After the success of last year’s event, the West coast is enjoying a special holiday season tour. How the Grouch Stole Christmas features Living Legends member The Grouch on tour with special guests Mistah F.A.B. and Fashawn & Exile.
No, this is not the edited version of a rapper’s green room. The backstage of his tour was literally this uneventful. Fashawn did some solitary backstage pacing, Mistah F.A.B. turned it into a locker room ready for the main event and The Grouch was quiet and unapproachable.
But these men on stage represent a range of performance styles that is the lifeblood of hip hop. Fashawn performs at a level well past his years, as he holds the floor and keeps the crowd moving with his interactions. At only 21 years of age, one might expect him to not have zeroed in on the mechanics of a proper live set, but he set it off with “oh-la-oh-laas” and had the crowd eating from his hands. Bringing his producer Exile on tour is a tremendous help. Exile plays the MPC like an instrument, putting that special flare on the set that makes heads explode. Several times the duo departed from the Boy Meets World content for Exile to flex his techniques on the MPC, making beats on the spot that were bass heavy and “oh shit” worthy.
Mistah F.A.B. worked an audience of young 20’s white kids into a frenzy I’ve never witnessed before. Within minutes of being on stage, he dragged a kid in the front row up on stage to juke and 2-step for three songs. Hyphy ain’t dead yet. You expect F.A.B. to bring that special energy, but it’s impossible to anticipate how it will be received. I never knew the youth still cared so much about Bay Area hip hop. By the end of his set he had half the audience on stage doing dances from his neighborhood. The kids were literally beating their heads on speakers and pounding fists on the stage for his entire set.
F.A.B.’s intensity set the bar high for The Grouch to match, but there’s a reason its his tour. The Grouch has records. His presence remains strong in California, even though the Legends have fallen from their once gloried status. It caught me off guard how deep he could dig into his catalogue and still hold the audience on his every word. Despite the age demographic in the room, The Grouch followed up songs from his new record with cut from his 90s records. It was proof that he’s earned the title of Living Legend.