ATLANTIC CITY — On a night worthy of "#Throwback Thursday," the Atlantic City Beach Fest concert series featuring Ruff Ryders was a mix of new school and old school rap and hip hop Thursday.
Opening acts Drag On, the LOX and Fat Joe performed their top hits with tribute moments to rap legends Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur.
By 9 p.m., the crowd was ready for Ashanti — the goddaughter of Lorenzo Langford, a former mayor of the resort — and Ja Rule. They closed their set with two duets, "Mesmerized" and "Always on Time."
Fans said DMX's presence got them to spend as much as $100 for tickets and wait for hours for the show to start.
Besides such hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s as "What's My Name?", DMX, 46, also appeared in such movies as "Romeo Must Die," "Exit Wounds" and "Cradle 2 the Grave."
Misty Johnson, 48, of Philadelphia, spent $208 online from Ticketmaster for two front stage / gold section tickets to see the beach concert with a friend.
Johnson only comes to the resort once or twice a year. She was attending her first beach concert. She would not have been visiting the city in the middle of the week without the booking of the Ruff Ryders show.
"Ruff Ryders is amazing. My favorite person is DMX. I don't care how old he is. DMX will always be No. 1 in my heart," Johnson said. "The music is wonderful. When you are there, it's kind a party all day long."
Johnson had seen DMX live previously a few years back in the Onyx nightclub in Philadelphia.
For those who are unaware, music label Ruff Ryders Entertainment found hip-hop success in the early '90s with artists such as DMX and The Lox — a trio featuring Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch.
Married couple Mark and Marissa Perrotti, of Troy, New York, take their annual weeklong vacation here starting on the last Sunday of the July. This is the first time a beach concert coincided with their vacation.
Mark and Marissa Perrotti are both DMX fans. They were willing stay inside the Bally's Beach Bar from noon until the end of the Ruff Ryders concert at night. They were stationed at the most southeast section of the beach bar and could see the stage from their seats.
"I have 'The Best of DMX' in my car. I like the old-school, hip hop more than the new," said Mark Perrotti, who added they did not try to get tickets to the show since they arrived in the resort on vacation.
The concert was taking place between Michigan and Indiana avenues on the beach. All tickets were general admission.
The two area radio stations that play songs from the Ruff Ryders are WTTH-FM 96.1, billed as today's R&B and classic hip hop and WZBZ-FM 99.3, commonly known as the Buzz and calling it itself South Jersey's hip hop and R&B. They have been playing hits from DMX, Ashanti, Ja Rule and Fat Joe leading up to the concert.
The Buzz was hosting a pre-concert party starting at noon inside Bally's Beach Bar. 99.3 The Buzz personality Kayla Austin, the noon to 5 p.m. DJ, was broadcasting live and giving away prizes leading up to the show.
Thursday was the first time Austin did a live remote radio broadcast at one of the resort's beach concerts since she was given her own show.
"This is like my childhood. I'm so excited for this concert," said Austin, 26, of Galloway Township. "DMX is a legend ... an icon."
The concert would most likely will be the resort's final beach concert of the summer.
Casino Reinvestment Development Authority officials said there were no more announcements at the time of the Ruff Ryders announcement at the end of June. No new announcements have been made since.
The show is part of a three-year, $6 million agreement with the CRDA that requires Live Nation to bring at least six beach concerts or events that attract 30,000 attendees or more to Atlantic City this summer and next summer.
On July 24, Mayor Don Guardian announced the city would give 6,000 tickets to city residents.
Tickets were given out during designated times July 26-28 at City Hall. Four tickets per residence were distributed and were given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Proof of Atlantic City residence was needed for the tickets, as Guardian wanted to give local residents a chance to see a good show.
It was also important that the city offered diversity with their third beach concert.
"It was important to me that we had diverse lineup like we did last year with Bell Biv DeVoe and En Vogue. It was very successful. Having the Ruff Ryder's tour come to town just adds another great performance to the beaches of Atlantic City. I'm looking forward to the energy and excitement they will be bringing on August 3rd. I know the 6,000 plus tickets we gave away to Atlantic City residents last week shows just how much excitement there is locally for the concert," Guardian said.
The first two concerts this summer were Pink and Brantley Gilbert, who performed on back-to-back days in July.
Guardian estimated the Pink concert had 45,000 people on the beach and another 5,000 on the Boardwalk.
The booking of the Ruff Ryders show will be the most extreme or hardcore version of hip hop that the resort has offered for a beach concert to date.
On July 13, DMX was arrested in New York on federal tax fraud charges. Prosecutors say the rapper owes $1.7 million in taxes and has engaged in a multiyear scheme to conceal millions of dollars of income from the Internal Revenue Service.
DMX walked free the next day after pleading not guilty to what the IRS described as a brazen effort to evade taxes, saying his faith and loyal fans would keep his career on track.
DMX performed in Atlantic City in January at Boardwalk Hall for the “All Stars of Hip-Hop” show.