Ice Cube - KDAY Krush Groove - April 28, 2012
An invitation to Ice Cube's gangsta nation is tough to decline, even for those on the right side of the law. Which is why at one point during the Krush Groove hip-hop concert on Saturday a yellow-shirted security guard at the front of the stage momentarily turned his back to a blunt-smoking, capacity crowd to accept a brotherly handshake from "the Don Mega" himself.
One the eve of the 20th commemoration of the L.A. Riots, old-school hip-hop station KDAY took a packed room at the Gibson Amphitheater on chronic-powered time warp to the days of the wild west, headlined by Ice Cube and his cohort W.C. ( that's Dub-C, to you). The under card, featuring Cypress Hill, Mystikal, The Pharcyde, Ras Kass and Masta Ace, inspired plenty of mouth-covered "Oh shit!" exclamations.
For the past decade Cube's sets tend to be of the "best of" variety and Saturday was no different. He came on stage to a crowd of hands twisted into "W's," his jet-puffed 'fro, terminator shades and trademark grimace suggesting little time for pleasantries.
Backed by a Crip-walking, chain swinging W.C. and longtime selector DJ Crazy Toones, the wobbling bass of "Hello" set the tone for a murderous ode to West Coast rap. Choice cuts from Death Certificate, The Predator and Lethal Injection retained their jheri curl bounce.
Though most of the aging acts came on stage with guns blazing, there were moments where the crowd's lackluster reciprocation made the room feel like a senior center (seriously guys, who sits down in the middle of a rap show?). But ticket holders in white tees and Raiders garb snapped into a fine-tuned Greek chorus in the face of "Natural Born Killaz," "Check Yo Self" and other visceral beats. And aside from Cube trotting out his sons OMG and Doughboy during "She Couldn't Make It On Her Own," there was really no reason not to be throwing your hands up for the man who gave an entire generation a reason to shout "Yay-yay!" with some feeling.