Oakland Ends Its Yearlong Ban on Rap

From Associated Press

Rap is back.

After a yearlong moratorium, rap music returned to the Oakland stage Saturday night as 3,000 fans packed the Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium for a show featuring rappers Too Short and Ice Cube.

The concert--with unusually tight security--was the first since violence at earlier shows prompted the moratorium. Aside from a few shoving matches, the event was peaceful.

Oakland ranks with New York City as the nation’s hotbed of rap, spawning Too Short, superstar MC Hammer and the group Digital Underground.


The city’s last rap concert, on the same stage, ended in violence when fights among several rival gangs broke out during a December, 1989, show by the controversial rappers 2 Live Crew.

It was the last in a series of violence at rap shows, including a wild, chair-throwing fracas at the Oakland Coliseum that left one person with a gunshot wound.

As a result, the auditorium and the Coliseum both imposed a yearlong moratorium on all rap concerts. The Coliseum has yet to book another rap show.

Too Short, whose biting and sometimes raunchy lyrics stirred the audience Saturday, repeatedly reminded his fans to keep it cool.

Concert promoter Bill Graham said he increased his usually tight security by about a third, and the auditorium came up with a security plan designed just for the show.

A police helicopter hovered overhead, lighting the parking lot with a bright beam. Barricades circled the parking lot and fans were ushered through a maze of metal gates leading to the auditorium entrance where they were patted down and scanned with a metal detector.

At the end of the show, the crowd was herded out by a line of police officers and security personnel.