By Ani Yapoundzhyan, 18, Pasadena City College
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"If hip hop was food, then 92.3 The Beat’s Summer Jam ’99 would be an all-you-can-eat buffet. On August 15th, over a dozen of the hottest artists of the year were on hand at Irvine Meadows for the famished audience of 14,000. More than half the performances were R&B and didn’t quite get the audiences’ full attention. These appetizers were plenty and undercooked. As evident from years past, R&B does not sit well at long concerts because the energy and adrenaline that the audience craves is just not in effect. Shanice, Tyrese, and Kelly Price gave mediocre performances, while Case was so horrible that I wondered if he had ever sung live before. His sexual innuendos and continous rolling of the tongue satisfied only a few groupies gathered in the front. 112’s performance was a bit more lively and to the crowds’ general liking because they sang the famous "Only You." The best of the R&B appetizers was Faith Evans, who gave one of the most powerful performances of the day. With sweat and makeup running down her face, she took it back to the old with "Soon As I Get Home." She sang songs off her latest album including "Love Like This" and "All Night Long." She gave off excellent vibes by smiling throughout the whole show and really connecting with the audience. At the end of her set, she took a couple of minutes and asked everyone to join her in chanting "B.I.G. R.I.P." in reference to her slain husband, The Notorious B.I.G. Rap and hip hop anthems get the crowd excited The main course of the event was delicious and very satisfying. Naughty By Nature captivated the scene as they went into what they are known for best: hip hop anthems. They instantly had the crowd on their feet with their classic "OPP" and got even rowdier with "Feel Me Flow" and this summer’s "Jamboree." As they started to sing "Hip Hop Hooray" all that could be seen of the audience was their arms in the air, swaying back and forth with every "Heeey, Ho." They also took some time out and did a rendition of different songs from Tupac, adding "Tupac lives… we just won’t tell you where." Dru Hill got a little too excited with Sisqo sounding suspiciously like he was attempting to beatbox. They sang "How Deep Is Your Love" and "The Wild Wild West" with electric guitars and the works. What would have been a half-baked performance turned wild as surprise guest Ja Rule took the stage with Dru Hill and stole the show with "Holla, Holla." His adrenaline-fueled energy amused the crowd because he was so hyper. Also on the platter was Q-Tip, who proved that he doesn’t need the rest of A Tribe Called Quest to still be down. Heads were bobbing, bodies were grooving, and mouths were repeating along with Tip as he rendered his own version of "Scenario" and "Find A Way." As an added bonus, Raphael Saddiq joined Tip as the duo performed their hit "Get Involved." The only disappointing factor was that Sadiqq disappeared after that one song, leaving the audience hungry for more. And finally, after hours of enduring the heat and waiting with anticipation, dessert was served. And how sweet it was. Busta Rhymes, along with fellow Flipmodian Spliff Star, took performing to the next level. Their spectacle included a couple of minutes of dissing each other (read: stand-up comedy), Spliff climbing on top of one of the huge speakers and shaking his butt, Busta screaming at the top of his lungs for anyone sitting down to "Get your asses up!" stripping down to their boxers and eventually mooning the audience. Oh yeah, they were considerate enough to dedicate a little time to actually rap hits like "Tear Da Roof Off," "Woo Ha," "Gimme Some Mo’" and "Dangerous." They put their heart and soul into their performance. Sure, the mediocre R&B artists were one too many and the breaks between sets were far too long. However, there were plenty of memorable performances. A few sour grapes can be overlooked when you are eating from a tray of fine foods."