It all comes down to this. For its final performance, Spotlight Lexington will take a trip through hip-hop's past. Closing the two-week festival of free outdoor concerts will be Rob Base, the New York rap stylist who crossed over into the pop and R&B worlds for the 1988 hit It Takes Two.
Born Robert Ginyard in Harlem, Base formed an alliance with fellow Harlem native Rodney Bryce while the two were still in grade school. Upon high school graduation, Bryce became DJ E-Z Rock and a recording deal was struck with the Profile Records label. It Takes Two was the title tune to the duo's first album and hit in a big way.
But unlike then-contemporaries like Tone Loc, Base and Rock were a bigger deal in dance clubs than on radio. Joy and Pain and the aptly titled Get on the Dance Floor maintained the club popularity, even though Rock disappeared from Base's performance life by the end of the '80s. A 1989 solo release, The Incredible Base, was more of a critical than commercial hit and featured a rap-style revision of Edwin Starr's 1970 Motown protest hit War.
And what of the Base of today? Well, his MySpace page spells out how early success didn't spoil the veteran rapper. "Even though Rob Base has sold millions and millions of records," it explains, "he is one of the most down-to-earth cats you'll meet."
Sounds like Spotlight Lexington has just the guy to lead its final chorus.