It’s almost impossible to imagine a generation of Americans that knows Ice-T only as Sgt. Fin Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but that’s how the whole passage-of-time thing works. It’d be easier to accept if we could get all the TV addicts off the couch and into the crowd at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center this weekend, to see one of rap’s elder statesmen do his thing at the Art of Rap concert tour.
Ice-T launched the first version of this all-star tour last year as a sort of follow-up to his 2012 documentary Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, which drifts through hip-hop history and pays homage to its endless creativity. The concert has the same effect, with performances scheduled from legends like KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep and Onyx. The current lineup is heavy on East Coast rap stars, but Ice-T himself takes the stage to balance things out; he was born in New Jersey but grew up in California and attended Crenshaw High School before beginning his music career as a DJ (rapping came later).
Anyone in need of a serious education on beats and rhymes and a small slice of hip-hop’s impact should plan to spend Saturday night Downtown. The Art of Rap at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, June 17.