De La Soul cast themselves as the introverted, suburbanites from Long Island when they first debuted in the early ’90s with 3 Feet High and Rising. Fittingly one of their first hits was titled “Me, Myself, and I.”
Last night, however, at the taping for the 5th annual VH1 Hip-Hop Honors showcase the trio of Posdnous, Maseo, and Dave, formerly known as Trugoy, were hardly kept below the radar.
EPMD (who should be honored themselves soon) and Public Enemy split time showering Plug One, Two, and Three with adulation.
Chuck D was joined by Native Tongue disciple Mos Def as the two spit De La’s classic “Stakes is High.” Q-Tip and British soul singer Estelle kicked off the tribute with the Daisy Age anthem “Saturday.” Cee-Lo was also on hand to honor the them.
Actor Michael Rappaport introduced De La Soul to the stage and the guys quickly turned the festivities into a sing-a-long. Q-Tip returned to the stay and joined the trio for their rendition of “Buddy,” the track that helped to launch Tip’s career.
Long Island was reppin strong with De La, PE, and EPMD, but the Bronx gave ‘em plenty of competition.
Tracy Morgan, of course, held down the MC duties once again. The Boogie Down comedian entered on the presidential tip promising his hip-hop constituents he accepted their nomination…to host.
A real diplomatic presence was on hand, though, in Slick Rick.
The BX rapper was honored by Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, and Dana Dane.
Bus and Spliff star, in throwback ’80s garb, rocked “The Show.” Eve, sporting a slim one-piece denim cat suit spun “Mona Lisa” around. And Loso, decked out like Rick with his trademark Kangol to the side, spit alongside Dana Dane.
But Slick’s storytelling prowess was honored right when Ghostface stepped to the stage. The Wu-Tang member with the vivid imagination did a house-rising rendition of “La Di Da Di” with house DJ Biz Markie on the beat box.
Los Angelinos Cypress Hill were also honored. Gym Class Heroes front man Travis McCoy, Fat Joe and Jim Jones took the stage in their name. Jones (and later Juelz) turned out to be this year’s Lupe Fiasco. The Harlem MC botched a few lines of CP’s “I Ain’t Going Out.”
Too $hort and Naughty by Nature rounded out the nominees. Short Dog was joined by a host of vets on stage, including Scarface.
Face, along with Cee Lo, the Roots, Chuck D and Mos Def paid tribute to the late Isaac Hayes.
Mos performed “Warning,” by the Notorious B.I.G., which sampled Hayes’ work.
Naughty closed out the show much like they did in the ’90s with an onslaught of anthems.
Treach and Vin Rock, rejoined by Kay Gee (the DJ parted ways with the MCs, but the three have reconciled), stormed onto the stage.
Surrounded by a huge posse, Treach ripped into “Uptown Anthem,” before wrapping things up with “Hip-Hop Hooray.”
Other notables in attendance included retired NFL star Michael Strahan, Brand Nubian, and Melle Mel.
Lil Wayne, who was slated to perform, did not attend.
VH1 Hip-Hop Honors is set to air Monday, October 6 at 10PM on VH1.—Anthony Thomas