Reno treated to old school hip hop in a neon glow

The Sugarhill Gang don’t let anyone forget who started commercial hip hop. Photos: Shaun Astor

“Who wants to go back to the old school?!” The question, posed to the audience by Young MC, was met with roars.

As the sun dipped behind the Sierras, the preserved neon signs of the J Resort’s outdoor Glow Plaza in downtown Reno cast their surreal hues across the stage. Three throwback hip hop acts were slated to take the stage this evening, and even if the names didn’t immediately ring any bells, their songs definitely would.

First up was C+C Music Factory. Though the group doesn’t currently have any members from the group’s classic era, founding member Freedom Williams led the group through a punctuated set playing the hits “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” and “Things That Make You Go Hmmmm….” On and off the stage in about 20 minutes, the duo got the audience warmed up.

C+C Music Factory made em sweat

Next onstage was Young MC, who has been consistently releasing music since 1989. Best known for “Bust A Move”, Young MC interacted with the crowd and worked the stage with a sense of charisma. Of the artists performing, Young MC was the only one still actively writing and recording. He performed his newest single, “Loose” which he released earlier this month, before concluding with one of the catchiest of the old school hip hop anthems.

Young MC’s brand new song, “Loose”

Wrapping up the show was The Sugarhill Gang. The group got their start in 1979 and had the first Billboard Top 40 hip hop song with “Rapper’s Delight”. Original member Master Gee, along with Wonder Mike and Hen Dogg harmonized their way through just under an hour’s worth of songs. Calling out audience members in the VIP bleachers and getting the crowd on its feet, the Glow Plaza was a sea of movement as the group emphasized the positive message in their music. The Sugarhill Gang performed their old school catchy songs like “8th Wonder” and capped off the night with crowd favorite “Rapper’s Delight” with freestyled verses mid-song, before announcing that they’d be hitting the indoor after party and walking off the Glow Plaza stage.

Master Gee still freestyling 45 years after The Sugarhill Gang got their start
Old school hip hop artist, Young MC busts a move at J Resort's Glow Plaza in downtown Reno.
Young MC performing on the Neon Line
C+C Music Factory illuminating The J Resort’s Glow Plaza
Young MC
The Sugarhill Gang

ABOUT Shaun Astor

Picture of Shaun Astor
Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations. Check out his work at www.raisethestakeseditions.com

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