What a night
On Wednesday night at the best buy amphitheater in the heart of time square – Hot 97 radio personality / DJ/one of the last people left with a real platform that puts on for hip hop- Peter Rosenberg let the poppers pop and the breakers break. By that I mean he put on a concert – PeterPalooza 3 -in celebration of his birthday, that top to bottom was one of the best rap shows I’ve ever been to. The show featured a lineup of Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Ab-Soul. Retchy p and Chris rivers (son of the late great Big Pun).
In one major way this years show was in contrast to last years Peter Palooza 2. Last years event- held outdoors at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg park – featured a lineup that was intentionally dichotomous. It featured Meek Mill, Odd Future (all of Odd Future, sans Frank Ocean ) & a then-next to blow, but not yet fully there –Schoolboy Q. A diverse lineup is dope, but sometimes it can cause a bit of uncertainty from concert going fans. This seemed most evident at last year’s Palooza when Meek Mill performed “dreams and nightmares” known to many as just ‘intro”. The song
Dreams and Nightmares Intro really one of the best rap moments of our generation…
— Drizzy (@Drake) April 30, 2014
was at the time was SCORCHING hot ,and after wearing out ever car radio/ night club sound system in New York seemed primed for a live performance. Yet when he did it, it didn’t quote ring of like one might think. When you considered that the majority of the crowd was tied die shirt, cat sock rocking Odd Future fans it shouldn’t really of been a surprise.
The first to rock the stage was Chris Rivers, who did a great job, including a nice rendition of his pop’s classic “Twinz” verse, dead in the middle of little… you know the rest. Next up was Retchy P, who with the incomparable Thelonious Martin on the 1’s & 2’s put on an incredibly energetic and dope performance. The highlights were definitely his NBA Combine worthy leap into the crowd, as well as when his entire crew came out of nowhere to douse the crowd in water and Henny, to their delight.
Next up was Ab-Soul, who was actually a somewhat surprise addition to the bill, having only been announced (first exclusively through TheSource.com) a week earlier, after most tickets had already been bought. One of my favorite parts of the entire show was seeing Soul-0, standing solo, in the cut to the right of the stage as he was being introduced to the crowd. We posted an Instagram clip that nigh, which starts with that exact moment, watch it HERE.
After hitting the stage to TDE executive Punch’s verse on the second part of “Dub Sa” (random), he ran through a bunch of new tracks from the album These Days, including the standout, but yet not really an actual song “These Days”. The crowd ate it up. The other two highlights were easily when he brought out Danny Brown to do “Terrorist Threats” and when the crowd lit up the room with cell phones and lighters for the aptly titled “Illuminate” (originally featuring Kendrick Lamar).
Danny Brown hit the stage next, and it came as no surprise, but nonetheless was very compelling to witness how unique his appeal is. The guy can rap, and he makes hip hop obviously, but the feel, especially at a live show like this is just different. Could I truly make out a single word of his high pitched , fast paced quasi edm music backed verses? Not really, but did it matter one bit. I could definitely make out the words when he performed “Blunt after Blunt” and had the DJ drop the beat out for the crowd, as well as Schoolboy Q – who was in the cut on the side of the stage during most of Brown’s performance- to continually repeat. Rap fan, EDM fan, polka enthusist, whatever, a Danny Brown set is a must see before you hang up your concert going shoes.
Speaking of going to concerts at a later age, and shoes (swear that wasn’t on purpose); amidst all the celebrities backstage – performers, as well as others like Smoke DZA, Joell Ortiz, Hot 97’s Ebro (who recently defended the shit out of Rosenberg in a HILARIOUS clip), SZA, DJ A-Trak, others and even Peter himself – easily the star of the show was the 2$ bill man Steve Resiman rocking a suit and a pair of Red October Air Yeezy’s, it was truly a sight to see.
What’s a birthday without a few nice surprise. Vic Mensa & G-EAZY, both wearing leather jackets, separately hit the stage to perform some cuts including Vics “I feel that” & Eazy’s “I Mean It”. It seemed like, to a lot of the audience, based off their apprehensive response, G-Eazy’s presence may have felt possibly a little out of place at a concert that seemed so rooted in what many of those same concert goers would consider “relevant but real hip hop” . This is mainly due to his non self imposed association with someone like a Macklemore , who to many has become almost a scapegoat and quasi poster child for the other side of that “real hip hop” spectrum. The drawing of lines becomes extra murky when you consider that Macklemore had more TDE artists on his 2012 album The Heist then Kendrick Lamar did on his lauded good kid m.A.A.D city album which dropped the same day, Q & Soul vs just Jay Rock. But then again, maybe G-Eazy’s “I Mean It” – the beat for which sounded incredible live – just hasn’t hit on the east coast yet.
Next to perform was arguably the greatest entertainer in the world, Action “Mother Fucking” Bronson. Before the show even started the Flushing Queens, NY native, along with his partner in crime, the quotable killer, Big Body Bes got rolled up on by TMZ cameras outside of the venue to discuss his recent porta-potty incident.
Action Bronson live > god
He performed song after song- shirt ripped open to reveal his ridiculously awesome chest tattoo – with the kind of intense yet laissez-faire faire demeanor that has made him who he is today. In case you were wondering, from what I witnessed back stage, Big Body is EXACTLY who he is on record, exactly. The craziest part of the performance was when Bronson during his record “Slow Down” , went into the crowd. From my vantage point I couldn’t see what happened, fellow Source Senior Writer James Elliot fills in the gaps
The already hyped atmosphere reached new levels, when the large framed emcee hopped in the crowd, nearly breaking the gaurdrail. The venue staff and enthusiastic fans chauffeured him to the side of the pit, where on a raised platform the emcee addressed his eager followers. Then , without warning, he swung his body full horizontal over the last railing separating himself from the crowd. It was a feat of pure strength and flexibility, reserved for those with grace, and furthermore lets you know that he is indeed bout that “tripple backflipped into a cartwheel” life that he so often refers to on record.
After returning to the stage and replaying the track he delivered one of his most memorable bars and chorus, that now seemed to resonate that much stronger, “In New York Im Like Jeter” & “I’m a hero in my home town baby
He closed things out by having his DJ for the night, the legendary Alchemist, play over the speakers a new, never before heard track. Rosenberg clarified after that this was in fact the first thing anyone had yet heard from Bronson’s upcoming Vice/Warner debut album Mr. Wonderful.
You gotta love the “certified rosenberg banger” radio drop peter snuck in at the beginning.
Last up was Schoolboy Q. I alluded to the idea that last year, watching Q perform was cool but I couldn’t help but feel like everyone needed some more familiarity with his music to reach the level he could be at. Sure “Hands On The Wheel” & “Yay Yay knocked but to keep the crowd involved I felt he needed a bit more. This year put a military grade silencer on that notion. The crowd was so god damn turnt for Q’s performance that I nearly shed an emoji tear. Now watching from a different vantage point,seeing his performance and the crowds reaction to “Gangsta Gangsta” literally gave me chills for a good 30 seconds.
Come back to this post in the coming days for more great material from Peter Palooza 3.
Feature Image via Daniel Vasquez @_dvasquez, Gallery Images via Don Wes