Hip-Hop Was Alive & Well At Riot Fest Denver 2015

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It was a warm summer night and I was literally running to catch Ice Cube’s performance at Denver’s 2015 Riot Fest! I was already working an event a few miles away and I knew I would need to head right back to that venue after Ice Cube was done. Basically there was no way in hell I was going to miss Cube hitting the stage…

I made it with about 10 minutes until Ice Cube got on stage. The DJ was playing a few tracks, getting the crowd hyped up and the bass was knocking! I was certainly impressed with the sound and stage setup of Riot Fest. The crowd in front of the Roots Stage was big and full- people were maneuvering through the crowd to get as close to the stage as possible. I made my way to the front one time only to ensure my photographer (Faded Logics) was in the press pit, otherwise I was mid crowd ready to experience the show.

Ice Cube hit the stage looking just as he has always looked- like a G. His distinct voice was very proper as he got into his hit with Dr. Dre, “Natural Born Killaz.” Again, the sound was amazing! Cube kept asking the crowd if we were “…ready to get gangsta?!” Every time he asked the crowd bellowed and screamed. Of course, he had to ask about Colorado’s weed, “Ya’ll got some weed for me up here? Blaze it up!” The set was going great and got even better when he brought out MC Ren! And then, he brought out his son who performed a bunch of songs with him, including NWA songs.

The stage had two HUGE hand props which, of course, were set holding up the “W” for the West Coast. The backdrop was a screen that played through Ice Cubes logos and a lot of clips of the “Straight Outta Compton” movie- which the crowd loved. The NWA hits were awesome! Cube, Ren and his son performed “Straight Outta Compton,” “Fuck Tha Police,” and then classic Ice Cube hits “Check Yo Self,” “You Can Do It,” “It Was A Good Day,” and more! It was a classic, classic west coast set and everyone loved it! I was hyped to just watch this man, who’s music I have been listeing to for over 20 years, perform some of my favorites. I was by myself but right along with everyone else watching, rapping along and dancing in awe of the hip-hop legend. It was perfect.

The next set I caught was on Sunday of Riot Fest- the last day. It was a less busier day for me and I was pre-gaming at Cold Crush before heading to catch the one and only Snoop Dogg! My vibes and expectations were up! I had seen Snoop Dogg live only once before when Pharrell brought him out at his 2104 Coachella set so I was really excited.

Snoop hit the stage looking sharp! His dreads were pulled back and he was just as tall and lean as he’s always been. He came right out performing “Gin & Juice!” That was already an epic start. Hearing these classic joints LIVE make my heart smile- just saying, I LOVE live shows like this!

This crowd was so packed! Maybe a little more heavy than the crowd in front of Ice Cube, I wasn’t surprised by this at all. I made my way as far front as I could for this one, even having a couple people talk a little shit to me. Of course I want to see Snoop the best I can, wouldn’t you? A concert or festival is no place for “personal space!” Ha!

Snoop did not only the classics but some newer stuff, too. Of course we heard “Ain’t Nothin But a G Thang,” “Gangsta Party,” “What’s My Name,” and “Lodi Dodi.” We heard some newer tracks like his verse off of that Katy Perry song he did, “Drop It Like Its Hot” and his verse off the 50 Cent “P.I.M.P.” track. The DJ mixed in other classic joints that had the fans turned up like Bob Marley’s “Jammin” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around.”

Snoop Doggy Dogg showed a crazy amount of love to Denver, confirming that he will back soon, which I have no doubt. He ended his set singing with the crowd the “Young, Wild and Free” hook. It was a nostalgic moment. I’ll never forget it! Thank you Riot Fest for bringing the dope hip-hop again this year!

Check out some recap photos below (GZA, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Yelawolf, Tenacious D & more!) …

Photos: Faded Logics

Photos: DZ3 Creative