That dream came true for Murs and fans alike at yesterday’s Paid Dues (April 7). Generations came together for three stages of music. The event, organized by Murs and Guerilla Union, wrapped up its seventh annual show with Dipset, Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller closing out its different stages.
Fans expecting to see Wu-Tang Clan late in the evening were surprised by an early set. With schedules that conflicted with the event, some members were flown in for the show and flown out to continue with their itineraries. The result was still a rush to the main stage by many fans, where the group performed several of their critically acclaimed songs including “Bring Da Rukus” and “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’.” This led the way for Doomtree, who followed the Wu with a set of old and new material, including “Heads Will Roll.” This type of mix, going from the slums of Shaolin to the Minnesota snow, created the diversity that could be seen in the crowd. That wasn’t the only example of the generations and cultures that were blending through this festival. Next door, at the Dues Paid stage, Psycho Realm and Dilated Peoples packed the stage venue before DJ Quik, all leading up to Kendrick Lamar. Generations, cultures and ethnicities came together in a way that had concert security closing the entrance to the indoor venue due to capacity issues.
More of this diversity could be seen elsewhere. At the Monster Stage, where Cunninlynguists and Mac Lethal performed before Three-6-Mafia, Brother Ali made way for Mac Miller. After Ali’s performance of various songs from his catalogue (including “Room With a View” and “Writer’s Block”), Mac Miller gave the audience his cuts (including “Knock Knock” and “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza”). Of “Kool Aid,” Mac gave a shout out to the past, acknowledging Lord Finesse’s “Hip 2 Da Game,” a beat he elected to use for the song, a fact many in the crowd may not have known. Afterall, just a few sets earlier at this Monster stage, Macklemore asked the crowd if there were 70s babies, 80s babies and/or 90s babies in the house. The 90s babies made the most noise.
An event like Paid Dues brings the fans together but it also allows artists to become fans. This was most evident when Odd Future came off the stage after their set and entered the photo pit for the Dipset showcase. Tyler, the Creator, a fan of the Diplomats, recited lines from The Set's past hits and jumped along as Jim Jones, Cam’Ron and the rest of the crew performed. The rest of Odd Future and their friends joined in on the action, smiling and enjoying the set with eyes glued to the stage. Cypress Hill’s B-Real also made his way to the photo pit to catch the show, taking photos with his iPhone. When members of the Set noticed him in the pit, they smiled and shook his hand from the stage. This type of camaraderie at Paid Dues gave it a peaceful tone, one where artists from different generations and different styles gave respect to one another. To bring fans from different eras together may have been Murs’ dream accomplished but to bring artists together served to make his dream even bigger.
Photography by: Andres Vasquez for HipHopDX