Hip-Hop Alive, Well and 'Wild' at Anniversary Jam

The "Wild Style '98 Reunion Jam" on Thursday at the Hollywood Athletic Club was designed to salute the 15th anniversary of the release of the seminal hip-hop film "Wild Style."

But the entertainment wasn't limited to the screening of the film, which brought a sense of sweet nostalgia to the room as viewers got to witness anew the early innocence of many of the founding elements of contemporary hip-hop--from rapping and break-dancing to deejaying and graffiti.

The live portion of the evening was equally engaging as some of the early stars of New York hip-hop, including Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, demonstrated the spirit and skills that launched this culture.

Fab 5 Freddie, who was featured in the movie and went on to host "Yo! MTV Raps," emceed the "Reunion Jam," overseeing the six-hour affair's rap and break-dancing segments.

Of the rap sequence, which ran for more than two hours, the highlight came when Blow, Grandmaster Caz, Prince Whipper Whip, Busy Bee, Rahiem, Donald D and Mellow Man Ace took turns at the end of the night rapping on stage as Grandmaster Flash cut and scratched through a number of modern hip-hop instrumentals.

Crazy Legs dominated the break-dancing portion by not only demonstrating his typical world-class moves, but also by encouraging numerous members of the audience to show off their skills on the dance floor.

For a music that was consistently written off as a novelty trend for years by the music world, the evening was a warm tribute to the legacy and continued good health of hip-hop.

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