New York pulled up to Irving Plaza Wednesday, October 17th.
Whether you were from Harlem or Queens, the pride in the crowd was tangible. Funkmaster Flex began the evening with a heavily influenced set including only New York-born artists ranging from Wu-Tang Clan to A$AP Rocky and even included controversial rapper 6ix9ine. The audience’s reaction to this music was beyond anything I had experienced before. While the majority of the demographic was over the age of 30, DJ Funk Flex’s music established a ragingly strong sense of community that transcended any typically dividing difference. I had never seen adults this hype.
Dave East and Style P’s took the stage shortly after with a palpable ferocity. Their chemistry was impossible to ignore as their energies bounced off one another from one bar to the next. Casanova, Jadakiss, Sheek Louch, and DJ Kool Herc were some of the many iconic names who joined the two. Accompanied by a couple dozen friends, East and Styles performed much of their joint album Beloved.
What was very unique about this show was their genuine care. Organically throughout their set, the rappers took time to preach love. East, converting to Islam while serving jail time, has made a prominent effort to push acceptance through his music. Both rappers made a point to say regardless of gang affiliation, race, or gender, we need to support and care for one another. This was a huge theme during the night and definitely rubbed everyone in a positive way.
Furthering this was the gorgeous charity that sponsored the event. Hoodies for the Homeless is a non-profit organization that collects hoodies through musical events and distributes them to the homeless population of New York City. There was a clothing drive in the entrance where you could see many concert-goers happily dropping off their hoodies for a great charity. The opening acts that performed for the cause were The 1865, PushMethod and Alex Morisson.
New York rappers are known for their hard-hitting beats, undeniable charisma and ultimate drip. This force took the night by the horns and didn’t even think of letting go. Dave East and Styles P cultivated a dope and inclusive environment that made us feel safe.
It reminded me, along with the rest of the crowd, why it’s so special to call New York home.