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BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Minneapolis 1998 -

Last year Wyclef's Carnival shocked the increasingly insular hip-hop nation with an album that incorporated Haitian compas and Bee Gees samples. The record, though uneven, had some great moments, and the touring version of the Allstars--featuring a full band and rapper John Forte--turned those moments into an amazingly energetic hip-hop history revue. We moved from classic Run-DMC to an ingenious Puffy spoof, complete with a fiendishly floppy dance-routine parody. The whole thing was ecstatic, and the show went on long after the First Avenue house lights had gone up. "I don't mean to show any disrespect to the house DJ, but we're gonna keep it goin' here," a joyous 'Clef shouted as he and the Allstars' DJ sent a racially mixed First Ave. crowd into a frenzy with a mix of classic hip hop and freestyle rhyming. We didn't see a happier room all year.

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