New York’s SOB’s was at capacity when R&B singer-songwriter Queen Naija?’s opening act Mod da God made his way through the hyperactive Birth of Queen Naija Tour audience on Wednesday night (Nov. 7).
His devout fanbase, SpicyGang, belted Bow Wow and Ciara’s “Like You” lyrics after segueing into his own track “Make Me Feel.” Rapping a cappella, Mod da God amped his followers with the popular tune, “Free Crack / 600 Bandz,” before showcasing his footwork. “We family in here, right,” he questioned the crowd.
“It’s not only because it is New York. My family is in the building, and this is the first show my mom has ever been to,” Mod da God explained before spitting verses from his dedication, “Dear Mama.” A few fans became teary-eyed as he detailed his mother’s medical obstacle. Closing with gratitude, Mod da God shared, “Every night I pray to God that he give my momma health. I am a product of my momma. I didn’t do it by myself.”
A restless venue didn’t last the thirty-minute intermission without chanting, “We want Queen Naija!” Security began parting show-goers to create a human fence around the starlet and her baby bump’s entrance. Before firing away on a note, Queen Naija made a bold statement: Sporting her partner’s Designed by White clothing line, the Detroit native took the stage in a hoodie depicting President Obama flipping 45 the bird. An eager fan yelled, “Please show the belly,” to much amusement.
Queen Naija’s anthemic kiss-off to her ex-husband, “Karma,” powered her set while her crowd lent her heavy support. Changing the vibe, the cover art of her self-titled debut EP projected colorfully behind her. Naija leveled up on the melodic “Bad Boy,” with the song’s inspiration — her current boyfriend — standing onstage to the right of her. “There is someone else who made me do better, y’all. Can you guess who it is?” she asked.
Applause ensued, and an emotional rendition of “Mama’s Hand” encouraged the parents in attendance to profess unconditional love for their children. Touched by the song’s sentiments, Naija soaked in the crowd’s praise. A mashup of Lil Duval’s current radio smash “Smile (Living My Best Life)” transitioned into TLC’s “No Scrubs,” then Drake’s “In My Feelings” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” all of which had the crowd following Naija word-for-word. Dancing energetically, Naija swung her hair behind large hoop earrings, adding sass to her cover medley of Miguel’s “Sure Thing,” Beyoncé’s, “Hold Up,” Alicia Keys’, “No One,” and Queen Bey’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” By the time the medley was complete, she appeared winded.
Holding her stomach, she revealed, “Renzo is kicking. When this child is out of my stomach, we ain’t playing no games.” Laughter ensued below her. “This next [number] is not on my EP, but it has a good message in it… listen to the words, if you ever felt like you weren’t good enough,” she finished. Now seated behind a mic stand, Queen Naija belted out “Exclusive Girl,” punctuating her vocal prowess. Still her cover of Tory Lanez’s, “Proud Family” inspired the evening’s highest level of participation, as admirers reached overhead in an attempt to capture the best angle of the singer-songwriter on their cell phones.
Their YouTube channels each garner millions of views, so Queen Naija’s king, Clarence White, needed no introduction when he sat behind her stage. On the ballad “Butterflies,” she passionately serenaded her man for all to see. The moment Queen Naija snatched a kiss, pandemonium broke loose, creating the perfect entryway for her most successful single, yet, “Medicine.”
“Ladies, this the first song I put out on YouTube. Sing this to your man when he is acting up,” she commanded, stretching her microphone to the audience. Without hesitation, devotees yelled along, “Swear I cannot win for losing/ I been out here being faithful/ I always got this on lockdown/ But that ain’t been keeping us stable,” as if they had been in her shoes before. Crouching comfortably in her camo pants and Timberlands, Queen Naija peered at her feverish onlookers.
“I have to do my job for God. I have a strong belief in God. I started singing in church.” she affirmed. “I wrote a gospel song about four years ago after I got kicked off American Idol. I didn’t want to sing anymore, so I just started writing music.” Her pianist played the hymnal, “War Cry,” and the tune proved to be just that for Queen Naija. But, rather than close in song, the last offering from the artist was instead, a blessing.
“God gave me my gift. What kind of person would I be not to give him glory? I do this at every show if y’all don’t know already,” she cued. Some fans began to join hands. “This world is crazy, especially in New York,” Queen Naija professed, while her bandmates bowed their heads, as her show concluded in a personalized prayer.