Last night, the Atlanta-based imprint Street Execs put on their annual Christmas Concert for the A-Town youth. Around 6 p.m. concertgoers began filing into the Tabernacle downtown, yielding unwrapped toys for kids in tough situations this holiday season. A Monster High doll for a seven-hour show on a Monday night? What’s better than that? (Actually, the length of the concert was a bit much for the kid, but I haven’t been a teenager in years, so what do I know? LOL.)
I got in around 7:30 and the house was already packed all the way up to the second balcony. Everyone, from Revolt and Why Cause I Can to the good brothers at Hip Hop Since 1987, was in the pit with me as we watched what seemed like an endless stream of up-and-comers take the stage. After the 10th performer or so, it was pretty hard to keep up.
The homie Fort Knox was the emcee for the evening, keeping the energy right… In fact, when a fight damn near broke out in the front row over a pair of Js Trinidad James had randomly given out, Knox had to check the culprits — on the mic. He’s amazing.
The Tabernacle failed in getting some of the artists’ social media handles correct on the big screen. Insanity, when concertgoers may not already be familiar with those hitting the stage.
For instance, one of the photogs had to double check Doe B‘s Twitter with me because it damn sure isn’t and never has been @TrinidadJamesGG… O__o #DoBetterTabernacle
For the most part though, it was good to have a close enough spot to catch a lot of these cats that I’ve been seeing around and hearing about but had never seen perform live. Memphis-native Young Dolph was one of those. He got a hellified response from the crowd of twerkin’ teen girls. Even the guys were excited to see him get down.
Cap 1 surprised me last night. I believe I caught him in a club once about a year or so ago. He did a verse but I’d never seen him do a full set until last night. Instantly became a fan. The crowd was tepid though. See? Showing my age again I guess. LOL.
Watch Cap 1 & 2 Chainz Perform At the Street Execs Christmas Concert
A couple OGs came through to include Dro and Shawty Lo. The latter surprisingly got the kids jumping like it was ’07 all over again — screaming the lyrics to ‘Dey Know‘ like The Spirit of Shawty Lo Past had possessed ’em. And he threw some ends. Your girl caught a dub, ’cause you know… I stay ready to catch flying bills at rap shows.
Verse Simmonds (writer for Rihanna, Kelly Rowland) came through for a bit and although the response was light initially, he had to run through the joints he’d actually penned for other folks and it clicked. By the time he did his smash ‘Buy You A Round,’ they were all in. But please believe, Simmonds doesn’t need extra validation. LOL. The success of a couple tracks for your favorite singers has him caking up, easy.
Young Money’s Shanell came through with a pair of, um, dancers to perform some joints off of her project Midnight Mimosas. Her set catered to a very specific audience of women sprinkled throughout the crowd but all the heavy popping and grinding and hard-body twerkin’ she and her team managed to keep the attention of the dudes in the venue, I suppose. Shanell’s another one though — eating good though off those songwriting checks.
Que came through with a couple of his notables, rocking both ‘Young N*gga‘ and ‘OG Bobby Johnson‘ like a pro with Sonny Digital by his side. He has to show his face more — the crowd was with it but you could tell they weren’t actually familiar with seeing him.
Watch Que Perform Live At the Street Execs Christmas Concert
The boy K Camp came through and had one of the best responses out of the newcomer clique. I mean, quite literally, I thought the wood floors in there would cave in when he hit the stage. You’d think ‘Cut Her Off‘ came out eons ago, that’s how well the kiddies recited the lyrics.
Trinidad James was another — he ripped it with his ‘Work‘ verse and of course ‘A.G.E.‘. As much as we, in the industry, talk about the politics of his career, these folks coming out to the shows know nothing about all that and last night, the Southside representative proved that he still has a little bit of shine when onstage. Give Trini a break, huh?
About 5.5 hours in, a small sect of young ladies directly behind me to my left, gave no thought to the idea that I would need the use of my eardrums after the night — when Rich Homie Quan ran out to the spotlight? Oh. It was a wrap. That was the beginning. I’ma get to the response when 2 Chainz came out. Gimme a minute.
So yeah, Quan… He’s getting better onstage for sure. Last time I saw him a couple months ago, he seemed exhausted. I don’t know if it was the energy backstage last night or what, but he pretty much came out and glided through a few tracks from I Promise. He did the Yo Gotti joint and of course YG’s ‘My N*gga.’ Now that I think about it, I don’t even think he did ‘Type of Way,’ or if he did, it was a second or two.
Monica graced the stage to sing a couple quick notes and introduce 2 Chainz. Then, Mr. Tity Two Necklace finally, finally sauntered out, these young ladies, shiiied, actually, they had to be closer to early 30s, lost it completely. LOL. Completely.
One screamed for the Hairweave Killer, literally, the entire time:
‘2 Chainz! I love you! I love you 2 Chainz! Do you hear me? Please. Please 2 Chainz!’
At a couple points in his set, the College Park native stopped to give away a couple bikes. But he insisted with a chuckle: “Y’all gotta show me a picture of your kid on your phone. I ain’t just gon’ give these to you.”
The main woman behind me, threw her arm up, flung her head back and hollered out — above all others, mind you — ‘2 Chainz! I have a three-year-old! I have one 2 Chainz!’
Chainz hands the bike over my head to the homie Dorado from HHS87. The homie Dorado hands it off to the lady. The lady’s eyes flutter and she falls out before even touching the toddler’s tricycle. No lie, no lie, no lie-E-I-E-I… When they revive her, she’s right back to screaming and hollering. Yup. LOL.
But yeah, 2 Chainz’ performance. Y’all know that man is pretty well-polished onstage already. I mean, that, coupled with hit after hit? The Def Jam signee had a phenomenal set and he brought out his label and (soon-to-be) tour mate, August Alsina. Man.
Screams from a couple groups of girls turned into blood-curdling, unbridled shrieks of lust-filled joy. Then Alsina jumped down into the media pit and I instinctively knew the girls would dive for him and the barrier would subsequently shift or all-out cave in, but the speed at which it all happened… Yo. Security flung him back onstage after a couple seconds of quality time with these women caught up in a seemingly unyielding wave of hysteria.
Chainz came back, introduced the new track ‘Twerk Season’ [*sigh*], then killed the rest of his set and Tabernacle made it snow a couple times during, which had me in complete awe and wonder, like a child. LOL. The joy of Christmas. Thank you Street Execs.
Watch Rich Homie Quan’s Performance at Street Execs Concert