Before I even start this long ass post, that’s a picture of me with Kool Herc. He was at the Brooklynati Release Party that me & DJ Brainchild rocked and I’m still buggin off of that. If you don’t understand why, please click here for the story of how hip hop started. And now to start this long ass (sorry), name dropping (sorry), long overdue (sorry) post, enjoy…
About two weeks ago I made a crazy trip from ATL to NYC to Philly to D.C. back to NYC then to Brooklynati and back home to Denver. It all started with a trip to Atlanta for my grandfather’s 89th birthday (may we all be so lucky to be pushing 90 someday), then it was up to the northeast for all sorts of Tanya Morgan – Brooklynati release related events. I touched down in NYC three hours late after a weather delay and it was off to link up with my boys Red, Ben, Che Grand & Von Pea for some pizza real quick before the Wale/Colin Munroe/Tanya Morgan show at Le Poisson Rouge. When we got to the venue I found out Big Sean from G.O.O.D. Music and the highly underrated J. Cole (please stop sleeping on dude, Jigga caught on and just signed him to Roc Nation) were going on before us as an unexpected bonus. Big Sean’s set was cool and J. Cole got the crowd’s attention quick by starting his set with a crazy acapella joint after announcing that “there’s probably only three people here that know who I am”.
After J. Cole wrapped up his set (check some clips from it here), I let him know that I’d been rocking his music for a while and I was “happy to be one of the three people that knew him”, then we stepped to the stage. It’s always dope to rock with TM, they’re one of the most energetic hip hop groups I’ve ever seen onstage and it’s obvious that Donwill, Von Pea & Ilyas love performing. The show went well, you could see fans with TM shirts, people in the crowd singing along and as far as NYC crowds go, the response was dope. After the set we had to step outside for a minute, the venue was sold out and hot as fuck, plus there were interviews and drops to be recorded (check out the “I’m moving to Brooklynati” clip above, featuring me, my homie DJ Synapse from Frank151, Elliot Wilson, Joell Ortiz, Che, Fresh Daily, Double-O from Kidz in the Hall & a bunch of other cats explaining why we’re making the move). I was running in and out of the venue the rest of the night and only caught pieces of both Colin Munroe & Wale’s sets (like an industry asshole…SMH). What I did catch was really dope, everything from Joell Ortiz rockin “Piano Lessons” with Colin to Wale murdering “Good Girls” with UCB and breaking down into a Tribe medley halfway through. I guess Cudi was in the building and rocked a few joints with Wale but I missed it. Anyways, the show was packed and further proved that the time of the younger generation is at hand.
The next afternoon we hit up the XXL offices to kick it with the (now former) editor-in-chief Datwon Thomas (good dude, gotta love someone at the top rootin for the new kids) for a while before heading to Philly. Philly was host to a listening party at a clothing store called Fresh Melt Water and we pretty much just hung out with some fans and randoms, drank free PBRs & listened to the album. The homie super-producer Aeon was there, Philly hip hop aficionados Mikey McFly (check out the video below from his blog, featuring me, Aeon & Ilyas), C-Dot & Young H came out and after the listening party we ended up at a cool Paper Street party. Afterwards we made it to Larry’s Cheesesteaks late night for some great drunk food. I’d never been to Philly before and was geeked to get a real cheesesteak (pause?), anyone who knows me knows I love food, especially “local flava” in other cities (word to Low Key’s Local Flava in Brooklynati…two locations, what!).
After Philly it was off to D.C., where we had a release party with a performance at Liv. First things first though, we hit up Yum’s for some chicken with mambo sauce (delicious local flava from D.C.). Then it was off to college radio staple Funkadelic Freestyles where we met up with Oddisee, Kenn Starr, Gangsta Mittens and B.J., Amanda from HipHopDX.com and the FF crew, shouts to J Benok (check out the footage of the freestyle session w/TM, Oddisee & Kenn Starr here). After that it was release party time. I got to catch up with my homie Victor Nguyen-Long (dude is everywhere that dope events are going on, it’s always good to have him in the building), Mills, Simcity & DJ Harvey Dent at the venue before we performed. The DJ setup was on the level above the performance stage looking down and that made for a weird, but solid, show for the D.C. crowd.
