It was a good day for Gen X: Kings of the West tour a greatest hits for nostalgia

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Ice Cube and WC perform Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Payne Arena in Hidalgo. (Tami Cupples-Hernandez | The Monitor)

HIDALGO — Forgotten generation who?

It was far too loud inside Payne Arena on Saturday night for anyone to ignore Gen X.

With exuberant gusto, nobody forgot Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Uncle Charles, Too Short’s favorite word and why Ice Cube said it was a good day.


I got to parenthood late, and after entering my 40s — and then falling in farther — I have become very selective about how I spend my free time. Frankly, you’re not going to get me to change out of yoga pants for a basic evening out. I can’t be the only one.

I also find myself being drawn to social events that directly tie to happy memories. I’m not great at making new friends, but reunions are a must, especially with those I shared lots of fun times with in my youth.

Same goes for music. If I could afford it, and they were playing nearby, I’d buy tickets to see chart-topping artists. But time is just a precious as money, and I’m looking for a guarantee.

Even though it’s been decades, the Kings of the West tour took me Straight Outta midlife and into my youth.

When Cube performed “Friday,” I was back in my Ohio hometown at my friend’s efficiency apartment reciting every line of the film. Then, we’d hit the local Denny’s — where we’d order water with lemon and empty their sugar tray making our own lemonade, because we couldn’t afford the beverage. We’d boldly request a side of ranch to eat with the Saltines already at the table. That staff must’ve loathed us.

When Bone members Layzie Bone and Flesh-n-Bone sang “First of the Month,” I was back in 1995, driving my dad’s loaner Ford Probe to the mall, where everything I purchased was a size too big.

Layzie Bone and Flesh-n-Bone of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony perform Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Payne Arena in Hidalgo. (Tami Cupples-Hernandez | The Monitor)

When Ice Cube — and Westside Connection bandmate WC (“dub C”), who was a permanent presence during Cube’s set — performed their 1996 hit “Bow Down,” I was back at the historic Ohio Theater in Lima, Ohio, which operated as a dance club in the 1990s, and Brandy’s nightclub in Findlay, Ohio. My hometown was not diverse, and it wasn’t until I started college that I came to gain Black friends.

When Short performed “Shake that Monkey,” I was in a long-shuttered Rio Grande Valley club hitting the dance floor. It was 2003, I was pretty new to the McAllen area and, before downtown McAllen was established, clubs that popped up didn’t seem to last long.

When Cube rapped “Check Yo Self,” I was again that shy high school senior, lacking confidence and high self esteem, imaging life beyond my three stoplight hometown.

And when Bone sang “Crossroads,” and invited the crowd to turn on their cell phone cameras, I remembered singing about my grandfather, who passed in 1994. In 2024, though, my thoughts wander to the funerals for three more grandparents, a classmate, a former boyfriend of 10 years and, finally, the events after the sudden loss of my mother a little over a year ago.

Rapper Too Short performs Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Payne Arena in Hidalgo. (Tami Cupples-Hernandez | The Monitor)


As music is known to do, the crowd Saturday was an eclectic mix of personalities and ages. After a long trip to the arena — the place seats more than 7,000, and concertgoers battled with BorderFest attendees for the road and parking — the vibe was positive and united.

While this was definitely a West side party, I would be remiss to not mention Cleveland was definitely in the house.