The legendary Tramps club in New York City were the host of some amazing concerts over the years and was even the place for a few live albums, including the celebrated Big L Tribute Shows released under the D.I.T.C. banner as a two volumes set in 1999. DJ Eclipse was a regular DJ and behind the scenes man at Tramps and captured a lot of incredible live sets with his camera throughout the years. Today I stumbled across one absolutely monumental piece - it's unforutnately not the full set, but is something of a Prince Paul rememberance night as he was promoting his "A Prince Among Thieves" and had invited to the scene his original band to show his humble beginnings, the ground breaking live Hip Hop band Stetsasonic, an excellent set by Gravediggaz over live instrumentation and an itense set by one of the all time great lyricistsof all time - Big Daddy Kane. There's also a celebration of the then burgenoing undrground movement with a Paul led performance by Non Phixion, Special Ed and Missin' Linx. Eclipse uploaded these goodies back in 2013, but I actually just happened to come across them today, three years later and was absolutely blown away. Now THIS is a Hip Hop shop worth the money for entrance and would be a worthy purchase had it been recorded properly and intended for release.
But I am getting off track here, I want to present y'all with the three videos DJ Eclipse posted from Prince Paul's Tramps, NYC show that took place in March 1999. This is a true display of as brilliant a Hip Hop concert you are likely to see for so many reasons. Having all of the Stetsasonics reunited on stage (including Frukwan and Prince Paul on the turntables) getting busy and getting the crowd hype over the slick rednitions provided by their live drummer and electric bassist who both does a fabolous job. The first video is all Stetsasonic, and as I mentioned is brilliant, but my favorite part is towards the second half of the second video where Grym Reaper enters the stage while the Stetsa crew (minus Paul and Frukwan of course) dwells into some of the "6 Feet Deep" griminess. But they don't do this over any pre-programmed beats and samples but instead reuses the bassist and live drummer from the Stetsa set to GREAT effect. Grym with his crazy high-antics style and delivery and Frukwan's more laid back baritone voice with Prince Paul's trntable wizardry is a match made in heaven, and to hear "Constant Elevation" over a sample-styled live interpretation of Barry White's classic ""I'm Gonna Love You just A Little Bit More" is nothing short of pure excellence. Sad and scary is the fact that only a month after this show, where Poetic looks so full of energy and life, he collapsed in his home from severe stomach pains, was rushed to the hospital only to be told that he had cancer and had only a few more months to live. A tragedy to say the least.... Had this shame of an outcome never happened and with Paul peraps willing to join the fold I'm sure Gravediggaz could drop at least one more classic album before calling it quits.
The third and final part of the video trilogy sees Prince Paul bring out Count Mackula, Mr. Big Daddy Kane, for an absolutely awesome lyrical slaughter session proving that he was better than just anyone in 1999 still. He just needed the right beats and tne down the ladies man image. Here at Tramps the Live Band had left in favor for pre-programmed beats courtesy of Prince Paul (who sitll handles the turntables). BDK sure as hell ain't no joke here, and the crowd is absolutely stunned as should you be as he goes through a quick medley of classics from his first two albums with unphazed delivery and always spot-on performance. Excellence! Now this is one show that I would be love to purchase on wax had it been actually recorded proper. But for now these videos is an excellent reminder of what the Hip Hop show can be in its purest form, much thanks to DJ Eclipse for sharing and everyone involved in making this music happen that night at Tramps some 17 years ago!