On Friday September 21st, this very magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary at Shea Stadium. Performers included Smoke DZA, Meyhem Lauren, Children of the Night, Bryant Dope and Ratking.
Opening up the night was Harlem’s recent XL Recordings signees Ratking (who are amazing, btw). Their first EP on XL is out in October and you should listen to “Pretty Pictures” from that EP right here. Ratking plays Bard College this Wednesday, September 26. Those of you who aren’t lucky enough to be there can numb the pain by downloading Ratking member Wiki’s Mixtape Wikispeaks. My advice? Don’t skip the interview track. It’s a really fascinating listen.
Bryant Dope followed having just recently released teaser track “Champion Sound” from the forthcoming mixtape New New York which is due out in the fall. If you can’t wait, check out Queens Kids which dropped back in March. Bryant Dope was joined onstage by a impromptu host, Scientific Mathematic who acted as part foil, part hypeman throughout the set. Bryant closed out his set by mixing it up in the crowd. Look at those faces; Ladies Love Bryant Dope. Be careful of his tumblr feed, that shit is a time machine. I started looking at it at like 2:30PM writing this and now it’s like an hour in the future.
Following this was Queens supergroup Children of the Night who turned the crowd the fuck up throwing themselves at the audience and at each other feeding off that energy making it more like a punk show than a rhyme showcase but really what can you expect from the group that gave us the excellent mixtape Queens…Revisited? Shit is dope.
Up next was Meyhem Lauren who had a breakthrough success this year with Respect the Fly Shit, the holy mixtape recorded in a hotel room during SXSW as people would come in, record verses and tear the place up. You can hear it in the breezy casual flow of Meyhem and company. If you want something a bit more regimented, you should check out Self Inflicted Illness, the debut double length album he released last year or you can dig back even deeper with 2010’s Clarified Butter which is worth it because you can hear a subdued Action Bronson on “Fish.” Meyhem Lauren brought out AG Da Coroner (who is an actual coroner by profession), J-Love and more showing love to the audience by passing out a bottle of vodka to the crowd and then giving them the work. If you only know Meyhem Lauren through his work with various aspects of the Das Racist rap empire, you owe it to yourself to dig a bit deeper into his catalog.
Closing out the night was Smoke DZA who is about to go on tour (where he won’t be playing NYC, so if you weren’t at Shea Stadium, you’re going to have to wait a while to see DZA again). The night had turned Shea into a hotbox as the lingering summer temperatures made everyone sweat but Smoke performed like the heat was his natural element in a pulled down hat and varsity jacket. It was nice way to end the night for the few people who managed to stay up late.
If this was what 10 years gets us, I can’t wait to see what’s going to be booked for 20. It was an incredible night. Shouts to everyone who came through and shouts to all the performers.