An unforgettable Memory at 314 Day with Plies. When Shorty Da Prince popped up doing the “Mono” we were cookin’ with grease up in there for the 314 Day celebration going down at The Pageant as folks waited for Plies – who is on the list with Yo Gotti as one of the city’s most-beloved non-natives. The pre-show turn up was real thanks pop-ups by staples of the St. Louis hip-hop scene. Laudie on Da Track and his hair game were serving Miguel realness as he lets his Panamanian roots, i.e. silky box and edges shine through. Luey V had the folks doin’ their own dance. And whoever didn’t make a cameo, DJ Shay Money showed them love – including Tha Whole Nine and Da Bangaz. I was reminded that our city has had some jams over the years, both from our peeps who went national and the groups that are definitely a 314 thing. I also saw that we have some fresh faces on the scene. Girl rap group Dineros were giving a PG-13 version of The City Girls. Okay, the Dineros were rated R, but the City Girls are NC-17 at their most wholesome moments, so the Dineros divas looked and sounded like they could have been on Nickelodeon based on what they gave us at the Pageant, if we were to compare the two groups. I’m hoping that the Dineros keep it up as far as getting used to being onstage and getting a cohesive performance dynamic, because they could be a cute addition to the scene. Now let’s get right to the main attraction. At first it was Plies, who always gives the most energy imaginable – even if he comes on stage in a bathrobe. But his show was stolen when he asked DJ Shay Money to pick someone from the crowd to serve up a twerk. A woman emerged from the floor and from the moment she got started nobody remembered what happened before – including Plies. Anytime you start your twerk from the position of a headstand, you are nothing to play with. And the woman gave us twerking mixed with contortionism, Ashtanga Yoga and acrobatics. I later found out that her name was Memory and she’s from Chicago. Hot 104.1 FM’s Miss Pooh said, “You got the right name, ‘cause ain’t nobody gonna forget you after that.” Plies was utterly enthralled – and y’all already know he’s seen master twerkers from all across the globe. Memory may or may not have had some memory foam body parts, but I can’t take nothin’ away from her skills. She could have had a “booty-do” and done those moves and we all would have been still been blown away.
Cheers to Chesley. For those of you who don’t know, my girl Chesley over at Radio One is bidding farewell to our city after serving as promotions director for the past few years. She was a beast (in the best way imaginable) and I hate to see her go – but we partied like it was 1999 up in Hollywood Casino’s Boogie Nights in an epic send off for her. Actually, we partied like it was 1989 – because R&B vets Tony Terry and Keith Washington stopped through after co-headlining a show at The Ambassador for the East St. Louis Deltas. I had a ball up in there rubbing shoulders with the Radio One folks – which I always do. And I got the tea that J. Spain, a former member of the Q 95.5 promotions team, would be her replacement – and that my girl Isis Jones will be back on the air at 95.5 FM. That’s some full-circle moment magic if I’ve ever seen it.
Will Downing is on his way back. The weather wouldn’t let Will Downing be great for Valentine’s Day, so now we can have a romantic pre-Easter concert this weekend at Harris-Stowe State University that also features Lamont Hadley thanks to Witherspoon Ent. and Breakaway Productions. It’s been a minute since I’ve heard that velvety voice of his. And I can’t wait to wind down with him Saturday night (doors open at 5;30 p.m.) – right before I run down the street and turn up with my favorite rap duo (see below). For those who don’t already have tickets, or would like more information, visit www.metrotix.com.
Legends of Hip Hop will be lit. Y’all knew where I would be Saturday night the minute 8Ball & MJG was listed on the lineup – even if I had to hit up two concerts in one night. I will go ahead and make it official that my night will end at the Chaifetz Arena when the Legends of Hip Hop Tour lands in The Lou. Too Short, Bun B, Scarface, Juvenile and DJ Quik will be getting it in for all of the 70s and 80s babies and I’m expecting to get my whole entire life. The show starts at 8 p.m. Visit www.ticketmaster.com if you haven’t already purchased your tickets.
Cool on Helium. I knew when I was greeted with a “I know who you are. I can’t help you right now. Can you step to the side, please?” that I was in for a waiting game as the new regime at the Helium box office continues to be nice-nasty cordial. At this point, my efforts feel unappreciated. I am not perching in there just to get a complementary laugh. I go attempting to spotlight the black comics that come through in an effort to let our readers know to keep Helium on their radar because they constantly rotate our favorite urban funny men and women within our roster – and to give the club some shine for doing so. Based on my last experience this Sunday trying to check out my boy Corey Holcomb, I’m going to assume that they don’t want the publicity and fall back. Sorry Adele Givens. I tried – and considering the relationship I’ve had with management before now, I was more forgiving than usual when it comes to getting dusted at the door. But after waiting 30 minutes, I’ll be passing on trying to keep it going. Thank you Sharonda for letting me in to check out Jay Pharaoh. And thanks to the many, many previous staff who was so gracious from the time they opened until two months ago when it came to providing accommodations whenever I popped in to cover comics that I knew y’all wanted to hear about.
Turning up with Tennessee State. Can we talk for a second about That Tennessee State University gathering that had me parking at the Kohl’s and walking down to the Machinist Hall to see what all the fuss was about please? Let me tell you, that HBCU brought the folks out to celebrate their Delta Sigma Theta factory school. I knew the TSU alumni network was strong in St. Louis, but I had no idea. I went through expecting a cute little gathering with a respectable-sized crowd. Based on how packed out it was, I’m going to proclaim that St. Louis has the biggest TSU alumni base out of anybody besides Nashville (where the school is located). It was all the way live like School Daze II: The Musical.