The hair gods knew my freshly flat-ironed, natural hair would not survive a downpour – and allowed the rain to stop Thursday night in time for me to get my eventful weekend started. Timing my arrival perfectly, I arrived at Gentleman Jack’s premiere hip-hop event, Art, Beats & Lyrics just in time to miss its usual lengthy line that gets my spirit right as far as a reality check and mental preparation to take on Black Friday. As an avid ABL attendee, I stepped inside Ballpark Village to see the folks at Jack Daniels had successfully packed out another event. As usual, Jack Daniels was being served to attendees, while breathtakingly beautiful pieces by artists like Zach Wolfe, Yungai, and Tim Okamura hung throughout the venue. Now, because I’m a huge art junkie, I was in awe of the huge illustration of fellow Pisces – "Erykah Badu” by Yung Yemi. I literally stood there for a few minutes trying to figure out if it would fit in my car, and where I could put the painting in my house. Eventually, my night led me front and center of the stage to see J. Cole signed artist, Bas. The Dreamville rapper gave the crowd a sneak peek into a few of the songs he would be performing on his upcoming Milky Way tour – slated to kick off November 6. After his high energy performance, DRES that BEATnik had the crowd on 10 with 90s hip-hop and R&B tunes that reminded me of an ol’ school basement party. Of course, no night of partying ends without food, and I got the taste of the long line I thought I avoided when I stood amongst the mass of folks at El Birdos Cantina with the same craving for some late-night Mexican eats. I wonder if their digestive system was as punished as mine was – so much so that I started to give sponsorship for this entry to Imodium AD for coming through! Okay, enough TMI about my midnight digestive crisis. Let me get back to ABL. Though I can’t say it was my favorite ABL to date, the event still lived up to its artsy reputation.
Laughing Out Loud with Nick Cannon and his crew. I can’t even begin to tell y’all how hard I laughed at Nick Cannon’s Wild N Out event on Friday at Enterprise Center. I knew when the show played The Ambassador some months back and was so packed that folks would have been willing to set up shop in the parking lot and watch via satellite, that its return would be a hit. But even then, I didn’t think it would sell-out the whole Enterprise Center. Well it did. And I was left gasping for air as I belted out those big, stupid ugly laughs that are typically accompanied by tears the entire night. The entire cast brought the heat as they cracked joke-after-joke on one another and the audience. My two favorite moments of the night were Rip Michael’s set and when STL’s own Hitman Holla went against everybody during The Wildstyle and put on for his city. Nobody was safe on that stage when he got through! But the biggest casualty of the night – aside from Katt Williams being MIA – was not one of Hitman Holla’s victims. It was Memphis rapper Young Dolph and his snooze of a performance. I can’t think of anybody who seemed so unbothered with giving a single sip of stage presence in front of a stadium full of nearly 20,000 folks. If you ever want to know how NOT to leave an impression, see if you can find some footage of his tired little set. It was the only lowlight of the show, and luckily Rick Ross graced the stage and gave me my entire life. Aside from Dolph, the whole show had my full attention, because the Wild N Out crew came to snatch edges and wigs! And by snatching wigs, I mean literally removing the units from the heads of two unfortunate audience members for all of young black St. Louis to see. And all of us cackled so loud they could probably hear us all the way down to Clark Street.
In A Perfect World with District Rhythm. More artists should include St. Louis on their tour stops, because one thing you can never say is that the STL doesn’t show up and show out when one of our favorites comes to town. My fun-filled weekend concluded with 95.5 the Lou’s District Rhythm Series featuring Keri Hilson and special guest, Bobby V. (the artist formerly known as Bobby Valentino) at Ballpark Village. DJ Kut and Meghan O got the crowd ready. Then Bobby V came out and worked the stage – sprinkling seduction onto the female fans that clung to every note he sang. Belting out some of his tunes like “Beep, Beep,” “Turn the Page,” and “Anonymous,” the Atlanta crooner had the crowd going wild. Bobby V even paid homage to those who came before him with cover performances including Jodeci’s “Feenin’,” R. Kelly’s “Bump-n-Grind,” and H-Town’s “Knockin the Boots.” Bobby V closed out his set – showing off his octaves and falsetto range with an acapella performance of “Slow Down.” Although, I can’t say I’ve ever been a huge fan of his, I will say he convinced me to add some of his songs to a few of my Apple Music playlists.
Next on the stage, was Miss Keri baby herself. The ATL singer came out rocking some diamond studded boots that I wouldn’t mind adding to my already large shoe collection. Hilson kicked off her set to “Turnin Me On,” one of her hits off her first album, In A Perfect World. Though there was no doubt her voice was as beautiful as she was, I had a hard time hearing her over the sound system that was drowning her out. Despite not being able to hear her voice clearly, Ms. Hilson still managed to rock the stage and keep the crowd engaged, performing fan favorites like, “Slow Dance,” “Energy,” and “Number One.” Serenading the crowd with her sultry looks and voice, Hilson wrapped up her set with a little girl power audience participation as the ladies rocked to her popular track, “Pretty Girl Rock.” While grabbing more tacos (don’t judge me...LOL!), I could hear Hilson thanking the crowd as she performed the song that made her a household name, “Knock You Down.” As a lifetime lover of R&B and fan of intimate concerts, I’d say this was a Sunday well spent.