"There are people who control laws that are in positions of power that shouldn't be in due to lack of votes and attention. I think every state has its own situation. There's a lot of people in [prison] that shouldn't be," Anderson .Paak told Billboard on the TIDAL X red carpet. "My mom was in the same situation doing seven and a half years as a first offender for no reason. She shouldn't have been in there, and it needs to change for sure."
With nearly 20,000 rabid fans inside the building and even more streaming the concert at home, here are our top six highlights from the gathering for a great cause.
Normani Is Well on Her Way to Solo Stardom
When Fifth Harmony announced they would be going on a musical hiatus, many speculated at how successful each member could be as a solo act. Camila Cabello successfully established her solo stardom following her departure from the group in 2016, and Normani looks to be on a similar trajectory.
The 22-year-old exuded commanding stage presence at TIDAL X, as she dove head-first into her soothing medley of early tracks, along with fiery choreographed dance moves. The abbreviated set proved to be another stepping stone in Normani's ascension to R&B glory, as she delivered a heart-throbbing performance to Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit "Love Lies," sans rising star Khalid, and finished off the night with her fresh "Checklist" bop, which arrived Monday (Oct. 22) as part of a soulful two-track EP with Calvin Harris. She also wowed fans with the live debut of her unreleased 6LACK-assisted track titled "Waves."
Meek Mill Has a Milly Rock Party With Fans on Stage
Meek Mill may have drawn the loudest pop of anyone from the audience, following an epic introduction courtesy of none other than NYC radio legend Angie Martinez. The Philly native started with his riotous "Dreams and Nightmares" album opener, which saw more than 20,000 standing fans belting his bristling lyrics right back at him. Things took on a more serious tone when Mill held a moment of silence for anyone in the crowd that had lost someone to senseless gun violence or a wrongful imprisonment.
The MMG rapper closed out by having some fun with members of the audience, inviting four people on stage to hit their best Milly Rock, which were actually on point for the most part. Shiggy then hopped up on stage to give his best attempt at the Harlem Shake, while Lil Wayne's "Uproar" blared throughout the arena's speaker system.
The LOX Supply a Blast From the Past
In celebration of two decades of Money, Power & Respect, The LOX reunited at TIDAL X and really connected to the audience on hand, which makes sense based on the mature crowd showing up in droves for headliners Weezy and Lauryn Hill. After running through signature solo hit "Good Times," Styles P spoke to the fact that all different races were peacefully coexisting tonight as one thanks to music.
Jadakiss took multiples shots at Donald Trump during the set, substituting lyrics with 45 as the punchline to tracks like "Don't Like." And then the Barclays Center's roof nearly collapsed when the Yonkers, N.Y. wrecking crew brought out Lil' Kim to complete a hard-hitting rendition of "It's All About the Benjamins."
Kodak Black Proves "ZEZE" Is a Surefire Hit
Since his August release from prison, fans had been chomping at the bit for another potential banger from Kodak Black. Hype surrounding the Project Baby rapper's next single skyrocketed when a clip of him hitting his now-signature jig in the studio went viral. "ZEZE," featuring Offset and Travis Scott, finally dropped earlier in the month (Oct. 12), landing a No. 2 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 in its first full week of streaming. The fresh smash passed the conventional live listening test, as fans already had the rapper's braggadocios verses memorized, reciting them while he bounced around from one side of the stage to another. Welcome back, Kodak Black.
Anderson .Paak Brings Out Too $hort
With his highly anticipated upcoming LP Oxnard less than a month away (Nov. 16), Anderson .Paak delivered an unforgettable moment at 2018's TIDAL X concert. The Malibu artist showed off his ranging artistic ability by going from rapping his latest single in the groovy Kendrick Lamar-assisted "Tints" to hopping on the drums and putting on an absolute clinic.
Paak then surprised fans, who were baffled at the Lil Jon-produced "Blow the Whistle" instrumental playing, when legendary Bay Area rapper Too $hort popped up at the Barclays Center for a legendary moment. Anderson claimed this was the first time the West Coast pioneer performed his 2006 hit in NYC.
Lil Wayne Brings TIDAL X Across the Finish Line
Following the release of Tha Carter V, Lil Wayne has been properly showered with praise wherever he goes. Wayne jumped on stage immediately following Lauryn Hill's set around 1:15 a.m. ET, to take a well-deserved victory lap. Much of the crowd refused to leave early, despite the delayed start time on a work night.
The 504 native made it worth their while, running through his array of bangers throughout his decorated discography for nearly a half-hour, which he unexpectedly kicked off with his verse on Drake's So Far Gone deep cut "I'm Goin' In." The 36-year-old then skipped around to 2008's anthem "A Milli" and fast-forwarded another decade to Tha Carter V's "Uproar," "Don't Cry," and "Let It Fly." Weezy then put a bow on the night shortly prior to 2 a.m. ET, telling his fans to remember, "Without you, there's no me."