Nelly is here in Charlotte tonight. MySpace is webcasting his performance from the Neighborhood Theater.
LA video/tv vet, J. Kevin Swain is in town to direct and produce the show. He reached out for me and asked would I like to attend. It sounded appealing. I don’t know any of the MySpace crew and I haven’t hung out with Kevin in years.
I like Nelly. Country Grammar was an innovative joint. As pop records go, it had strong character, flavor and a point of view.
It’s Gettin Hot in Here was the pinnacle of my man Pharrell’s reign of terror on the charts. Nelly is fun. I chose not to go. I’m still nursing my severe case of Rock the Bells Fever.
August 2nd, Miami’s Bayfront Amphitheatre provided the stage for a lineup from hip hop’s glorious golden age. Raekwon, Dead Prez, The Pharcyde, Rakim, Method Man, Redman (with special guest Noreaga) De La Soul, Mos Def, Nas and A Tribe Called Quest all put it down like Allen Carpet. This was where I first began to get flu like symptoms. The show was sick!
The sauna like, Miami in August conditions were unbearable. I sweat through my gear twice. Comparitvely speaking, backstage was mild.
I’ve been a looong time fan and supporter of De La. While serving as National Director of Promotion at Jive, I heard there first joint, Plug Tunning backed with the insane b side, Freedom Of Speak. I immediately knew they were up to something different.
I met them and became an ardent advocate for them in the fledgling NY hip hop community and the greater music industry.
At the time of their debut release, I was working Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s, Parents Just Don’t Understand at mainstrream radio and setting up a national marketing plan for, Blastmaster KRS-1’s, By Any Means Necessary, with it’s street anthems, My Philosophy and Jimmy at college radio and mix shows. I was busy but I could always hear something new.
TURNTABLELIST JEFF TOWNES AND A FORMER MC
As a result, when I saw De La’s Plug 1/Posdonous, Plug 2/Trugoy and Plug 3/DJ Mase. It had the flavor of a reunion. 20 years ago they were all 18/19, bohemian and eccentric creative types.
Now they are no less creative but they are all family men approaching 40. Pos has three kids. Tru introduced me to his wife. Mase brought 3 children to meet me and a wife and informed me that his oldest son who was not present, has made him a grandfather. Whew.
On stage, mad mic technicians did their thing. Red and Meth performed as a tandem and crushed. Like their west coast, cannibis influenced counterparts, Cypress they did a show in praise of weed.
The hits played and in the middle of their set, Miami based, boricua bad boy, N.O.R.E. jumped on stage and did his Pharell produced heat rock, Nothin. The house crumbled.
Further near the top of the bill, God’s Son, Nas unveiled his new and more overtly political direction. Cautionary tales about Rupert Murcdoch’s ownership of Fox News and MySpace and the previous generation’s black leadership abounded. As always, when he got down to performing jawns from his ’94 classic, Illmatic, especially, The Q-Tip produced, One Love, he was mesmerizing.
New York character actor, Dominic Chianese played deposed don and James Gandolfini’s, Uncle Junior Soprano on the seminal HBO series. He is also remembered for a small but pivotal role that he played in Godfather II as, Johnny Ola, “Hyman Roth’s sicilian messenger boy.”
As I implied in the previous filing, Miami makes me think about Godfather II. So it was an odd coincidence when I ran into long time NY downtown scenester, club dj, doorman and occasional actor, Dominic Chianese Jr. as we bounced from the show. He wanted to know where the after party was. Funny, no matter how old you get, somebody thinks you know where it’s going down ’til the break of dawn.
Rumor had it that the crew was gathering at Club Nikki. I didn’t attend. I caught a late night cheese steak at Cheeseburger Baby, stopped by The Ab’s suite at The National for a minute and made my way back to The Standard.
It was approaching 3:300 am and I had to get up for an 8:30 am flight to The Apple. I needed a bit of sleep. The Rock The Bells tour was playing New York’s Jones Beach on the next day.
I was going to the birth place of hip hop to see an all day bill filled with NY icons. I wanted to catch that flight.
…to be continued
shouts to, Sade Lythcott, Giada, Manjit, Umi, Jane Morledge, Marcus Logan and…The Wirk