Thursday, May 8, 2008

Heart of the City

My BFF Marc and I traveled around the country hip-hoppin to catch some of the illest performances in between studying prior to our college graduations. Every summer and during every break thereafter we rocked out in my Dad's Toyota Camry or his Mom's Mazda. We did Badu deep in Jersey. A Tribe Called Quest up and down the east coast. De La Soul, E-40, KRS-ONE, Busta, Red & Meth, Souls of Mischief, arenas, lounges, conventions and everyone/everything else in between.
Post grad, I returned to NYC and he headed west to The Bay. Clearly we always remained connected, but we never had an opp to attend a show together since the late 90's...until Hov & Mary breezed thru NYC this week for their sold out Heart of the City Tour...and no doubt while MJ was in town. Perfect. We kinda knew these were super hot tickets, but we kinda felt like what really made it fly was us reuniting like Peaches & Herb to rock out in NYC again.

So there we were at The Garden in our perfect Row A seats angled stage left, 2 sections up from the floor thanks to my always on point/on time friend/mentor BJ. Not too close, not too far, all in the mix. After the video interview of MJB and Jay rolled, they hit the stage together for "Can't Knock The Hustle." Dope intro. I didn't think they would one-two punch it but it worked for me.

We're diggin the super live instrumentation as MJB takes us all through the What's the 411 and My Life album hits back to back. Jay circles back to perform Biggie's part on the "Real Love" remix...We're amped. MJ and I are singing and dancing as the "All I Need" beat drops. "Meth really needs to be in the building for this," I say to MJ...Then Meth rolls out looking fresh like a million bucks. He has cleaned up so well since those 36 Chambers days, but I digress.

Mary mellows out and slides us through the mid to slow tempo joints...We feelin' it...and so are the thousands of other heads in the space...Mad call and response for all the records, not to mention the smell of libations wafting through the air. Me and MJ get our smiles and giggles on straight through the set singing right along with everyone favorite Queen of HipHop Soul. Mary drops a few gems for the ladies as she narrates from "Love No Limit" into "Feel Like A Woman."

"You should never feel like a golddigger when you're making a deposit into
somebody elses life. I want you to take that. Take

Okay Mary! True that on the woman's empowerment tip! We're way feelin it now...rememering the days these records dropped and where we were in our lives. What a special time kinda feeling like we grew up with Mary. MJ and I grew up together and apart on MJB. We always played the foreground and the background of our experiences with her music looming throughout in different ways.

By the time Hov takes the stage we're amped. You already know Jay's swagger is as laid back as his rhymes, but I damn near forgot about all the slick, hit records he has under his belt. A snafu in the plan lead to MJ's early departure from the show so I braved Jay dolo...although I'm never truely alone, ya dig! I completely rapped and rocked Hov straight through.

By the time he dropped that "Crazy in Love" beat and B appeared stage left I already knew it was about to go down. Sasha appeared in all her sexy, stilleto boots glory and sashayed across the stage in her all black ensemble complete with fitted blouse, shorty shorts and riding gloves. When she dropped it like it was hot to the beat center stage and then sashayed to Jay's side holding the Roc sign in the air, I was ready for a performance. Then she stepped hard off the stage not saying a word. I was done....From the "money over broads...F* Bush" visual reference a la "American Gangster," to the segue of a larger than life hard Obama visual, I enjoyed Jay's set...but I was ready for the exclusive after jumpoff that we had access to.

Met MJ at the corner of 25th and 6th and proceeded to the red carpet stylee at 40/40. Our heart/city charm braclet held the keys to the ignition. Clearly we were in the right place. It's always VIP when we roll. Remaining relatively below the radar all season, I was comin' out like Diana Ross this night. So as we waxed poetics and flicks over Bailey's/Ameretto mix for me and Vodka/Tonics for him, and we moved the crowd...Cuz DJ Cassidy had the crowd moving.

Let's keep it real, we're NYC private school kids. I went to Fieldston, Marc went to Dalton and Cassidy rocked at Riverdale Country...And both MJ and I did the higher learning thing at the college/university level. So as we both navigated through the crowd we found ourselves reconnecting with 'ol school homies and homettes throughout the night. Peep MJ's words on that!

I was super happy to be in the spotty with my BFF after a long hiatus of distance but it was also a good look to reconnect with industry peeps I haven't seen in a minute. FA-BO-LO-US always has love for BG. And BG always has love for Fab. Still waiting for him to drop that next album and take us back to the "Holla Back Young'n" Fab I came to love...but I know he can still "Make Me Better" once he gets the hot tracks.

I was all pink when my longtime crush stepped up to me to give me a big bear hug, smile and kiss....Like LONG TIME crush. Like, longtime crush that doesn't know he's my crush cuz we're so "cool." Like, longtime crush that had me cheezin' upon site...Ho hum....I resign myself to getting bold and doing the big reveal at some point, but that's so not me...So I just pointed him out to MJ for the umteenth time and continued to swirl around the establishment being Chatty Patty with the peoples. My coach was quietly turning into a pumpkin in the 1am hour...Shawty can't do it like she used to. Beside the fact we were about to do it all again the next day on yet another VIP boatride around the city courtesy of MJ's lil sister Joelle and Dr. Miracles. What a fabulous life full of love and happiness that I live. :)