When the hip-hop world had lost its Eazy-E, Nate Dogg and Tupac, many fans famously declared that old school hip-hop had lost its generation one OGs. On Oct. 12th, however, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, Calif., the West proved them wrong.
On Saturday night, a lineup of OG rappers banded together for the How the West Was Won concert. The amphitheatre became the stage for rappers such as Kurupt, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, who stunned the crowd with their glowing talent and incredible ability to spin the clock’s ticking hand to the late ’90s, when the West Coast had practically baked in the hip-hop spotlight.
Rapper Xzibit opened the show by telling everyone to get on their feet, phones out and video recorders ready. Xzibit began his set by taking it all the way back to his 1996 debut album, At the Speed of Life, spitting verses from one of his most famed singles, “Paparazzi.” Ending his performance with his most notorious single, “X,” Xzibit got the audience jumping.
Next up was Kurupt with his Dogg Pound rapping out songs, dedicated to his good friend, the late Nate Dogg. “XXplosive” and “Let’s Get High” really hit the crowd, who was already fired up with various colors of smoke floating in the air. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of the show was its unchallenging respect and worship to the late rappers who had taught the performers how to climb on top in the competitive music industry. Almost every rapper who took the stage throughout the show alluded to one inspiration who had helped him through the years.
Not failing in this promise was newly signed Cash Money rapper, The Game. The Game was up next with his lively voice and appeal to the younger crowd, who had grown up witnessing his long feud with G-Unit. In good humor and high spirits, The Game brought his eldest son, Harlem Taylor, out on stage to introduce the little guy to the bold crowd. The most shocking moment in The Game’s performance came when he brought out Tyga, Ty Dolla Sign and Clyde Carson to give The Game a chain, welcoming him to their label. The idea of announcing this news on stage was clearly a wise choice, as the crowd went crazy over the press release.
Amidst the fiery crowd and the thousands of fans pleading for the real West Coast rap scene came Ice Cube, the King of the West Coast, blasting his hits “Check Yo Self,” “We Be Clubbin’” and finally “It Was a Good Day.” Not only was Ice Cube a sensational performer but also a rapper who exceeded the expectations of many. In a concert where many West Coast rappers were ready to blow away the crowd, Ice Cube did it best. Of all the performances, Ice Cube was the first to fully put the phenomenal venue to good use. With a projector casting an image of Ice with a golden crown on his head, the audience knew the King of the West laid down the songs that practically spelled out the West.
Nonetheless, even after Ice Cube gave the crowd a chill, there was an anxious and impatient feeling rising in the air. Many were freezing in the cold, October night, tired from hours of dancing and anticipating the long line of traffic awaiting them after the concert. They were all awaiting one person. The first name under the concert lineup — the one and only king of the Dogg Pound. Undoubtedly, no show can lay low without the Doggfather. Closing the show was the most anticipated rapper, Snoop Dogg. While the disc jockey mixed several Nate Dogg classics, a fiery torch rose on stage and the lights began to glimmer. At that moment, the crowd went mad.
Arriving on stage with a sip, Snoop immediately began spitting out his infamous single, “Gin and Juice.” Taking regular smoke breaks, Snoop expressed his laidback persona, making everyone in the crowd much more comfortable and relaxed. The highlight of the night came when Snoop called Warren G to the stage to help him perform one of the West Coast’s most defining tracks, “Regulate” — a hit that conveyed all that the West Coast scene was like over the years. The self-proclaimed player then went on to rap about the ladies. Finally, after track after track of legendary rap songs, a familiar note shocked the crowd. “The Next Episode” came on, and you could almost hear the heels and sneakers hit the ground as thousands of Snoop’s biggest fans heard their favorite single blast the speakers. Interestingly enough, the crowd began to fade away towards the end of Snoop’s performance due to the typical Southern Californian attitude of wanting to beat the traffic. But besides that, Snoop’s performance was the grand finale to a night worth reliving.
All in all, the concert was divided into a few segments. The minority consisted of weak performances from low-name rappers who the majority of the crowd had never heard of. Nevertheless, the greater part of the night was simply a rewind of the true West Coast rap game. With brilliant performers and a crowd that amplified the breathtaking performances, the ageless question was finally answered: The West had, indeed, won the game.