We left Liv and word was that there was a dope house party we needed to hit up. I hadn’t been to a house party for years but the spot we ended up at was RIDICULOUS. Turns out it was the homie K-Murdock (of Panacea/Subsoniq fame)’s birthday party and it was being held in some nice apartment complex’s party room, complete with catered food, dope music and a great vibe. I ended up seeing my old RBMA buddie Marshall Law from Low Budget, the homie KB from Subsoniq and making some new friends at the party, good times. Last but not least, how dope is K-Murdock’s Low End Theory pimp cup and Midnight Marauders tattoo? Dude was also rocking custom ATCQ shoes too. And you think you’re a Tribe fan…LOL.
After all that, it was back to NYC. I linked up with some old friends and ended up at this dope taco truck where I got this AMAZING “grilled” corn. It was cooked in a truck with a flame thrower and I’m not even sure what that is on the outside, but man, it was delicious. The next day I got to hit up the Frank151 offices and see what goes on at the magazine that sponsors a lot of my events (their next issue, the De La one, is gonna be CRAZY). Then me, Che Grand & my boy Red had the pleasure of checking out the homie Mikal Hameed aka M11X’s art studio, where he’s making some super dope pieces he calls sound sculptures. Dude’s work is FANTASTIC, check out the pics below and over at his site.
Above: M11X x Stevie (and yes, the speakers really do work, it’s as easy as plugging in your ipod). Below: M11X’s sound sculpture for the De La Soul 20th Anniversary Art Tour.
Coincidentally, Mikal’s studio is in the same building as Truth & Soul Records, home to one of my favorite bands out, El Michel’s Affair. Mikal took us upstairs where we got to hear the new album they’re producing for Aloe Blacc (it was something special, think Aloe Blacc on some Bill Withers iddish). Halfway into checking the album, El Michel’s Affair mastermind Leon Michels and the one-of-a-kind soul singer Lee Fields came by. We were lucky enough to get to bullshit and listen to stories from Lee Fields for a while before it was off to the Fat Beats for the TM in-store and Brooklynati Release Party at Sutra. If you don’t know why we were so lucky, check out the Lee Fields & the Expressions album, My World (one of my favorite albums of ’09 so far), and imagine hanging out with Lee, it’ll make perfect sense…LOL.
Next stop was a TM in-store at Fat Beats that went well (besides me not having access to Serato box and not being able to spin…sigh), check out some clips of it here. After Fat Beats it was off to Sutra to get things going for the Brooklynati Release Party. The party was super DOPE!!! Me & Brainchild (of Gordon Gartrell Radio/Roots Jam Sessions fame) rocked a mix of random joints, TM songs & a few standards all night, the spot was packed, the crowd was open and the vibe was dope, not a whole lot more you can ask for. Shouts to everyone who came out; the godfather of hip hop Kool Herc, the Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac, the my boy Nai from StrictlyFitteds.com, Red, Spec Boogie, Elucid, Froactiv, DJ Synapse, Homeboy Sandman, Peter Hadar, the Audible Treats crew, all the girls in TM shirts who’s names I forgot (LOL…sorry), Joey the booking agent and last but not least, Dee Phunk from Rare Form, who setup the party and anyone else who I forgot. And once again mad props to DJ Brainchild, there’s so few DJs who care to push the limits of what they can play and dude does that to the fullest, gotta love it.
Above: DJ Synapse, Spec Boogie, Joey & me at Sutra
Below: Me spinning in the cramped DJ booth, my right elbow is literally rubbing against the wall…LOL.
Anyways, after spinning at Sutra, we grabbed some pizza and called it a night. The next day I flew home to good ol’ Denver (I LOVE my city) and started grinding hard to get things going for my new weekly parties, So Damn Down on Saturdays and Hapa Life Sundays (plus of course, the award winning Solution on Fridays). Now here I am, two weeks later, finally posting about my trip and damn, that was a long post, thanks for reading it all.