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Ruff Ryders take over Brooklyn

David Goodson | 4/27/2017, 1:10 p.m.
For artist Lil Waah, Drew James, Quadir Lateef and Brillo, an assumption of extreme jitters was justified on the evening ...
DMX David Goodson photo

For artist Lil Waah, Drew James, Quadir Lateef and Brillo, an assumption of extreme jitters was justified on the evening of Friday, April 21. That night, they were thrust into the fire and were about to showcase their wares in front of an estimated 15,000 heads at the Barclays Center.

If that was the case, the next night at the Grand Theater at the Foxwoods Resort Casino, all the pressure should have subsided. The venue, although not as large as the Barclays Center, was still a respectable size and, like the previous night, was at capacity with rabid fans.

The excitement for the young artists was egged on because they represent the future of one of the most storied brands in hip-hop: Ruff Ryders. Through the years of building the brand established by siblings Joaquin “Waah” Dean, Darin “Dee” Dean and Chivon Dean, the name has been held in the highest regards in the streets and because of their multiple business endeavors. Now they intend to regain dominance in the music industry and phase 1 begins with the Ruff Ryders and Friends Reunion Tour—Past, Present and Future.

Nostalgia was a word being associated with the show, and granted those elements are in the presentation. That was seen particularly with the set of the headliner, DMX. In recent years, his trials and tribulations have been at the forefront, but the music got our attention. That verse from the LL Cool J posse cut “4,3,2,1” had the streets on fire, and when he debuted in 1998 with his own full-length album, “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” followed later that year with his second album “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” DMX had the East Coast and the rap game on his back. That combination of who he was then and who he is now made it cool to rock out with his high-energy street-oriented tunes “Ruff Ryder Anthem,” “Party Up” and “What’s My Name,” but a song such as “Slippin” resonated more in 2017, considering his journey. He still can connect with an audience. If he can maintain a focused set, he can maintain all the attention that goes to his craft.

Much like Eve did. Unlike her brethren, DMX, little is known of EVE outside of her stage persona. Yet her set served notice that although she might have been slept on, she was a trend setter and indeed that girl.

The sets of Swizz Beats and the LOX kind of put the overall theme of the show in perspective. They represented then and now, the past, present and future of not just Ruff Ryder, but the entire hip-hop genre. Those two entities are right now the standard bearers and the form beats and rhymes repetitively, and it’s not because they say it. The work has been recognized and the streets have certified their positions.

To a man, every artist on the bill stated the Ruff Ryders are back. After the shock and awe of the projected national reunion tour, let’s see what unfolds in the studio.

As of now, DMX will share the bill with his fellow Ruff Ryders crewmembers The LOX July 15 for the 13th annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. More on that later.

Over and out for now. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.