North Coast Music Fest: Wu-Tang & Nas (need I say more?)

Being a connoisseur of hip hop (possible?) of sorts, this year’s Lollapalooza wasn’t necessarily tailored to my specific tastes; sure, Kendrick Lamar tore up the stage, and admittedly, I was 90’s-kid excited to see Nine Inch Nails back in action– but, years past, with the likes of Eminem, Kid Cudi, Cypress Hill, etc, kind of spoiled me.

Enter: North Coast.

The annual “Summer’s Last Stand” (their words..not mine) kicks off in Union Park next Friday the 30th, and will feature two of the greatest hip hop acts of all time: the Wu-Tang Clan & Nas. In full disclosure, I haven’t purchased a Nas or Wu-Tang Clan album (have they made one??) since the early 2000’s– but, in the post-2pac/Biggie era, for an old rap fogy such as myself, this is about as good as “classic” gets.

Sure, I’ve seen Nas perform with Damien Marley at Lollapalooza, but that’s not really quite the same as a pure Nas set. The boy can rhyme; and, unlike 90% of other rappers out there, actually sounds good live.

The Wu-Tang Clan without the deceased ODB is tantamount to masturbation; yeah, it’ll feel good, but isn’t quite the same. I recall fondly my high school days, when Wu came to Tinley Park for a performance at the First MidTweeter World Center (or whatever the f*ck they call it these days), and, man, that was a hip hop show. They tore up the dressing rooms, took the stage very, very late, allegedly beat up a promotor– then proceeded to drop gem after gem on the Middle Class Suburban audience, 85% of whom were there basically to see Rage Against the Machine (another amazing live band). It was perfect.

Some god-only-knows years later, I’m curious to see if/how the group has matured with age. We’ve all seen Method Man in various movies/tv appearances, same with RZA; but, the Wu as a unified force has remained somewhat quiet, lo these past ten years. Whether they can still rock a crowd is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say it’ll be quite entertaining, at the very least.

A glimpse of the featured North Coast acts follows; full schedule can be found at the official site.


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