“Where My Dogs At”
On a rainy night in Brooklyn, one of Hip Hop’s most notorious record labels reunites for their 20th year anniversary. Downtown Brooklyn’s Barclays Center welcomed the Ruff Ryder’s for their Ruff Ryders & Friends Reunion concert Friday evening, and it was a sell out, packed show. The Ruff Ryder brand is responsible for giving us hip hop hitmakers such as Eve, DMX, The Lox & Swizz Beatz.
Founded by New York natives and siblings Joaquin “Waah” Dean, Darrin “Dee” Dean and Chivon Dean, who later brought on their nephew Kaseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean as the in house producer for the label, the Ruff Ryders launched in 1988. In the era of the Bad Boy shiny suits and the Roc-A-Fella popping bottles, the Ruff Ryder’s came on to the scene with more as a Hip Hop biker club of hundreds of motorcycle riders demanding attention.
While CEO Waah Dean has reinvented the wheel with a new generation of Ruff Ryders, his latest protege’s Lil Waah, Quadir Lateef, Lee Mazin, and Drew James, will all be featured on the Ruff Ryder‘s compilation album ‘Past, Present and Future‘”, available for purchase following the show.With thousands in attendance at the Barclays Center, it was show time as folks came to relive their 90s past. Opening with a montage of vintage video clips of the crew, the first to hit the stage was Bronx native Drag-On. Drag ran through his most known hits “Down Bottom”, “No Love For Me” and more. Tho Drag has been missing from the scene for a minute his catalog of hits and performance had the crowd feeling like he never left.
Next up was Grammy Award winner and Ruff Ryder’s First Lady, Eve. Dressed in a royal blue tight body suit and shiny gold boots sporting a blond ponytail aka The Pitbull in a skirt came ready. The billionaire wife was looking very good and had lots of energy to feed the screaming crowd of Ruff Ryder longtime devotee’s. The Philly native performed her classic hits “What Ya Want”, “Tambourine”, “Who’s That Girl”, and “Let Me Blow Your Mind”. Eve hasn’t been in the spot light much these days as she splits her time between London, New York and Los Angeles, acting and stuff more now; and I can truly say she still has her glow.
Next to hit the stage was the monster Swizz Beatz, who still killing the streets with his business ventures inside and outside of music. Showtime and the people were ready. The Bronx native hit the stage with a bust of energy and turned the show into a massive party. With almost 20 years of hits under his belt he began to run through them.
Performing joints like Jay Z’s “Jigga My Nigga”, “Money Cash Hoes”, Drake’s “Fancy” and more. Special guests Remy Ma & Fat Joe also joined the stage to perform their hit “Lean Back” and was later joined by French Montana to perform the 2x platinum hit “All The Way Up.” The BX was definitely in the building at this point as French begin to perform his new single “Unforgettable” joined by Fat Joe dancing and singing along.
Swizz continued the party playing dancehall hits until Remy Ma returned to the stage to bring the house down with “Whuteva” and “Shether” which she spit acapella. Remy was definitely in her zone. With more surprises up his sleeve, Swizz also brought out Philly native and later Ruff Ryder signee, Cassidy. Reunited once again Swizz & Cassidy ran through their hits “Hotel” & “Hustler”. In the midst of the action, Cassidy drops an acapella freestyle where he took shots at fellow Philly native Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yatchy, and also Brooklyn native Young Ma. Yikes.
With the crowd all hyped up, it was time for The Lox to hit the stage. Fresh of their Filthy America… It’s Beautiful Tour the Yonkers trio came ready to wild out. With some many classic mixtape freestyles and solo records, where do we begin with this super group.
The Lox had a perfectly blended set with each member performing solo hits like Styles P’s “Good Times (I Get High)”, and Jadakiss’ “Put Ya Hands Up”. And without warning, Akon appeared from behind a cloud of white smoke to perform the hook for their joint hit single “Locked Up”. But just when you thought it couldn’t get any wilder, Brooklyn’s very own Uncle Murda hits the stage to perform his street anthem “Cam’ron Voice” followed by his club rocker “THOT”.
And in honor of their mentor, as the Lox were original Bad Boy signees, the late great Notorious BIG, Bed Stuy’s very own Jr Mafia also hit the stage where Lil Cease and Banger got the stadium rocking with classic hits “Crush On You” & “Players Anthem”.
Last to take the stage was the one and only DMX, they finally let the dog out of his cage. With the stadium still packed and nearing midnight, the sound of dogs barking echoed as the crowd cheered on – we knew what time it was. DMX sooner appeared in the light, with a set a mixture of a comedy, gospel and rap music. At various times, he began to rant with sweat dripping to the floor. Running through a roster of classics like “Get A Me Dog”, “What You Really Want”, “How Its Going Down”, “Slippin'”, “Party Up (Up In Here)”, “Where The Hood At”, it was lit. If you make a list of things this guy has been through in the past 20 years, to see he get on the stage to perform is a job well done in my book. All we can do is pray that the brother gets it together all the way.
Overall the Ruff Ryder’s reunion was a success, with all their major acts coming together as a family, something to not have been done in years. And although there wasn’t too much collaborated performances by the crew, as their inventory of music has so much of, it was great to see them on one stage, if only for one night and one night alone.
With Bad Boys & Ruff Ryder’s both celebrating their 20th year anniversaries at The Barclays Center, will the fans ever get a 20 Year Roc-A-Fella Reunion? I guess we will all just have to wait and see what the Roc might be cookin’.
“We ain’t in-du-stry niggas, we in-the-streets niggas”