1. In the midst of a solid opening set, Dilated Peoples brought freestyle-rap king Supernatural to the stage … for all of about two minutes. Capable of rhyming for hours on end (see: his 555-minute world record), working with multi-syllabic dare-words from his crowds and running through stylistic impressions of hip-hop’s best-known MCs, Supernatural spat a few lines about Vegas … and left. Time was surely short, so we’re not blaming him (or Dilated), but man, what a tease.
2. Would they or wouldn’t they? I wondered if Dilated Peoples would play their best-known song, 2004’s “My Way,” even though its crucial guest artist, Kanye West, wouldn’t be around to sing his verse. And if they did, would they play West’s voice through the speakers or put him on the big Boulevard screen? The answers, in order, were yes and no. We got “My Way,” but DP rappers Evidence and Rakaa skipped West’s part entirely, stripping the number of its coolest element.
3. I’ve caught Jurassic 5 at House of Blues, Vegoose, Life Is Beautiful and even Zia Record Exchange, and what strikes me each time is the consistency. For one, J5 is always six strong—all four MCs and both DJs have been on board from the start, and they’re all back for the reunion. As importantly, each J5 show is a party, where the performers appear as into what they’re doing as the audience. I can’t say that about many acts, especially faced with hot weather and undersized crowds.
4. Among individual highlights: an early run through oldie “Improvise,” back-to-back classics “Quality Control” and “Concrete Schoolyard” and, of course, the nightly Cut Chemist/Nu-Mark zany-gear DJ duel. If you’ve never witnessed the latter in person, it’s time to bucket-list it.
5. Cool new J5 feature: The group takes requests. Toward the end of the set, Chali 2na called for ’em—claiming that his crew would play anything from its catalog, and Jurassic lived up to the tricky promise, performing “Back 4 U” and “In the Flesh,” (albeit in abbreviated form). Impressive stuff, although with just four albums on a 20-year résumé, they’re not exactly Frank Zappa prolific.