[RECAP] Tonedeff’s QN5 MEGASHOW 2009 Experience [Part One]
QN5 MEGASHOW Smashes. Thank You Blue Schoolers! The Love Is Mutual.
After 4 straight months of non-stop promotion, video commercials, flyering EVERY show in NYC, sponsorship by our peeps at 2DopeBoyz.com, a series of on-air interviews courtesy of DJ Eclipse & WNYU Halftime Radio Show, a dedicated travel blog, weeks of prep, planning, editing, writing & rehearsals… QN5 MEGASHOW 2009 went down without a hitch on August 7th, 2009 @ Highline Ballroom – BEAUTIFULLY.
All the pictures and video in the world couldn’t capture the electricity and love that blanketed that night. If you were there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The energy and devotion shown by blue schoolers from all over the world is completely without measure in the world of hip hop. A lot of rap acts these days like to claim they have “movements” behind them, but last Friday was proof positive they are sadly mistaken – THIS IS A MOTHERFUCKING MOVEMENT. Their fans ain’t flying out from all over the WORLD to share an experience. The baby blue armada was in FULL effect and it was a night I’ll remember for the rest of my life – I’m sure most of you will too.
I was running around like a mad man all night, positioning myself next to the stage in tiny intervals to make sure that everything was running as smoothly as possible. Also, props to Louis Logic, Marco Polo & Torae, Poison Pen, Swave Sevah, J Arch, Donwill of Tanya Morgan and Mr. Mecca for kicking the night of performances off so cleanly. And I CANNOT forget the ridiculously talented DJ JS-1, who did a ridiculous job as the glue that held the sets together. This man deserves a medal for being our go-to DJ year in and year out. While I didn’t manage to catch every bit of the show, I definitely enjoyed what I did see. So, here’s my recap:
All Guns Blazing…
QN5’s newest signee Kokayi and his band TheCaesarz kick off the QN5 portion.
I managed to catch some of Kokayi’s set. He rocked live with his band TheCaesarz, joints from Mass Instructions, and a couple joints from his forthcoming QN5 debut album (more details on that later). When I first told him about the Megashow, I told him this was how he was gonna prove himself to the hardcore fans and he needed to “take it there”, and he did – even stripping down to his drawls. Koke sounds FLAWLESS live – crispy clean vocal work and singing, flows galore and a punk edge – definitely made me proud to have him on our official roster. Looking forward to showing him off some more. Drop him a line here.
Dr. Strangelove Operating On The Crowd @ The Highline.
I wasn’t able to catch much of Mr. SOS’s set, but from what I could tell he held it down with joints from HILTSWALTB, complete with nurse Intro (props to Houstonz for allowing us to borrow his Mrs) and his own scratches. I ran through a few off-stage overdubs on “Bionic” between dealings with the world’s most insanely dramatic stage manager. If y’all say he did his thing, I believe that 100%.
Substantial kicks off his set with a new rendition of “Go/Wait”.
Substantial is a motherfucking star. I say that with absolute certainty. From the second this man stepped on stage, the crowd was with him. Stan had planned to rock with his band, as well as Chew Fu who was on tour, but it didn’t pan out last minute. So, it was crazy to see him pull it all together as beautifully as he did at the eleventh hour. He proceeded to time-warp through the entire catalog – from the 1st album to the newer web-exclusives with ease. The house dancers on the remix of “Resurrection of The House Party” were a nice touch. I remember some press cat on the side of the stage saying “I know SOMEBODY stretched this morning”. haha. He also showed me the custom “QN5” kicks a couple months ago – just goes to show how much planning goes into this event. Many folks who I’ve spoken to (mainly chicks) have told me Substantial was their favorite. Then I tell them that he’s married with a kid and their vaginas dry up . Overall, a killer set by Substizzle.
The Human Highlight Reel Strikes Again.
PackFM’s music is BUILT for high capacity crowds. Neck-snapping Brooklyn boom-bap, layered with feverish call & response channeled via 32 megawatts of electricity. If you were even remotely attempting to play ‘wallflower’ that night, the second pack’s intro played, you knew you were done for. Pack kicked it off with “Stomp”, a song normally reserved to close shows out with, and lit the crowd on fire. When he told me he wanted to do this, I wondered how he’d follow it up but by the time his set was over, I was wondering how the hell I was going to follow THAT up. lol His entrance was also a big point of concern for him, being that he likes to switch it up every year…but as you can see, he nailed it. “Stop/Start” with SOS was a nice treat to see again. Domingo turned to me as the beat was playing and said “I still can’t believe you made this shit…it’s fucking crazy” – a high compliment from a legend. Pack premiered his new joint “Nasty” off of IFHR, which features him flippin flows in unexpected ways. The audience seemed to dig that very much, which bodes well for the album. Personally, I think Pack took home the prize for the livest set of the night – and that wouldn’t be the first time.
The best thing I remember about my set. I held y’all down. Y’all held me up.
I wish I could remember every detail from my set, but I was in 100% autopilot mode the second I went on stage. After 3.5 days without sleeping in order to get everything done, my brain broke and the rest just kinda happened. I even downed one of those 6-hour energy bottles for good measure to ensure I wouldn’t pass out on stage, which was a real concern since I recently discovered that I damaged the balance-system in my right inner-ear – I was sporadically dizzy and all that. Definitely not a fun situation to be in when you’re doing a huge show the same week.
Prior to the show, I had handled most of the organizational details of the show, including setup, dealing with the club, guest-lists, flyer design, videos, etc etc. A mammoth undertaking for any one person – let alone a performer. Pack was my commander on street team promotion, literally hitting every every show in NYC for 2 months, and alley-ooping whatever else needed attention. So be sure to give this man hella dap for the show as well. Also, I have to give a super-MAJOR shoutout to Mrs. Deff for holding it down for me. That woman is a gift to gift-givers and is solely responsible for me being alive right now.
