have to deal with, on the other most shows I’ve been to have 2 to 4 hype-men and a vocal track to boot, which is not exactly exciting or reeks of effort. It makes the really great live performances that much more special.
I started down this hole via One Song Only leading me to revisit Kanye West’s two SNL performances for “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves”, and also ended up returning to some other favorite live performances.
Dre Dog (as he was known then, Andre Nickatina now) is absolutely killer here, and the lo-fi beat combined with the public access production values (and that dancer!) makes this video one of my aesthetic happy places. As far as I can tell this video (which has been put up and taken down from YouTube multiple times) is the only place this song exists.
This video has immense value as a really weird time capsule (that one time a 17 year old LL Cool J went to a high school auditorium in Maine and very patiently broke down what hip-hop was for a crowd of maybe 4 dozen people who had never seen live rap before) but also a very good example of how good he was at rapping. He is BELLOWING and never gets out of breath. It was a different time when that kind of thing was much more valued but it’s still very impressive.
What are some of your favorite live rap performances/performers?