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Arts and Entertainment

Hip Hop Live Tour Featuring Little Brother, David Banner, Talib Kweli w/ Rhythm Roots Allstars @ HOB, 9/30/08

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For the second straight year, the Hip Hop Live tour, which teamed up top emcees with the instrumentation of ten plus piece band, rolled into the House of Blues. The lineup for this year's tour featured Little Brother, David Banner and Talib Kweli. Once again the band backing the three acts was the Los Angeles-based Rhythm Roots Allstars.

Just like many other hip-hop shows, the stage on this night was very crowded. Unlike your typical hip-hop show, however, almost everyone found on stage actually had a purpose for being on stage. When you've got a ten piece band, complete with multiple percussionists, guitars, bass and a horn section, real-estate on even a stage as large as the HOB's is at a premium.

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The lack of space on stage had little effect on David Banner, who was sandwiched betwen the sets of Little Brother and Kweli. The man who informed us that "Stuntin' is a Habit," spent more time off of the stage than he did on the stage. Every member of the packed House of Blues crowd was given the opportunity to get up close and personal with Banner. Some might have gotten a little too personal, including the female audience member who found herself on her back on the receiving end of sweaty dry humping by David Banner during "Like a Pimp," or the large audience member whose shoulders served as a seat for Banner, but neither seemed to mind. It must have been Banner's charm.

Banner's charm along with his energy and enthusiasm were on display throughout his 40 minute set. The Mississippi native not only busted out all of his hits including "Get Like Me" and "Suicide Doors" but he also used the help of the band to channel Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit." Prior to kicking the show into high gear, Banner informed the audience that he was going to take us on a trip. He was not lying. A trip with the perfect mixture of chaos and charisma actually would have been a more accurate description.


Talib Kweli had the tough task of following up Banner. Where Banner's set was heavy on bounce and seemingly light on structure, Kweli brought a set that was the perfect compliment to the man who took the stage prior to him.

Kweli, a rapper who has performed alongside bands before, seemed to gel the best with Rhythm Roots Allstars. A seasoned veteran who has shared the stage with the likes of The Roots and Soulive, Kweli brought a well organized set that tapped into hits like "Get By" and "Hot Thing" along with underground smashes like "The Blast" and "Definition."

The tightly woven set wasn't the only thing the Brooklyn born emcee brought with him. Kweli called on cameo performances from West Coasters Strong Arm Steady and Dr. Dre's latest pupil Bishop Lamont. The larger than life Lamont performed "Grow Up," a single that was ripping up radio in the late Summer before suddenly disappearing at the request of Interscope.

After two years of highly entertaining hip-hop, one hopes that Hip-Hop Live tour does not disappear. Thank you to sponsors Sony and Flow.TV for bringing together an incredible live band with sure shot emcees.

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