So, with all that said, I STILL had to figure out all that “artist-stuff” I wanted to do with my own set. Now, I haven’t done a full set in NYC in over 2 years. I wasn’t about to come back with the same old-same old, so I decided to unleash some newness – and what better place to do that than the Megashow? I set it off with a new song I had specifically crafted for this show entitled “Sunrise”. I hired a string quartet to reinforce the arrangements I had written and after a rehearsal, it seemed to come together. I was certainly the most nervous about this track of all the songs that night, but at this point in my career, I know that my fans (ie. Auralarians) know to always expect the unexpected from me. That’s something that’s incredibly liberating as an artist, so I felt like I could take people somewhere new. Regardless, I hope y’all dug it.
YouTube Can Suck My Dick.
I also wanted to bust a few heads on the speed tip. I’ve seen way too much bullshit lately, passing itself off as “fastest ____” or “fastest _____” on YouTube, when in reality when you slow the shit down, they’re all saying “gibbidabibbidalibbidawibba” nonsense. And if they ain’t, it’s “killaniggamfuckabitchandgitmymoney” bullshit. And though I don’t like to focus on the speed thing too much, I just wanted to prove a point. Funny enough, when I was up there, the beat sounded slow to me and I remember motioning to JS-1 to speed up the beat. He later told me this via email:
“You are the only person to ever ask me to speed up a beat that was already at like 180 bpm. LOL. thats why i hesitated a lil bit on that one song. i thought you were motioning to make it louder. LOL. i was thinking to myself “is that wacko saying speed the beat up?”
- DJ JS-1
I must say though, without a doubt, that performing the end portion of “Optimist” while crowd surfing is one dream I can finally cross of my checklist. It was a surreal experience and I thank all of you who held me up from the bottom of my heart. I’m glad we could share that moment together. Also, I have to give a shout to Steph The Sapphic Songstress for her slick backup vocals on the night – you are a fucking gem of a talent and I hope you get your props soon.
The Fetuseahorse Is Revealed.
Finally, after the proper moshpit broke out for “Issawn”… Kno & I decided to unveil a new Chico & The Man song, (we’re not revealing the title yet) and officially drop the CATM ‘Fetuseahorse’ logo. I see y’all finally found the item for CATM clue number four, albeit a bit late since we’d hoped someone would find it before the show to increase anticipation. Close enough I guess. There were some puzzled faces when the logo popped on the videoscreen, but I guess those folks haven’t been following the clues. Anyway, be sure to cop a shirt.
PS. I certainly did not expect the “encore” that Mr. Mecca prompted. He & I have had our ups and downs as friends and performers and we’ve been through A LOT together, so it was especially impactful for him to do what he did. That moment will stay with me forever and it is deeply appreciated. Thank you for that brother, and thank you all for showing love to the kid.
CunninLynguists w/ Club Dub. APOS in full. Once in a lifetime.
QN5 shows are generally a workout, but Megashows are on a completely different level. I have to give all of you props on your cardio-conditioning for surviving the prior sets, but when CunninLynguists is up next you don’t need much convincing to stick around. The moment our own southern superstars broke into “Where Will You Be?” from their 2006 classic, A Piece of Strange, backed with the live playing of Club Dub – a volt of awesometricity shot through the venue and we knew it was on. This records sounds beautiful live, which is all the more impressive considering the original is a layered masterpiece of dusty chops and synths. The mere musicality heard that night was just another testament to Kno’s genius as a producer.
With Deacon and Natti taking command of the stage, they systematically bodied each song on the tracklist – complete with interludes. The rock-remix of “Hellfire” was hella on-point. I couldn’t help but get up there and lose my shit – not getting bounced for this is one of the fringe benefits of being a part of QN5. I went up next for “The Gates”, knowing the cameras were rolling so I tried to make it as epic as possible with the assistance of a stealthy MPC-stage monitor that would send me flying every which direction. Apparently, the HD footage and audio recorded that night looks ridiculous, so hopes are high it’ll all come together nicely for an APOS LIVE DVD. Holding down an entire album live on stage is no small feat, and for this, I believe that night solidified CunninLynguists as the best group in Hip Hop music today. Bravo, fellas!
Home Stretch of The Night…
We were running about 45-mins behind schedule, so there wasn’t much time to meet and greet at the venue. My sincerest apologies to anyone who didn’t get a chance to say whuttup and get a pic with any of us – bigger venues like the Highline are very strict with their times. Still, I had a chance to talk to hella folks and snap a slew of pictures (I’m honored to make your Facebook profile pictures). I hope y’all were entertained, I sure as fuck was, and I missed most of the show.
The after-party ran into some issues though. Essentially, some wack ass DJ who was spinning was double-booked by the club and refused to leave – playing a bunch of vomitous shit that attracted a bunch of drunken fucktards. When I walked in, not only was I confused but I was also accidentally jabbed in the chest by some drunken fool doing swimming-motions with his hands to the tune of some random ass Ron Browz song (wtf?). JJ Brown tried his damnedest to work it out, but I can’t blame anyone but the club. Still, I managed to catch some blue schoolers there, talked to a partially conscious PackFM, had a drink and kicked it till close. Not a total loss, right?
Well, after heading home at 4:30 AM, you’d think I’d finally take the opportunity to sleep, right? WRONG. The next part of my evening will be the basis for PART TWO of this recap. Also, stay tuned for additional Megashow related posts: including the official gallery of images shot by none other than Darren Nanos (@ JustaVisual.net), as well as the newly-infamous 2009 Intro video. More to come!