Rakim / Kid Capri Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON - September 24

After a tediously long wait for any action to hit the stage and a weak sound system playing muffled hip-hop classics as the restless crowd twiddled their thumbs, the sound of Gang Starr’s "DWYCK” rang loud and clear as the curtains opened. Though it might not have been apparent at first as to why this Premier classic was dropped, Kid Capri casually walked onto the stage just in time to cut up Greg Nice's "peace to Red Alert and Kid Capri” portion with flare. Capri then continued to absolutely murder the decks with enthusiasm and intensity, screaming on the mic in-between recorded disco and funk jewels, getting the crowd completely wound up for their god. Capri didn’t do his solo thing for very long, as Rakim emerged from the back of the stage, white towel dangling from his head under a baseball cap like the great Pharaoh of hip-hop that he is. Capri stuck around as the disc jock of the evening, which was a smart move, as he compensated for Rakim’s expected lack of animation — he’s never been one to bounce around on stage, Rakim simply tears up mics. Arguably the greatest MC of all time, Rakim began flipping through the Rolodex of anthems with ease as he brought things back to 1986 with classics such as "Paid in Full” and "You Know I Got Soul,” as well as more modern gems, such as the Premier-produced "It’s Been a Long Time” and a single new joint from a grossly overdue album that sounded rather hot. He wasn’t shy about reminding people that the joints he did with Eric B. were the foundation for hip-hop today, but any references to his former partner lyrically were changed to "Kid Capri” instead because we all know the R "isn’t down with Eric B. no more.” The highlight of the night was simply witnessing the legend on stage flawlessly doing his thing, exposing the current state of hip-hop MCs as weak and proving that his 20-year-old rhyme book still crushes the majority of current rappers. The way he interacted with the crowd between songs, balancing his royal status with equal parts praise and thankfulness towards the fans, was heart-warming, as those in attendance were blessed by a rare appearance by one of the greatest of all time.