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Derrick Dunn

Concert Review : The F.O.R.C.E. Tour @ Capital One Arena

Director Luke Korem sheds light on one of the most controversial con jobs in music history with Milli Vanilli. The documentary tells the story of Robert “Rob” Pilatus and Fabrice “Fab” Morvan, who became fast friends during their youth in Germany. With Rob coming from a broken Hip-hop and remembrance took center stage in the nation’s capital on Sunday, October 15, when the F.O.R.C.E. tour stopped at Capital One Arena. One of Hip Hop’s golden age MCs, LL Cool J, headlined the event and was supported by The Roots, Bone Thugs -N- Harmony, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Z-Trip, and Queen Latifah.

Due to a long line of patrons, I was late getting to my seat, which hindered seeing the entire set from The Roots. However, from what I did see, the Philly-based band is still cold. The crew blessed the audience with some cover songs before concluding their first set with “Here I Come.”  Thankfully, The Roots weren’t done for the night as they served as the backing band for all the acts on the bill, with Black Thought displaying adequate energy as a hype man and throwing in the occasional freestyle bar.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony opened the show with a tightly woven 25-minute setlist, performing most of their notable hits such as “Foe tha Love of $,” “1st of the Month,” and “Notorious Thugs,” which happens to be my personal favorite. Although I would have loved to see “Everyday Thang,” “Look Into My Eyes,” and “If I Could Teach The World” performed, I understand that the group was short on time. The Cleveland MCs concluded their set with “Tha Crossroads.”

LL Cool J took the stage next and owned it, performing his hits from almost 40 years of making music to an enthusiastic crowd. He performed “I’m Bad,” “Doin It,” “4,3,2,1,” “Big Ole Butt,” “Luv U Better,” “Headsprung,” and his verses from EPMD’S “Rampage,” and Craig Mack’s “Flava In Your Ear.” He closed out his first set with “Goin’ Back To Cali.”

The audience enjoyed impressive DJ sets by Jazzy Jeff and Z-Trip before Queen Latifah’s performance. Despite having a short set, Queen packed more energy into 30 minutes than some contemporary MCs. Her performances of “Wrath of My Madness,” “Just Another Day,” and her verse from Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down” remix had the ladies on their feet.

During the Queen’s show, two particular highlights stood out. One was the performance of the “Living Single” theme, which was surprising. The other was when Monie Love and Treach joined her on stage. Monie Love added her touch to the performances of “Ladies First” before setting the stage alight with “Monie in the Middle.” Meanwhile, Queen Latifah’s fellow New Jersey native Treach brought his alpha bravado to the Naughty By Nature classics, Uptown Anthem,” “OPP” and “Hip Hop Hooray.” Latifah’s set closed out with U.N.I.T.Y.

LL then returned to the stage to close the night out for his second set, beginning with songs aimed at the ladies, including “I Need Love,” “Hey Lover,” and “All I Have.”  Uncle L then went back into his aggressive MC days, performing “I Shot Ya,” “Jack The Ripper,” and “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.” LL closed the night with a one-two punch of “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Rock The Bells.”

At the end of the night, it was evident that every artist on the F.O.R.C.E. (Frequencies of Real Creative Energy) tour exceeded expectations.

Final Grade: A

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