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Pop Music Review

Hip-Hop Alive, Well and 'Wild' at Anniversary Jam

June 20, 1998|SOREN BAKER

The "Wild Style '98 Reunion Jam" on Thursday at the Hollywood Athletic Club was designed to salute the 15th anniversary of the release of the seminal hip-hop film "Wild Style."

But the entertainment wasn't limited to the screening of the film, which brought a sense of sweet nostalgia to the room as viewers got to witness anew the early innocence of many of the founding elements of contemporary hip-hop--from rapping and break-dancing to deejaying and graffiti.

The live portion of the evening was equally engaging as some of the early stars of New York hip-hop, including Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, demonstrated the spirit and skills that launched this culture.

Fab 5 Freddie, who was featured in the movie and went on to host "Yo! MTV Raps," emceed the "Reunion Jam," overseeing the six-hour affair's rap and break-dancing segments.

Of the rap sequence, which ran for more than two hours, the highlight came when Blow, Grandmaster Caz, Prince Whipper Whip, Busy Bee, Rahiem, Donald D and Mellow Man Ace took turns at the end of the night rapping on stage as Grandmaster Flash cut and scratched through a number of modern hip-hop instrumentals.

Crazy Legs dominated the break-dancing portion by not only demonstrating his typical world-class moves, but also by encouraging numerous members of the audience to show off their skills on the dance floor.

For a music that was consistently written off as a novelty trend for years by the music world, the evening was a warm tribute to the legacy and continued good health of hip-hop.

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