Legends of the golden era of hip-hop keep making their rounds to Denver, and no venue can be held as accountable for that as Cervantes’ Masterpiece. The sheer volume of hip-hop acts in which the multi-staged building has been able to pull is astounding, and acts admittedly look forward to playing there. Proof of this came from the mouth of JuJu, one-half of the infamously groundbreaking act the Beatnuts, as he stated during his Monday night show, “We’ve been trying to come back to Cervantes’ for a minute!”
The lengthy lineup was start to finish with heavy names in the rap game. Termanology kicked off the event, dressed in militant looking garb and spouting the aggressive lyrics to “Judo” and “Get Away.” Termanology spent the majority time of his set dropping major names like DJ Premier, Sean Price and Statik Selektah, rounding out his set with “1982,” a track featuring the latter in his list of friends.
Rapper Big Pooh jumped to the stage next, looking as every bit of Big Pooh as any fan could remember. With DJ Flash behind him on the 1s and 2s, Pooh lit up a journey through the times, taking the crowd “all the way to Detroit.”
“We drove through a snow storm to be here today,” said Pooh to the eager audience.
The duo swam through various tracks, bumping remnants of great contributors to the hip-hop community. J Dilla, DJ Premier and Phife Dawg all came up in lengthy speeches of appreciation. Pooh closed out his set to a rendition of “Electric Relaxation,” originally by A Tribe Called Quest.
Fans were not left in silence as the opening act and headliner transitioned positions. Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says,” Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You” and Souls Of Mischief’s “93 ‘Til Infinity” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Award Tour” all jammed out, pumping excitement into the hip-hop heads of Denver for the set that was to come.
The Beatnuts finally made their appearance at 11 p.m., to a full room and amplified applause. The two took zero time before diving nuts first into their highly acclaimed discography. “Who’s Comin’ wit Tha Shit,” “Hot” and “Prendelo” spurted out into the massive waves of arms moving up and down to the beat.
“It’s kinda like a house party in here,” JuJu said of The Other Side. “I like that.”
“Do You Believe,” “Beatnuts Forever” and “We Got the Funk” were performed in between sessions of sharing drinks from a Jameson bottle. JuJu enforced a policy of each fan drinking from their own cup so he wouldn’t wake up with a cold sore before busting into “No Escapin’ This.”
Pyscho Les lead off a sing-a-long to Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved,” however the iconic lyrics were cleverly changed to “It’s the Beatnuts,” which ended up sounding better than once would imagine. JuJu took the stage for a ferocious set of freestyles before they teased in and out (and in and out again) of “Yo, Yo,Yo,” eventually cutting the track before performing it, eluding to the end of the show. Les proclaimed that it was time for house music, at which time the beat of “Se Acabo” filtered into the air, prompting JuJu to grab the mic and bump the one last track, some of which was in Spanish.
Some say hip-hop is dead, I say it is alive and well on a Monday night at our beloved Cervantes’.