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Living legends

Laura A. Ball

VAIL – Back in the day, long before the microphone was used as a political and social soapbox, hip-hop music was all about ladies with voluptuous body parts, house parties and lots of malt liquor. Middle school girls made up dances to songs like “Busta Move” to perform at the talent show while boys sat in their bedrooms memorizing words to the “Humpty Dance” without so much as a clue of what they meant.In a blast from the past for many children of the ’80s, Young M.C., Tone Loc, Coolio and Digital Underground will dig up the golden roots of hip-hop Friday night in Vail at 7 at Ford Amphitheater for a big ol’ party.

“That’s my time. I grew up with those guys. I’m an ’80s, ’90s guy,” said Arnd Schaeftlein of Germany, in town for the Teva Mountain Games. “I’m going to listen to some good old hip-hop. I’m the biggest fan of black music. I’m the biggest fan.”Schaeftlein said he was exposed to the rap music in Munich, where a lot of U.S. soldiers are and were stationed. The soldiers brought all that stuff into the discotechs in Germany.”I’m psyched to see Digital Underground and Coolio,” said Rush Sturgis, a kayaker and amateur freestyler from Northern California who was hanging out at the opening games Wednesday in Vail Village. “They’re definitely old-school legends. I’m pretty fired up – wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Sturgis hopes Digital Underground will play “OPP.” Digital Underground’s mastermind Shock G propelled the group to fame, not to mention platinum status, with his Groucho-nose alter ego Humpty Hump. After performing the “Humpty Dance” on Arsenio Hall, it spread like wildfire throughout the culture of America’s youth.”I love the Humpty Dance and the song is awesome, too. I used to know every word when I was little. That was my first hip-hop tape,” said kayaker Brad Ludden of Gypsum, in Vail on Wednesday. He can’t wait to see the one-hit wonders, he said. “I’ve always been a digital Underground fan and Coolio. I’m going to relive my childhood a bit.”Who can forget the unmistakably smooth voice and spirally locks of Coolio. The rapper, who won a Grammy in 1996 for Best Rap Performance for his international hit single “Gangsta’s Paradise,” is another legend appearing on stage tonight.

“I’m only going to the concert to have tequila with Coolio,” said kayaker Dan Campbell on Wednesday in Vail. He hung out backstage with Jurassic 5 drinking tequila at last year’s Teva games show, and he and his friends are looking to make it a tradition.The future of dance floors was changed forever in the summer of 1989 when Young M.C. released “Bust A Move.” Countless deejays have and continue to play the classic alluding to getting girls. The rapper was the first to win a Grammy in the Best Rap soloist category for his platinum hit. Born Marvin Young, Young M.C. was raised and learned to rap on the East Coast. At 18, he moved to the West Coast and combined California rap with his East Coast style for a refreshing sound.

“I’m pretty pumped,” said Shawn Fraser of Breckenridge, who plans on coming up for the show. “Young M.C., he was pretty big when I was in high school. Rap has changed so much now that they’re just unique. It’s all such party music. They’re not really bands that I listen to every day. They’re just fun to listen to sometimes. They bring back old memories.”Young M.C. wrote “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina” for Tone Loc, recorded some of the most popular and recognizable hip-hop tracks ever, many of which appeared on TV shows. Remember when Doogie Howser showed up at Wanda’s house with a ghetto blaster on top of his van blaring “Wild Thing”? They were conflicted about when exactly they were going to “do it.” “We did grow up with all those guys,” said Michelle Steedley of Eagle originally from Augusta, Ga. “They were huge in middle school. Everybody was dorky. We listened to it mostly for fun, especially when we were cheerleaders. It was hilarious. When we were little, we used to watch their MTV videos and we used to copy them at our school dances. We were white though, so it didn’t look as good.”

Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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