The “I Love The 90’s” Tour may not have been as broad as the title suggested, but for anyone who watched “Yo! MTV Raps” or listened to B96 back in the day, the line-up definitely hit the spot. Though the Allstate Arena wasn’t quite sold out, the numbers were very respectable considering Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Tone Lōc, Color Me Badd and Rob Base haven’t ruled the airwaves in an awfully long time.
Salt-N-Pepa may not have recorded since that very decade, but their influence amongst virtually every woman in hip-hop (and many of the men) was apparent from “Shake Your Thang” to “Let’s Talk About Sex” and beyond.
The house was actually in the process of filling up as gravely-voiced rapper Tone Lōc warmed up the crowd, but most arrived right in time for the dance party “Wild Thing.” From there, R&B-tinted vocal troupe Color Me Badd hit the stage, but much to the disappointment of those hoping to sing-a-long to “I Adore Mi Amor” and “I Wanna Sex You Up,” the trio could barely be heard beyond the hush of their personal monitors.
Although the guys clearly had their routine down pat and would’ve likely conveyed ultra-smooth harmonies on a normal night, the unacceptable sonic issue was met with boos and mounting frustration to the members. After everyone essentially missed properly getting to experience the group, technicians scrambled to find a solution as a DJ interlude went much longer than expected.
When Coolio eventually hit the mic, the kinks weren’t entirely worked out, which was most apparent in a muddy mixture between the live instruments and backing beats. However, he never lost his cool in front of the crowd, and even though the system was still operating well below the standards of a supposedly major tour come the mega “Gangsta’s Paradise,” he completely sold the smash and took a consolatory lap throughout the audience during the next intermission to pose for selfies as Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.” played seemingly unaffected overheard.
By the time Rob Base came out, all the levels were finally back to normal and the “It Takes Two” crossover hero was able to entertain without hindrance. However, everyone really seemed to be waiting for Salt-N-Pepa, who besides original emcees Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton, also included the equally groundbreaking Deidra “Spinderella” Roper on the turntables and two male dancers.
Salt-N-Pepa may not have recorded since that very decade, but their influence amongst virtually every woman in hip-hop (and many of the men) was apparent from “Shake Your Thang” to “Let’s Talk About Sex” and beyond. There was certainly some filler along the way (including snippets of Nirvana, Guns ‘N Roses and some casual banter), but when Salt-N-Pepa got back down to business with “Whatta Man,” “Shoop” and “Push It,” they were completely unbeatable.
Despite having much less of a musical impact outside of a few novelties, rapper/actor/reality TV star Vanilla Ice brought a serious show, pumping up the otherwise rinky-dink production with his own backdrop, inflatables, billowing smoke and a confetti bomb. Of course, many probably came for “Ninja Rap,” “Play That Funky Music” and “Ice Ice Baby,” all of which popped up somewhat early in his set and sent the bulk racing for the exits before having to pay the babysitter overtime, though seemingly satisfied with at least the fully audible parts of the neon-adored trip down memory lane.
Click here for more Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, Vanilla Ice and photos from the Allstate Arena.
For a list of upcoming shows at Allstate Arena, visit Rosemont.com/Allstate/.