Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson
“For those that don’t know, I’m one of the originators of the human beatbox – me and Doug E. Fresh,” said rapper Biz Markie when he came out onstage for a quick but charged set at Club Vapor, the swanky two-level nightclub next to the Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s flashing, slot machine-filled gaming floor.
The opening DJ – club regular DVDJ Dread – had warmed up the crowd with video-enhanced snippets of R&B and hip-hop classics, everything from Positive K’s “I Got a Man” to Salt-n-Pepa’s “Shoop.” Then Biz Markie’s longtime DJ (and tour manager/cousin) Cool V came out, first paying tribute to Run-D.M.C.’s slain DJ Jam Master Jay before mixing a “little history lesson” of old school hip-hop, including Doug E. Fresh’s prototype “The Show” and LL Cool J’s “Rock the Bells.”
So the night was primed for nostalgia even before the Biz arrived onstage in old school Adidas sneakers to start off the show with a demonstration of his unparalleled beatboxing credentials. On “Biz Is Goin’ Off” and “Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz” – both songs from his 1988 debut “Goin’ Off” – he added some creative tongue-popping, mouth-blowing percussion, even holding the microphone up against his throat or head to enhance the effects.