Rapper-actor Ice-T brought his Art of Rap tour to San Francisco’s regency Ballroom Sunday night with Public Enemy, Naughty by Nature and other guests. The four-hours-long show featured a little something for all fans of classic hip hop.
Naughty by Nature played the part of good-natured jesters, playing medleys of covers and their own ’90s hits like “Hip Hop Hooray” and “Feel The Flow.”Over the course of one 15-minute stretch, the duo covered Monte Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” Tupac’s “California,” Run-D.M.C.’s “It’s Tricky” and Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day.”
Ice-T, meanwhile, brought the old-school swagger and humor, jokingly picking on the fans in the front row between his sexually and racially-charged songs. Ice talked about one of his first shows outside of Los Angeles. When he wasn’t well-known beyond his hometown, he was invited to perform at Fillmore West. He also joked about finding a fair-skinned, well-endowed woman to be his wife. “Kanye, you’re following!”— and poked fun at a tween fan; “I’ve been on SVU longer than you’ve been alive.”
He brought the undercurrent of racial tension above the surface through most his set. “The hate us now more than they ever did before,” Ice rapped, before peaking with a sobering look at prison life that is is “The Tower” — “Who’s got the power?/the whites, the blacks, or/the gun tower.”
Chuck D, Flavor Flav and Public Enemy pushed the discussion into politics, taking swipes at both presidential candidates but asking people lot remain resilient with a 45-minute set that closed with protest anthem “Fight The Power.”