A night of music for all ages featuring Doug E Fresh, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, Whodini, Al B Sure, Cherrelle, Hi Five and Chubb Rock will be making its way to the Music City. The Back 2 The ‘80s tour, as appropriately named, will be held downtown at the Municipal Auditorium this Saturday night. These will be old school tunes at their finest.
The first human beat box in the rap world and still the best of all time, Doug E. Fresh amazed audiences with his note-perfect imitations of drum machines, effects and often-large samples of hip-hop classics.
Richard Martin Lloyd Walters, better known as Slick Rick, Rick The Ruler and Ricky Dee, is a favorite among many. He is largely known for his story raps, such as ‘Children’s Story’ and ‘La Di Da Di’. He largely introduced the art of narrative into hip-hop. He also has the reputation as hip-hop’s greatest storyteller. Slick Rick has become the most sampled hip-hop artist ever.
Big Daddy Kane is widely considered to be one of the most influential and skilled emcees in hip-hop. Rolling Stone magazine ranked his song ‘Ain’t No Half-Steppin’’ #25 on its list of The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time, calling him “a master wordsmith of rap’s late-golden age and a huge influence on a generation of MCs.”
Whodini was among the first hip-hop groups to cultivate a high-profile national following for hip-hop music and made significant inroads on urban radio. In 1984, the group released Escape, which included ‘Five Minutes of Funk,’ ‘The Freaks Come Out at Night,’ the instrumental ‘Featuring Grand Master Dee,’ ‘Big Mouth,’ and the relationship-driven ‘Friends.’ These were groundbreaking songs in hip-hop culture. Each told a unique story from the urban perspective. The album certified platinum, selling over one million copies. The album is now out of print. Any copies are valuable collectors items.
During the late 1980s, Albert Joseph Brown III (stage name Al B. Sure) was one of new jack swing’s most popular romantic singers and producers. His debut album, In Effect Mode, sold more than two million copies, topping the Billboard R&B chart for seven straight weeks. The album included the single ‘Nite and Day,’ which topped the R&B chart and reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. He received numerous Grammy and American Music Award nominations. He won an AMA for Best New R&B Artist. He also received several Soul Train Award nominations, winning the award for Best New Artist. He won several New York Music Awards. In addition, his ‘900’-phone line was third in generating revenue, following those for New Kids on the Block and Run-D.M.C. As a writer and producer, Brown introduced the multi-platinum group Jodeci and teen R&B performer Tevin Campbell, as well as Faith Evans, Dave Hollister, Case, and Usher (one of the best-selling artists in American history) to the music industry.
Cherrelle, gained fame in the mid-1980s. Her signature hits include ‘I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,’ ‘Where Do I Run To,’ ‘Everything I Miss at Home,’ and duets with R&B singer Alexander O’Neal such as ‘Saturday Love’ and ‘Never Knew Love Like This.’ Cherrelle’s cousin is pop singer Perri ‘Pebbles’ Reid. She is also the aunt to Brandi of the girl group Blaque. Cherrelle and Johnny Gill were featured on Pebbles’ 1991 single ‘Always,’ which made the R&B Top 20.
Hi-Five had a #1 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the early 1990s with ‘I Like the Way (The Kissing Game).’ It remains their biggest hit to date. The band, formed in 1989, consisted of the late Tony Thompson, Roderick ‘Pooh’ Clark, Marcus Sanders, Russell Neal, and Toriano Easley. Easley was later replaced by Treston Irby. Hi-Five was originally signed to Jive Records, releasing their eponymous debut album in 1990. The album went platinum and was produced by Teddy Riley. After Hi-Five disbanded in 1994, Thompson released a solo album, Sexsational, in 1995. He later reunited with Hi-Five on his own independent label for the release of an album. On June 1, 2007, police found Thompson dead in East Waco, Texas. In 2012, Irby, Sanders and Shannon Gill reformed Hi-Five with two new members, Andre Ramseur and Faruq Evans. Ramseur later left the group and was replaced by Billy Covington. Hi-Five was featured on the TVOne music documentary series Unsung in 2014, chronicling the quintet’s upbringing in Waco, their rise to superstardom, tragedies among group members, and their comeback. In the summer of 2014, former Hi-Five member Russell Neal was charged with murder in the stabbing death of his wife in Houston.
Chubb Rock released several commercially successful hip-hop albums in the early 1990s. A former National Merit Scholar, Rock was a pre-med student who dropped out of Brown University to pursue his musical career. Discovered and produced by his first cousin DJ/Producer Howie Tee, Rock first appeared on the national scene with his 1988 self-titled debut Chubb Rock and 1989’s And the winner is… The latter produced the minor hit ‘Ya Bad Chubbs,’ which garnered airplay on Yo! MTV Raps. His 1991 release entitled The One, reached No. 13 on Billboard’s ‘Top Hip-Hop/R&B’ chart for that year. Three singles from that release, ‘Treat’em Right,’ ‘Just The Two of Us’ and ‘The Chubbster,’ made it to No. 1 on Billboard’s ‘Top Rap Single’ chart list for the same year.