Several New York rhymers and a Detroit rap kook rocked the party last night.
Friday (March 15) was a hell of a night for hip-hop. Just as people began heading over to the Vice House party around 7 p.m., news was breaking across Twitter (originally from a TMZ report) that Lil Wayne was in a coma and being given his last rites. By the time the show kicked off a little after 8:45, the words had been debunked by the Cash Money hierarchy, but then word began spreading that Gucci Mane had unceremoniously dropped Waka Flocka Flame from his Brick Squad label. And it was under this strange cloud of rumors that Flatbush Zombies took the stage, and erased all thoughts of Twitter rumors and bedside vigils.
Opening with "MRAZ," the Zombies' three-pronged attack kicked off what was to be -- Danny Brown excluded -- a celebration of New York hip-hop both old and new, with the openers playing the role of hyper-energetic newcomers. They performed "Bath Salt" and "Thug Waffles," complete with each member moshing briefly in the crowd and all three coming back out after their set to throw waffles at those in the front. A$AP crew member and guest on "Ghetto Symphony" alongside Gunplay on “Long.Live.A$AP A$AP Ferg took the stage and almost immediately launched himself into the crowd, moshing to his "I Fucked Your Bitch” and rocking with the fans that had gathered in the front.
"I want to say I'm sorry if you got hit," Ferg said when he got back to the stage with all the presence of a seasoned performer. "But you're at a motherfucking A$AP Ferg show!" He then launched into the second verse of Rocky's "Goldie" before hitting the A$AP Mob track "Black Mane."
Detroit's resident wild man Danny Brown came out with a characteristically boisterous set, rapping "Wit' It" and "Radio Song" as the crowd began to swell and crush forward and laughing through the overtly-sexualized "I Will." "Y'all wanna hear some new shit?" he asked the crowd, before his DJ dropped a synthy new track to which Brown mouthed along.
But the real highlight of the show was undoubtedly Queens rapper Action Bronson, a rhymer whose performances always give off the impression that he's got a pretty big chip on his shoulder and that he doesn't get the respect he deserves. But maybe it's that attitude that makes him such a natural showman. Seemingly without trying, Bronson captures an audience. He rapped and smoked from his G-Pen during "Gateway to Wizardry" while amongst the crowd for a bit.
After making his way back on to the stage, he called out a few Odd Future friends -- Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, and Vince Staples -- to perform their Alchemist-produced "Elimination Chamber." The OF gang wasn’t the only bunch that made it onto Bronson's stage. Roc Marciano helped open the show, Schoolboy Q came out to lend his verse to "Demolition Man" and a slew of up-and-coming rappers were handed the microphone at the end to win the crowd over using a capella--Chance the Rapper and Remy Banks among them.
And then the wait was on. In true Dipset fashion, Juelz Santana's hype man was tasked with keeping the assembled crowd at least somewhat entertained for more than an hour before he wound up taking the stage, and while he paid back some of his goodwill by kicking off with his opening verse on "Hey Ma," he was on stage for less than half the amount of time those assembled waited for him.
But that didn't mean he didn't put on a good show. Santana oozes charisma, and he poured it into songs like "Dipset Anthem" and "Oh Yes." "Shout out to Drake," he said at one point before launching into "Make It Work For You." "He started from the bottom. Then we started from the bottom of the bottom." Santana was also heavily promoting his recent mixtape “God Willin'.”Copies were tossed into the crowd before and during his performance.
But where Santana and Dipset have the loyalty of Harlem, Ghostface Killah brings his own Shaolin flavor to the New York hip-hop scene, though he didn't bring any Wu-Tang pals with him. He did, however, basically perform as a duo with D-Block's Sheek Louch, and the two ran through a number of tracks from their recent collaborative “Wu-Block” record. Killah Priest emerged for his verse on GZA's "4th Chamber" and Raheem DeVaughn delivered a solid performance that nonetheless reminded the crowd why Ghostface should make it more of a habit to rap over R&B tracks.
He's got the pedigree and experience, after all. "Money, Power, Respect" gave way to a brief foray into Raekwon's "Incarcerated Scarfaces" before morphing into a full-on Wu-Tang karaoke session, with Ghost and Sheek bringing two people up on stage to rap Ol' Dirty Bastard and Method Man's verses on "Protect Ya Neck" and moving through a "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothin' to Fuck With",” and "C.R.E.A.M." medley.
After an intense night -- performance and otherwise -- Ghost and Sheek closed out the night by asking the crowd to put two fingers up in the air and chant "Peace!" before sending them into the Austin night.
- The Juice