Nato Caliph, NandoSTL and Larry Morris

Nato Caliph and Larry Morris came through to check out new music by NandoSTL (center) at the private listening party for his upcoming EP “Bamboo” Thursday night at Shock City Studios.

On ‘rona restriction. It’s no secret that we are living in a moment you couldn’t have ever told me I would live to see, but here we are. As the city, county, state, country and world live on lockdown as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, coronavirus or “The Rona,” among us,  I will be following the CDC guidelines and the orders in place for the region and staying out of these streets. What does that mean? Other than me feeling like I’m starring in a TV One Original remake of “I Am Legend,” I have no idea – other than I will be doing everything humanly possible to protect myself from “The Rona.” Partyline as we know it will change in the short term – because we are not allowed to party. I will come up with something to keep y’all kee-keeing in the meantime, so stay tuned. Quite honestly, I’m stumped because this is something I never expected to experience in all of my days. But here we are, in a pandemic. I will be spending the next couple of days brainstorming on exactly what I will be doing with this space for the foreseeable future. Just know that it will be something you can enjoy In the meantime, drop me some social distancing selfies at dshante@stlamerican.com.  And let me remind y’alls to stay prayed up and stay read up on the virus and the efforts taking place across the region to protect us and the precautions you need to take to protect yourselves.

Going out with a bang the Black Business Ball.  For my last outing for the near future, I made my way to the Billionheiress Girls Club for their inaugural Black Business Ball. Y’all know that the founders have the juice if they can pack out the place during a pandemic. But anyway, it was back when the orders were handed down to limit gatherings to under 1,000 – so no rules were broken. It was a glorious time as they celebrated black business and black lady bosses. I think we all quietly knew that it was the last time we would be gathering en masse for a minute, so we partied like it was 1999 – and it was on 314 Day too!!!! DJ Kut was killing it with his STL mix. I almost caught an elbow to my cleavage from Sabrina, who was “mobbing out” like nobody’s business on the dancefloor. Koko C’vere would have been pleased to see it. Oh, and shout out to the lovely woman with the glamorous face mask that incorporated coronavirus protection into her ensemble. But on a serious note, the Billionheiress Girls Club deserves a standing ovation with a long slow clap the way they encouraged African American businesses owners – and a special spotlight on the women entrepreneurs making major moves. Jami Dolby did her thing as mistress of ceremony – especially with how she encouraged guests to connect with each other via LinkedIn and sow into helping the Billionheiress mission of uplifting black women handling their business. The group started as a Facebook page about two months ago and has since grown to more than 30,000 members and making moves to support entrepreneurship beyond social media. My girl Dallas and her whole squad have been using her Beyond brand to give back – including over the holidays when they gave away a whole car to a woman and her family. I feel like they are taking it to the next level with BBB and Billionheiress Girls Club. I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the near future.

NandoSTL might be next. I have been kind of feeling this way since I saw him tear up the stage at Pop’s while wearing a summer crop sleeved, senior citizen church choir robe. But I feel like I might as well make it official that I think NandoSTL just might be the next rapper to go national out of the STL. He held a listening party for his EP “Bamboo” Thursday at Shock City, and I was absolutely checking for the music. His singing voice is just enough to get the job done, but as a total package, it absolutely works with the beats, the rhymes and the features. Based on his stage presence, his domination nominations at SLUM Fest and new music, I feel like I might be onto something. We shall see.  “Bamboo” drops on Friday, so you can listen for yourselves and decide whether I’m right about it.

314Day with Mocha Latte and Mo Spoon. Saturday afternoon I stopped by Blue Dine and while it was slower motion than their usual sets strictly due to early coronavirus precautions, I still had a blast as Mocha Latte and her lovely daughter Sidney held a belated birthday bash so that they could celebrate with the city on 314 Day. Mocha, girl, what’s your secret? You and Sidney look like sisters and I know for a fact that you were grown when you had her. Mo Spoon and Mocha still had a win, which is no small feat, considering they were on the front end of what is now a full on regional shut down. I know the folks who stopped by and celebrated with Mocha and Sidney while repping for STL glad they came out for one last chance to kick it. And can we talk for a second about how magnificent those “So St. Louis” cakes were? Cakes by Nette did the doggone thing. So did one of my faves, Ashley of For Always with her STL inspired cupcakes.

Jamming with Jubu and company. Saturday afternoon, I hit up BB’s for some good old fashion blues courtesy of Angel’s presentation of The Jubu Experience. For those who don’t know, Jubu is the guitarist for Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and is so cold with it that you had to be there to understand. Justin Hoskin and Terry Rogers set it on fire – and by the time Terry got to what is now essentially his signature song “These Last Two Dollars” it was full juke joint mode up in there. The house band was life! Then Jubu got up there and slayed! All the musicians who were up in there got to going crazy over Mono Neon, who I had never heard of before Saturday. His attire is Fraggle Rock realness, but when he got to slapping that bass, I was like, “Oh, this is what all the fuss is about. I understand, and I’m a new fan!”

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