Remembering Mike Brown. I thought I would kick off this week by taking a moment to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Michael Brown as the region reflects on the five years since his death compelled a community to rise up – and the entire world to take notice. People will be gathering to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Ferguson uprising through a host of programming in the coming days. And while we certainly should be proud of the people who took action to shed light on systemic injustice, let us be mindful that at the root of the unrest was a family that lost their son. Rest in peace Mike Brown. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.
Mary and Nas have the Midas touch. Listen, I went into Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre Wednesday with every expectation to get my whole entire life from Mary J. Blige and Nas from their Royalty Tour. And yet, those two still managed to blow me away. They played no games and brought that smoke as they paired up to celebrate the 25th Anniversary milestones for “Illmatic” and “My Life.” Before we get into the actual show, can we talk about how good they both looked. Nas has not aged since before “Oochie Wally” and Mary’s post-Kendu revenge body gave her every license and green light to be on that stage almost nekkid (yes, nekkid). If anybody else had been wearing that little black unit that looked like she bought it from the King of Diamond’s boutique, I would cry midlife crisis. But she was so snatched that I couldn’t help but co-sign. And those boots – hammercy!! She had me looking like a zombie Thursday morning, because I was on PoshMark.com all night looking for gently used discount designer replicas. Okay, now let’s get on with the show. I wish Nas had spent another night here so he could school a couple of the acts on the Decent Exposure tour on the art of performing without backing vocal tracks. What? It’s true. Decked out in a Sammy Davis Jr., tuxedo Nasir Jones gave us all the hits. I was trying to remember the last time (or if at all) I saw him in St. Louis – and gave up. Either way, I won’t forget the Royalty Tour experience because of the memorable performances. Was it me, or did Mary’s set feel twice as long? Oh well, she gave us everything we could have asked for and the dramatic death drop that we didn’t know we needed until she sprawled herself across those stage stairs. The only thing that was missing to keep her from giving us every single thing she has ever done onstage in her career was a Kendu bashing session. But she’s clearly taking that frustration out in the gym. Did anybody else look at those two Wednesday and think, “Perhaps I haven’t been taking care myself over the years as I thought I had.” Mary and Nas looked like they bounced right out of the television screen following a “New York Undercover” musical guest performance.
Smoked out with Wiz Khalifa and the crew. Twenty-four hours after turning up with Mary and Nas, I was right back at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre Thursday night for the Decent Exposure Tour starring Wiz Khalifa and featuring DJ Drama, Chevy Woods, Moneybagg Yo and French Montana. This show brought smoke as well, but the kind that has your boss looking at you sideways and considering administering random drug tests because you were too lazy to wash your hair after the concert. Listen, you couldn’t split that cloud of weed smoke with an atomic bomb, thanks to Wiz and ‘nem. I thoroughly enjoyed Wiz. And it wasn’t just because he had the nerve to get thick! Even if he didn’t have those recently debuted pecs, arms and abs, I would have gotten a kick out of his charm and energy – which he always delivers onstage. I also enjoyed his fellow Taylor Gang member Chevy Woods. And while some will probably think I’m shading him the next item down, I have to say Moneybagg Yo did much better than I expected him to on such a large stage as he rapped along to those tracks. At least they were his tracks – which is more than I can say for French Montana. Frenchie’s set was cute the first couple of songs, but blah after that. I had planned to read him, but I’ll go ahead and devote as much energy to it as he did his stage presence. The end.
Moneybagg Yo was a Mood at the Marquee. It’s one thing to get so turnt in your tear-the-club-up mode that you take your shirt off and spin it around like a helicopter (get into this Petey Pablo reference). But to come up in the club topless off the rip, that’s a level of lit I had not seen before Thursday night. Do y’all know how long I’ve been in these streets for Partyline? And before Moneybagg Yo did it the other night, I had never, ever, ever seen a man – celebrity or not – come in the door with absolutely nothing on top. Keep in mind that includes pool parties! Perhaps Moneybagg Yo has been up in the Marquee so many times that he feels comfortable enough to treat the club like it’s his living room. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time he came through and hooked up a PlayStation 4 and started playing a game of NBA 2K19 right in the middle of the VIP booth. Nobody seemed to mind the exposed chest meat but me. As per usual the club was packed – even on a Thursday. I don’t mind him much, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about with Moneybagg Yo. Don’t get me wrong, he has some cute club hits, but I just don’t deem him worthy of having men all but elbow little groupies just to get close enough to give him some dap. Perhaps its his Yo Gotti affiliation and our penchant for Memphis trap music.
A perfect 10 for Katarra and Tonina. The granola hipsters and the black to the basics were together in perfect harmony Friday as FarFetched presented Katarra Parson and Tonina live in concert at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. The show was absolutely everything from start to finish. I really got my life because these two talented sisters showed the broad scope of St. Louis music in their music that stretched from R&B and soul to Latin jazz. They both had impeccable sets. Other than the fact that I didn’t necessarily agree with Tonina’s rearrangement of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the show would have been utterly flawless. I still give you points though for taking that kind of risk, girl. These ladies are two examples of the amazing talent pool in our city -and don’t let anyone tell you differently about what our city has to offer with respect to artistry.