Live ReviewsMusic

LL Cool J and Crew Celebrate 50 Years of Hip-Hop at Spectrum

Spectrum Center, Sept. 9, 2023

LL Cool J wears orange pants, a black shirt and a Yankees hat while performing onstage
LL Cool J performs at Spectrum Center on Sept. 9. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
It was back in June that hip-hop legend LL Cool J announced he would be pushing back the scheduled start of The F.O.R.C.E. Tour, his first headlining tour in three decades.
In a since-removed video that month, LL explained the reason for the unexpected delays, writing, “I have to give my fans an experience that is unforgettable. I want to make sure everything is done right, and in order to do that, I had to change some things up.”
LL Cool J wears orange pants, a black shirt and a Yankees hat while performing onstage
LL Cool J performs at Spectrum Center on Sept. 9. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
Despite the delay, those in attendance for his start-studded show would have to agree it was worth the wait, as they joined LL in celebrating 50 years of hip-hop music on Saturday.
Black Thought (left) and LL Cool J perform at Spectrum Center on Sept. 9. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
On tour with a crew of friends and legends, LL Cool J has taken last year’s Grammy performance/celebration and hit the road with it. The Roots, who served as backing band throughout the night — relieved of their Tonight Show duties thanks to the writer’s strike — kicked things off with a brief set.
De La Soul performs at Spectrum Center on Sept. 9. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
From there, the surviving members of De La Soul brought it back to the beginning with a bevy of their own music and The Roots’ Black Thought filling in for Trugoy the Dove, who passed away earlier this year.
LL Cool J offered up his first set performing an array of hits before brief sets from David Banner, Rakim and Juvenile. LL returned to the stage for a second set of his own, throwing a few more classic tracks into the mix.
The Roots performs at Spectrum Center on Sept. 9. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
Overall, the party never stopped as the crowd sang along and grooved to every beat and rhythm for a celebration unlike many others that hip-hop fans have seen in Charlotte.
Be sure to check out Queen City Nerve’s Soundwave, Charlotte’s most comprehensive live music listing, so you don’t miss out on any shows or concerts coming up. And hell, if you’re looking for something else to do, you can check out our events page as well, which runs the gamut of things to do in Charlotte. You don’t ever have to be bored again. You can check out more of Jeff’s pics and live reviews here.

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