LIVE: Digital Underground @ Vapor, 11/10/12

Humpty Hump

Humpty Hump

Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson. See more of Kirsten’s photos from this show here.

“I’m the original big nose rapper,” said Digital Underground frontman Humpty Hump — aka Shock G — after sauntering onstage at Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s Vapor Night Club in a red-and-black velvet smoking jacket, skunk-striped fro and his signature Groucho glasses.

The Digital Underground frontman, one of the most distinctive figures in ‘90s hip-hop, kept up the nerdy, debauched professor look and nasally Humpty voice for half the show—oozing sleazy charm and thrilling the crowd with a handful of old-school songs, from “The Return of the Crazy One” to the group’s biggest (and by far most ridiculous) hit, the Parliament-sampling, ego-tripping “The Humpty Dance.”

Lots of amusingly ribald stuff from the frontman who famously boasted on the latter about getting “busy in a Burger King bathroom.”

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During “Same Song,” perhaps the best of the old-school Digital Underground tunes, Humpty Hump’s long-time Digital Underground mate, rapper Money-B, joined him on stage, and Humpty held out the mic to a man in the crowd who did a spot-on take of the verse that originally featured Tupac Shakur (2Pac)— launching the career of the now-deceased rapper when the song came out in 1991.

“Humpty has left the building. I’m not Humpty right now,” announced Shock G after ditching the fake hooked nose, checkered scarf and smoking jacket halfway through for a decidedly more California look of colored aviator glasses, white pants and surfer t-shirt. After bouncing around on stage to the high-energy, Funkadelic-sampling 1991 hit “Kiss You Back” and a cover of Luniz’ classic R&B party song, “I Got 5 on It,” things took a slightly more sober turn.

“Is Tupac Shakur’s spirit in the house tonight?” asked Shock G from behind his Roland keyboard as the P-Funk-loving West Coast group — which at Vapor also featured recurring Digital Underground members DJ Fuze and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Pee Wee Gooden — spent the rest of the show stretching out into some serious funk jams.

Remembering the “young Gemini who came through our lives,” as Shock G said from the stage, the group did a three-song tribute to the murdered Shakur, including “I Get Around,” which featured both Shock G and Money-B when the song appeared on 2Pac’s second album in 1993; 2Pac’s prophetic and sad “So Many Tears”; and “I Ain’t Mad at Cha,” a 2Pac song more recently covered by hip-hop artist J. Cole.

“Let’s get sexy in this motherfucker,” said Shock G before Digital Underground closed with an extended, super-funky version of their Donna Summer-sampling, booty-loving, twisted anthem, “Freaks of the Industry.”

DIGITAL UNDERGROUND SET LIST
The Return of the Crazy One
Packet Man
Same Song
The Humpty Dance
I Got 5 on It (Luniz)
Kiss You Back
I Get Around/So Many Tears/I Ain’t Mad at Cha (Tupac tribute)
Freaks of the Industry

Shock G

Shock G

Money-B and Shock G

Money-B and Shock G

DJ Fuze

DJ Fuze

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