Concert Review: Whodini, Salt N Pepa & MC Hammer At Chene Park Detroit, MI 8-31-08

Golden Age hip-hop against the backdrop of Chene Park’s outdoor concert shell on the Detroit River ended the 2008 season with Whodini, Salt N Pepa and MC Hammer. Grandmaster Dee warmed the crowd up with a typical R&B hip-hop party mix while hunched over his Final Scratch DJ platform that replaced vinyl from the earlier days. His mustard colored baggy suit made a match with Jalil’s pants as he and Ecstasy came to the stage opening with “Friends.” Their dancers were hip-hop whirling dervishes performing Old School moves that amped the crowd in the venue and those watching from their boats. All the movement and group’s camaraderie with UTFO’s Dr. Ice took the audience back to the days when more than one personality could share the stage and Jermaine Dupri was one of their backup dancers. “Freaks Come Out At Night” and “One Love” were the high points of their short but complete set. Salt N Pepa had a reunion after not playing together in years reminding folks that they were entertainers before reality show TV stars. There were two versions of “My Mic Sounds Nice” and spirited performances of “Shoop” “Everybody Get Up” and “Tramp.” Their signature song “Push It” has a new meaning this year as a cheering song for Barack Obama’s campaign. Salt’s Christian status was reaffirmed with a solo rendition of her rap from Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp.” Sporting their usual anti-athletic look with Spinderella in tow the women revived the concept of female rappers being sexy without the crudeness.Hip-hop’s biggest dance figure MC Hammer finished the night with a posse of 15 dancers lead by him. Crowd recognition of his biggest songs like ” Too Legit To Quit” and “Pump It Up” were rousing but the ultimate applause came when he danced. He controlled the crowd through his moves confidently choosing which moment would be a group dance or a solo. Chene Park’s reputation for one of Detroit’s best summer attractions maintained with a prime finale of classic hip-hop.