The roof was on fire Saturday night at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. The 90s House Party arrived in St. Louis for a night filled with old school hip hop, crimped hair, and a lot of reminiscing. The evening included 90s favorites: Young MC, Tone Loc, Montell Jordan, All 4 One, Coolio, Rob Base, Naughty by Nature, and Vanilla Ice.
Young MC kicked off the evening with a short set including a few newer songs, including “Back At It” and “Nocturnal” before pumping the crowd up with the classic hit, “Bust A Move.” Although it was a chilly night, the amphitheatre was heating up.
Tone Loc came to the stage next and the audience went wild. His original music videos began to play on the screens as he asked the crowd to go back with him to 1990. His classic low raspy voice sounded the same as it did 28 years ago as he blew into “Funky Cold Medina.” The party kept escalating though as he covered Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” and even asked women from the audience to come dance on stage with him through the end of his set. As rainbow lights lit the stage up, the first notes to “Wild Thing” played and the house party started to get crazy.
The atmosphere was building and only escalated as Montell Jordan came to the stage, teasing the crowd with a little taste of “This Is How We Do It.” Jordan then played a few other throwbacks including “I Like” and “Somethin’ 4 Da Honeyz” before explaining that he no longer plays his more “dirty” songs. Jordan is now a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia and told the crowd that he came on tour to tell people that even if they don’t go to church, he wants audience members to know that God loves them and misses them. He stated, “God even came to a 90s concert to be with you tonight.” After cheers from the crowd and a little more conversation, Jordan had the crowd going wild as he performed “This Is How We Do It.”
All 4 One dramatically took the stage with a swell of “O Fortuna” and swirling lights. With perfectly timed boy band choreography, All 4 One captured the audience with “I Can Love You Like That” and “She’s Got Skillz” before amping up the energy with a medley of songs that defined the 90s, including Boyz II Men’s “Motownphilly,” Tony! Toni! Tone!’s “Feels Good” and Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison.” The crowd was buzzing by the end of the set, and when the lighters went up for “I Swear” it was clear that the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre had transformed back into Riverport.
Coolio changed the mood as he took the stage next. Between a tribute to Prince, Aretha Franklin, and Muhammad Ali, to a rendition of “Hit Em High” he brought everything to the set. Through his entire performance, audience members were gearing up to hear “Gangsta’s Paradise.” When the first notes dropped, the crowd went wild. Coolio ended his set by climbing down into the crowd and reminding everyone to love their neighbor and to share peace.
Rob Base took over next and began to pump the crowd up with “Joy and Pain” before moving into a Rick James cover of “Mary Jane.” He then took a second to give a warm “rest in peace” to partner, DJ E-Z Rock who passed away in 2014. Finally, with building crowd anticipation, he played classic hit, “It Takes Two.” The crowd was dancing and it felt like a true house party as the night progressed, only increasing with each performer.
Naughty By Nature rocked the audience with an enthusiastic performance of “OPP” complete with women asked up onto the stage. The duo then led the crowd in a medley of DMX’s “Up In Here,” House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” which led to a bellowing amphitheatre full of voices. Naughty even gave a shout out to Nelly and St. Louis by singing a quick snippet of “Hot In Herre.” Rounding out their set, the duo celebrated 25 years of “Hip Hop Hooray” with a long rendition that even included a few classic 90s chants like “wave your hands in the air” and “the roof is on fire.”
Vanilla Ice finished up the night with a variety of entertaining features including having a Ninja Turtle on stage with him for “Ninja Rap” and a segment of freestyling with Coolio, Naughty by Nature, and Tone Loc. The other performers saluted him for paving the way for white rappers, and then led into a funky version of “Play that Funky Music.” After some joking with the crowd and dancing with audience members on stage, it was the moment everyone was waiting for. “Ice Ice Baby” could be heard from space as the amphitheatre bounced. He then thanked the military and gave his special condolences to Mac Miller, who passed away on Friday. Vanilla finished up the night by partying on stage to Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” and Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.”
It was a night to remember, and for those who lived through the 90s, a time to reminisce. If Saturday night cleared anything up, it’s that 90s gangsta rap will never die.