It was a case of East meets West as New York-based hip-hop innovators De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest brought their inventive, decidedly East Coast-flavored music to Hollywood’s sold-out Palace, supported by young Bay Area crew Souls of Mischief.
Headliners De La Soul, featuring rappers Trugoy and Posdnuos, performed a solid, if unspectacular, 50-minute set of music from its three Tommy Boy albums, including cuts from the new “Buhloone Mindstate.”
While the group has long been acknowledged as the originator of so-called alternative rap, a progressive style that mixes steady funk and jazz grooves with social and political commentary, it’s still music from 1989’s “Three Feet and Rising” that gets the most live respect. “Potholes in My Lawn,””Me, Myself & I” and “I’ll Get Back to You,” all from that debut, were highlights.
On the current album, the group relies less on lyrical flow than musical, and it’s in that creative decision that De La Soul loses its edge, in recordings and live.
Second-billed A Tribe Called Quest is in a similar situation. Also promoting their third album, the recently released Jive set “Midnight Marauders,” Tribe is still trying to prove that they can hold their fans’ attention beyond their earliest material.
But in that respect, this trio succeeded where De La Soul failed. New cuts like hit single “Award Tour” held up nicely next to older songs. In spite of numerous technical difficulties, A Tribe Called Quest performed an electrifying show that nicely balanced substantial themes and free-wheeling instrumental flow.
Young Jive act Souls of Mischief opened the evening with a refreshing half-hour set of music from its exciting new “93 ’til Infinity” collection.